Bright sunshine, a bracing nip in the air, we are into the fifth week since we closed up shop having received the stay-at-home order from our governor. The great momentum of ten years of work is held up in a fragile suspension with no way of knowing how it will land. I keep pining how I miss the bright lights, the crowds, the traffic! (Downtown Aurora was a joke for being so dead and now how I love those who complain about the damn traffic!) My first weeks here in Aurora, I recall meeting folks and hearing someone refer to their town as a doughnut – nothing in the middle. There was daunting skepticism toward the rationale of developing a Broadway Series. I learned how Aurora was the last place on earth where anyone could imagine how a theater and arts scene could possibly happen. And yet it did happen. With great fanfare and astounding support, My Fair Lady opened in September of 2011 and “ushered in a thrilling new era in Aurora,” (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune.) Local hearts were open and ready and Paramount created the can-do signal citizens here had been striving for. All this is to say – things have bottomed out before; think back to 2008 in this town, in this entire country, and how gradually the phoenix rises from the ashes. We can do it again. Our community has grown tight-knit and vital and this crisis is a chance to yet again do something we have never done before. We will be changed by this. How can we not be better for it? Where in recent years there has been so much polarizing weakness nationally, I have always felt a united strength in Aurora. Our Paramount family had a conference years back from which a slogan emerged: “Do more. Do better. Together.” The various initiatives within our organization mirror the revitalizing enterprises independently ignited across town in recent years. This illustrates how without any doubt we will come though this and be better for it.

Isolation conducts reflection. A Catholic boy back in the day, ( in eighth grade I thought about forgoing high school and going into the seminary! ) I think of the cloisters and contemplatives. I wonder, haha – are we getting holier? While there is the dark side and dread to contend with, there is simply logically a bright side, ya know – more screen-time with friends, family, co-workers (our staff is gonna zoom this afternoon). Random acts of kindness abound – of which I have been the recipient, I’m so thankful to say – the goodness in people is perceivable more and more everywhere. With the quarantine disconnect we are experiencing more meaningful connection! I’m spending more time on my laptop’s small screen than network and cable tv because folks are sharing more and more positively, creatively, artistically. Who knew so many among us could sing and write songs and play musical instruments?! There is now this collective intensive to uplift! How organically this consciousness is being raised is a gratifying thing to see for this old monk!

There is something so compelling and moving to how all kinds of artistry is rendered in response to the time we’re having right now.

Check out last Saturday night’s show – Connection: A Social Media Concert Series and as well, consider submitting a video for next Saturday night’s concert by midnight tomorrow. I’m tellin’ ya, made bacon and biscuits, grabbed a Miller Lite, and loved it! There is something so compelling and moving to how all kinds of artistry is rendered in response to the time we’re having right now. The Broadway Series is moving ahead with all engines firing into Season Ten! This fall, Amber Mak’s Rock of Ages is the perfect tonic for bringing everyone out and about to head-banging ecstasy! There is so much fun to flashing back to the greatest rock songs of the 80’s and with a surprisingly sweet heart at its core to boot! It’s gong to be a total blast!

Alright, I’m all over the place this morning – just being someone here to assure you, we will be back better than ever. Go out safely and get some sun and fresh air. OK, never mind. It’s snowing.

Be your Best Self!

Love & thanks,