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Tuesdays with Corti: 2018-19 Season

Whoa! Wow! Holy cow! Yesterday’s big announcement for next season garnered the largest single-day renewal rate in Paramount history to the tune of over 4,100 subscribers and has the phones at the box office blowing up! Subscription renewals and pre-ordering a new subscription have all hands on deck receiving your calls, and please know you can renew or pre-order online as well!

Season Eight blasts off with the auspicious directorial debut of Paramount’s own Artistic Associate and Casting Director Trent Stork. Auspicious for me, because Trent has been by my side for every show I’ve directed here since Miss Saigon right up to Million Dollar Quartet. (I just counted and that makes seven Paramount shows with me for a total of 16 including his work with our directing teams over the last four years!)

His time has come, and I couldn’t be more stoked for audiences to enjoy the excitement he brings to Paramount’s opener for the season: Legally Blonde.

 

This will be a new production, Trent’s take, on the 2007 Broadway Musical adaptation of the 2001 film which starred Reese Witherspoon. Judging from the work I’ve seen in auditions, there’s an awesome empowerment and poignancy endowed in this story’s heroine Elle Woods, and the acting and singing chops of this cast will be off the charts! This production as well boasts the debut of Megan Farley as co-choreographer coming into her own after working on Paramount’s Elf, The Little Mermaid and Hairspray as Associate Choreographer to Amber Mak. (And I can tell you, watching Megan work, the dancing in this production is not for sissies!)  

Amber Mak is back! Next year’s holiday extravaganza The Wizard of Oz will be directed and choreographed by the woman at the helm of our recording-breaking Paramount successes Elf and The Little Mermaid! Ms. Mak debuted here directing and choreographing Hairspray winning the hearts of our audiences then and ever since! Amber’s affectionately inventive, imaginative theatricality will cast a spell of renewed wonder and magic into every generation’s favorite story of the wisdom of finding home and family through the eyes of the Kansas farm girl, Dorothy. 

Oh, boy! Here comes The Producersthe record-holding champ of the most Tony’s ever awarded! Ever. Still. All 12 of them. (More than Hamilton. Ha!)

 

And who has the daunting task of doing justice to this giant Broadway adaptation of the deliriously zany Mel Brooks 1967 film which won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay? Yours truly. (I live in fear.) The show is as wacky, irreverent, satiric and side-splitting as it is gargantuan and tuneful as penned by Mel Brooks himself. It’s about laughter, riotous and colossal. This musical comedy farce is the story of a down-on-his-luck Broadway producer, Max Bialystock, ruthlessly amoral, with an unscrupulous determination to make a quick buck, well, fortune! This parody of the Golden Age of Broadway in the 50’s is filled with production numbers skewering spectacles such as in the Ziegfeld Follies inspired “Springtime for Hitler” just to give you an example. Max’s accountant Leopold Bloom triggers a ridiculous, get-rich-quick scheme that takes them from Broadway to Rio to Sing Sing and back!

The tales of determined characters is continued with Paramount’s final offering next season: the World Premiere of the new musical August RushCo-produced with Washington, D.C.’s Signature Theatre and directed by the esteemed Broadway director and Tony winner John Doyle, this musical theatre adaptation of the 2007 film is scored by the composer of the movie’s soundtrack Mark Mancina. 

This event is the result of New Works Development Director Amber Mak’s and President/CEO Tim Rater’s efforts to bring this highly anticipated production to our patrons and give them the very first look and experience of a new show before it moves on to who knows… Broadway maybe? 

 

The story certainly has the size and scale of aspiration worthy of a great new work: an orphaned boy’s mission to find his parents – a classical cellist and the front-man of a rock band. Inheriting from them the one thing that connects them eternally, young Evan is discovered to be a musical prodigy, and his practice brings about the realization of his dream to find them.

I’m wrapping up our visit today, dear reader, while sitting in the theatre listening to the cast of Cabaret (which includes the incomparable Hollis Resnick) sing with the orchestra for the first time. Tonight is Final Dress Rehearsal. Tomorrow’s matinee is First Preview. Press Opening is Saturday night. Rehearsals last week on the set lit by the brilliant Broadway Lighting Designer Yael Lubetsky have been like nothing I have ever seen here. 

On Scott Davis’ set, this cast dressed by Costume Designer Mieka van der Ploeg, Paramount’s Cabaret, directed and choreographed by Katie Spelman, will take hold of you in a grip from which you may never escape. 

 

Musical Director and Jeff winner Tom Vendafreddo is conducting. He is filling the world of this play and its inhabitants (on both sides of the footlights) with the haunting, nuanced richness of a musical euphoria, at once full of life, and fatal. 

Last night’s news of the passing of beloved Steppenwolf actor John Mahoney sinks heavy in the hearts of all who know him. His presence, his face and the light in his eyes lifted you up out of any doubt within. His smile, his laugh, his soul shone right into you. A dark, heavy loss to those who love him. It’s his gift to remember his Light.

Love & thanks,

Jim

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