The Paramount Theatre, Aurora’s historic Art Deco treasure, has become one of the great success stories of Chicago area theater. In just four years, under the artistic direction of Jim Corti, its Broadway Series — which invariably produces musicals on a scale that easily competes with Broadway itself — has expanded employment opportunities to a vast pool of local actors, directors, designers and musicians, built a loyal audience of more than 26,000 subscribers (from an initial 550), and inspired the Jeff Awards Committee to extend its geographical restrictions.
For its 2015-2016 Broadway Series season, the Paramount has selected two old and two more contemporary classics. Here’s a closer look:
± “Oklahoma!” (Sept. 16-Oct. 18, 2015), the incomparable Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, to be directed by Corti (whose production of “Les Miserables” will open March 21).
± “A Christmas Story – The Musical” (Nov. 25, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016), the show inspired by Jean Shepard’s stories and semi-fictional anecdotes, which will bring director Nick Bowling — a TimeLine Theater veteran, whose recent Marriott Theatre revival of “The King and I” wowed audiences — to the Paramount for the first time.
± “Hairspray – The Broadway Musical” (Jan. 20-Feb. 21, 2016), to be directed by Amber Mak, who has served as associate director/choreographer for more than a half-dozen musicals by Rachel Rockwell, including Paramount’s hit edition of “Mary Poppins.”
± “West Side Story” (Mar. 16-Apr. 24, 2016), also to be directed by Corti.
The Paramount will continue to offer its “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription, with four-play packages starting at $82. Renewals and pre-sale for Paramount’s 2015-16 Broadway Series go on sale today (March 17) at 10 a.m. Current subscribers only can take advantage of a limited-time offer to add friends and family through April 26. Friends and family will have priority seating before seats are assigned to new subscribers and the general public. New subscriptions to Paramount’s 2015-16 Broadway Series go on sale June 1. To renew, purchase pre-sale subscriptions or single tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or visit the box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.