Thanksgiving has come early this year as Halloween isn’t even until tomorrow! It is a lovely moment to be in right now. Paramount’s Broadway Series subscription base tipped the 40,000 mark on Saturday, the second largest of its kind in the country. How incredibly momentous for our company and our audience!
Let me share a bit of the back-story which has propelled all of us to this unbelievable benchmark; one that is instilled with the most wondrous sense of awe and gratitude imaginable.
Tim Rater has always kept a plain, white marker board beside his desk. I remember it from the first days I sat across from him some eight years ago. As we began plans for our first production (My Fair Lady), he had charted by hand, spread-sheet-like, the subscription goals he set for us. Now, keep in mind, to me, he never once questioned that our shows would be good. Then, considering the size and beauty of our theater, its Aurora location and its surrounding demographic (the second largest population in Illinois) he predicted a trajectory reaching exactly where we are today! Who does that!? How was he so sure!? And dear reader, this is in the face of some of the most incredulous, even mean, skepticism certainly I have ever personally experienced. Ridiculed at just the announcement of a downtown theater subscription program: “It’ll never work!” “No way! It’s crazy!” “Waste of time! Waste of money!” etc. Why certain voices were so outraged at the idea is something I couldn’t comprehend. But I was new here. I’m sure they had their reasons. Undaunted, we “hit the ground running” as the saying goes and believe me we really did exactly that. Gaining momentum very quickly with show licenses, union contracts, tech directors, musicians, actors, designers, we then had a packed-house reveal ceremony at which I have never before or since experienced such frenzied enthusiasm from a crowd! Then Mayor Tom Weisner was noted as our first subscriber! I remember it so loud, the cheering and shouting, the optimism for something new, so full of hope and potential for the entire city!
And now to be sitting here at the keyboard in the morning’s stillness. Silent reflection on what is actually happening. 40,000 subscribers. This thrilling state of development having produced consistent, quality work seemingly hurled across the last eight years so quickly, look at how we’ve grown and our achievement together! Tim, an honest to goodness visionary, is continuing to lead the meaningful build of new theater arts programming, venues, and a School of the Arts. Indeed, we are in a very special moment for giving thanks: to our VPs, department heads and marketing, box office, and administrative staffs, countless artists and our home grown audience’s boundless support for a new era in our town. There’s no end in sight for Paramount in The City of Lights!
Love & thanks,