Over the past several days and into this week, Team GHOG (Choreographer Megan Farley, Music Director Tom Vendafreddo, Artistic Lead/Associate Producer Paul-Jordan Jansen, Casting Director/Associate Producer Trent Stork) is processing views of a good 250 or so video callback auditions for the upcoming winter production of Groundhog Day opening in January 2022! (Happy New Year!) Lots of new faces, which is always good to see, while excitement mounts welcoming back those who have made past productions so great! Gasps and shouts of WOO HOO! and YES! while all alone with my laptop and coffee! And it never fails how well written shows stand the test of repeated plays – and how the competition rises out of the nuances that emerge from hearing the same songs over and over through the different and varied interpretations of the artists. Getting great takes from great singers also creates an experience with the material illuminating how music and story come alive through the actor. Different actors teach different things. I realize I learn a meaning to a line I never knew was there before. How you can hear something you never heard before just by the way its personally and expertly delivered in the audition.

Groundhog Day is populated with the blue collar, working class citizens of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, “a little town with a heart as big as any town…and there is no town greater!” This will be a cast of real people, characters we all know, people in who we see ourselves. Its a very funny story about laughing at ourselves, our very human folly and yes too, the sadness of living without love and how we can change. If there’s hope for Phil Conners (Bill Murray in the original 1993 movie) there’s hope for all of us!

Chatted yesterday with Artistic Producer Amber Mak who is Artistic Lead on Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s gorgeous Cinderella helmed by Brenda Didier (Jeff Award winning Choreographer for our The Producers making her directing debut at Paramount). Brilliant Angie Miller debuts as Scenic Designer with the super greats: Theresa Ham as Costume Designer and Jesse Klug as Lighting Designer returning this season with Kory Danielson, Music Director and Conductor of the always outstanding Paramount Orchestra. Remember the sights and sounds?! Here we are again back to work on a world class holiday spectacular full of all the expected charms and full of stunning surprises as well!

While we’re at it, Kinky Boots is finishing up preproduction for this Tenth Anniversary Season’s opening production – talk about back to WERQ! Rehearsals begin in four weeks! Director Trent Stork’s Team KB boasts the debuts of two Associate Director’s, Max Cervantes and Darren Patin (Ari Gato), Co-Choreographers Isaiah Silvia-Chandley and Michael George and Costume Designer Ryan Park. Under the baton of Kory Danielson (in back to back shows!) the most excellent duo of Kevin Depinet returns as Scenic Designer with Lighting Designer Greg Hoffmann. With this design team and cast, Cyndi Lauper’s Tony winnner never looked so good or sounded better!

Rock of Ages Director Amber Mak tops it all off returning with the superb Tom Vendafreddo as Music Director/Supervisor working with Associate Music Director and Conductor of the onstage rock band, Kara Kesselring making her Paramount debut! Theresa Ham and Greg Hofmann return on costumes and lights repectively joining the brilliant Jeff Kmiec coming back as Scenic Designer.

What I’m getting at is: have you got your season tickets? Subscribe! You can’t beat how affordable it is and this is a magnificent Broadway Series Reopening packed with award-winning talent and thrills!

At Paramount School of the Arts, summer classes are in full swing and Fall Classes will be announced and go on sale this Friday! Already!

Got to paramountaurora.com and check it all out and look at supporting as well! We’ve got a heck of a comeback in store for you!

Love & thanks,