Cassidy Stirtz played “Reza,” the fiery Czech violinist in Paramount’s production of Once two years ago and I just emailed my congratulations on her original show Departures coming up March 30 at Martyr’s in Chicago. Flashback to Tom Vendafreddo talking pre-production on Once being about “making music”; oh, how that gorgeous Irish bar onstage was filled to the brim with music makers! Knowing creatives who make art and music is a part of life and work in the theater. To be privy to this gift they share with the world is stirring. Soul-stirring. Which is exactly how I felt at Friday night’s Press Night for the world premiere of The Secret of My Success! Chicago’s own Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler were there reaping praise and cheers for composing the score for this stunning new work! Director Gordon Greenberg co-writing with Steve Rosen have mined the message at the heart of the show, the true meaning of success. They do it with smarts, big laughs, high energy and the choreographic chops of Amber Mak and our first class design team. It’s an eye-popping, draw-dropping high tech world brought to life by a cast of artists singing and dancing and leaving it all out on that stage! There’s no lack of family-friendly heart-warming sentiment as well in this story of a driven young man’s charade to climb the corporate ladder. It all makes for a winning combination and collaboration of artistry it has been thrilling to see develop. The sparks of creativity charged among these team-players is something I will never forget. With humility, openness and purpose, like working in a fever dream, they persisted in always making it better. Exhaustive and intense!

Paramount’s latest production is a great new show full of great new music and a story that will reward you, reminding you how great it is to simply laugh and listen and feel good! We can all use some of that!

Love & thanks,