Celebrate the Autumn Equinox, the time of the harvest! As our days and nights are equal lengths for a little while, therein lies a symbolic balance and tradition of gratitude this time of year. The dozen Chicago actors called back by John Doyle for Paramount Theatre’s August Rush after last Tuesday’s auditions have much to harvest and be grateful for! This process has just begun and will continue in New York, requiring from the artists a musicianship and versatility quite specialized to this uniquely theatrical world the Tony Award winning director envisions.

There was a crackling energy in the room watching actor-musicians sing, play and rise to the occasion of Doyle’s style of auditioning engaging in a friendly banter. Having questions for them, he then asked if they had questions for him! (Caught more than a few by surprise, off-balance!) He created a wonderfully generous atmosphere generating many fun stories to be told by those who were there, I’ve no doubt. A man of straightforward honesty and candor, there were laughs and very memorable insights learned as, for an example, the distinction he makes to being referred to as a minimalist. It’s not so much about being minimal, he says, as it is all about being essential. Getting to the essence of why we’re here and what we’re doing.

Later, Mr. Doyle charmed the crowd at our company meeting hosted by Tim Rater Tuesday evening. Our President and CEO gathered us all together to have each director of this season’s Broadway Series productions speak: Trent Stork on Legally Blonde, Amber Mak on The Wizard of Oz, myself on The Producers and John Doyle on August Rush. Mayor Irvin was there and rallied the assembly speaking to our role in the renaissance of Downtown Aurora! All of our department heads spoke including Jennifer Hahn of our Events Planning Staff (record-breaking Wedding Venue stats!), Shannon Cameron of our School of the Arts, Rose Quealy, our VP of Production, and Amber as our New Works Development Director. Tim deliberated on progress and plans and, in his own way, moved everyone gathered there. Even himself. He spoke to what a lucky guy he is and how much he values everyone. I love how he gets giddy sharing his dream with us to have concurrent Paramount shows running on Broadway someday! New Work is something very personal to him, his wife Bridgette and their children, as we contribute to audiences discovering how meaningful the arts can be in their lives. How together we can make a difference. He stresses the importance of creating new works that will be a source of pride for him, his family and all of us. As he briskly wipes tears from his eyes, I think, “Now, who else in this whole wide world has a boss like that?!”

Love and thanks,