Took the drive up the hill to the scene shop yesterday to check out the progress on the Million Dollar Quartet ​​set (rehearsals begin Monday in the Copley!), and the Sun Recording Studio is lookin’ good! Kevin Depinet’s design riffs on replicating the very room where it all happened. It felt good to walk around the dimensions of the space. You can really get a sense of the humble beginnings that produced the vinyl 45’s which launched the music of four of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll stars of all time. I began to imagine where Jerry Lee Lewis and his piano will be, where Carl Perkins will enter, where Elvis will stand and from where producer Sam Phillips will get Johnny Cash’s guitar. My head filled with music, and I could almost feel the lighting dim when the play takes place in “real time” and then blasts the stage when we go “concert mode” with explosions of color and special effects. I’m almost there squinting into the sparks of Jesse Klug’s lighting design setting off the dynamite 50’s fashions designer Sally Dolembo has everyone decked out in. I can’t wait to get this cast together to meet each other and start playing! Monday! Monday!

Back at the office now, just returning from a production meeting for Elf and director/choreographer Amber Mak working with set designer Jeff Kmiec and projection designer Joe Burke. The show is bursting at the seams with various Manhattan locations and visual surprises. It is evolving into a breathtaking holiday wonderland composed by this team. Costume designer Theresa Ham returns at her creative best again customizing fantasy characters from the North Pole juxtaposed with the corporate New Yorkers who will be eventually “woke” to the true meaning of Christmas spirit. There’ll be a massive orchestra in the pit under the baton of Tom Vendafreddo with some of the liveliest, brassiest and biggest Broadway sounds we’ve presented yet!

And this just in: next month,


Paramount Theatre will be honored as recipient of the Illinois Theatre Association’s 2017 Award of Excellence!


The mission of the association is to advocate for the art of quality theatre in Illinois. Among the many ways it does so is by “promoting and perpetuating the highest caliber of theatre production, teaching and research at all levels of theater within the state of Illinois (and) by affirming the important value of theatre in the lives of individuals.” We were nominated by the Illinois theatre community, approved by ITA’s divisional representatives and accepted by ITA’s Board of Director’s. My deepest appreciation for this recognition to ITA and Executive Director, Aimee-Lynn Newlan!

Love & thanks,


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