Tuesdays with Corti: The Producers Creative Team

Spring has sprung! Overnight it seems, the grass is greener, tree tops and flower buds blossom and with sniffles and sneezes of my allergies aside, our work in the theatre is in full bloom! I joined so many friends like family last week returning to Downtown Aurora to see Once and welcomed so many more coming to Paramount for the first time! I unwittingly totally cut in line of those waiting to get up on stage for the party going on before the show, (my apologies, folks!). In my excitement to join the cast, I jumped up on deck like I usually do and lamely and guiltily, turned around and realized patrons must have wondered, “who’s that jerk cutting in ahead of us!” As everybody queued up joined us, I realized all was forgiven as the crowd enthused what a great idea it is to have right on the set, $6 pours of Jameson and a working tap for pints of Harp! All the while there are hugs and smiles flashing greetings from an exuberant company of actor/musicians singing and dancing like there’s no tomorrow! And they’ve got a whole show ahead of them to perform! The pride and joy I take in this group of artists can only be matched by humble thanks for the honest, authentic gift of talent they put into every detail of this loving, exhilarating theatrical experience.

From our leading players, Barry DeBois and Tiffany Topol and each individual throughout the entire cast, comes a gorgeously alive story-telling that seems to breathe deeper and truer every time they play it.

 

This afternoon, our creative team meets for lunch to begin our, shall we say, foray into the wacky world of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, next season’s third Broadway Series production. Season Eight will be our biggest yet and dear reader, you know that’s really sayin’ somethin’! Opening with Legally Blonde directed by Trent Stork, and then The Wizard of Oz directed by Amber Mak. I’ll direct The Producers followed by the world premiere of the new musical, August Rush helmed by Tony winning director, John Doyle, no less! 

On the design collaboration for The Producers, I’ll be reunited with the great, multi-Jeff Award winning lighting designer, Jesse Klug. Jesse designed Paramount’s Million Dollar Quartet, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Rent, Fiddler, (breathless just thinking about this) and boy, will he be a sight for sore eyes! I couldn’t be more excited to get this team together as well because of the debuts of those who will be working here for the very first time. Joining Jesse, my Associate Director/Casting Director Trent Stork, returning Music Director Jeff Award winning maestro Tom Vendafreddo and always amazing Sound Designer Adam Rosenthal with our brilliant resident Wig Designer Katie Cordts, are some heavy hitters from the Chicago theater scene. Jesse Gaffney is our Prop Designer who designed props for our production of Route 66 in The Copley back in 2012. (Remember that one? I loved it!). She has worked all over Chicago since to great acclaim, and Jesse has always been more than ready for the big stage! We’ll be welcoming aboard as well an impressively accomplished young artist, William Boles as Scenic Designer, who’s diverse credits list The Goodman, Steppenwolf and The Red Orchid among them. Well known Costume Designer Jordan Ross, has designed at the esteemed Court Theatre and has been applying her aesthetic prolifically throughout Chicago’s dance scene. None other than Brenda Didier, who has garnered countless Jeff Awards (really, who can keep track?), will bring her artistic excellence as Choreographer to the grand scale Broadway production numbers in a show that originally scored the most Tony Awards in history! Ever. Still. No pressure!

Alright, I could go on and on, like I do, but have to make my getaway! Hope to see ya here, soon!

Love & thanks,

Jim

 

Once closes June 3. Don’t miss it!

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