It’s Election Day!

Have you voted yet?

Yes? Good!

No? Put this down right now and go vote!

I’ll be here when ya get back, now GO!

Ok, now that we’ve all VOTED, let me tell ya that running in tandem with this day’s anxiety is, by contrast, the joyful anticipation of the First Day of Tech for Paramount’s The Wizard of Oz! This wonder of a set Co-Scenic designed by Chris Rhoton and Kevin Depinet (of our famed Million Dollar Quartet, Les Miserables, West Side Story and Rent, to name a few) has been loading-in over the past couple of weeks, and this afternoon Director/Choreographer Amber Mak gets to play in this fantastical playground she has so intuitively invented with her awesome design team and crew. Or I maybe should say, counter-intuitively. While delivering on every expectation you will bring to this beloved, nostalgic tale of “friendship and perseverance,” as she lovingly describes it, Amber has loaded this puppy with a fresh, creative impulse the likes of which has never been seen before! Not everything occurs quite as expected, scene to scene, moment to moment, as your senses will thrill to the imaginative brilliance of Theresa Ham’s costumes (Hairspray, The Little Mermaid, Sweeney Todd), Greg Hofmann’s stellar lighting design (Jesus Christ Superstar, Oklahoma!, The Who’s Tommy), and the breathtaking projection design of Kevan Loney (Paramount debut)Sitting in yesterday for a bit of the sound installation, the adrenaline rush was undeniable hearing a sampling of special effects devised by Sound Designer Adam Rosenthal (Legally Blonde, Once, Cabaret, Elf, and almost every show we’ve done since Season One)!

Our Broadway Series Technical Director, Jason Pikscher from onstage installing scenery, long-jumps offstage to join our The Producers team for a check-in on paint elevations beautifully crafted for him by set designer William Boles (making his Paramount debut). While the show’s Associate Director, Trent Stork, Jason, and myself are in a corner of the theater having a mini-production meeting on our next show, I couldn’t help but guess at what this scene must have looked like to William: sound effects booming lion growls and thunder, tornado clouds and lightning swirling ominously across the projection screen, hammers clanging, drills buzzing, as welding sparks’ spray, set pieces fly, gigantic windmills’ lighting cues flash…just an average day of load-in. 

I marvel at the energy and skill going into the building of this show right here in Downtown Aurora.

What theatre critic Hedy Weiss calls “The miracle on Galena Boulevard.” (Happy Birthday today, Hedy!) How it all makes my pulse quicken with excitement and appreciation for everyone here and everybody who will be here to see it!

Love & thanks,