‘The Little Mermaid’ is Sea-mazing at Paramount Theatre in Downtown Aurora...

  “The Little Mermaid” is currently amazing audiences at the historic Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. The Disney musical, a beloved film, comes to life on stage under the direction of Amber Mak. The story, a timeless tale of seemingly-impossible love, begins with the dichotomy of life above the sea and below the land. A boat appears and Ariel’s curiosity blooms. From that moment on, the Paramount delivers a visually stunning performance that allows the audience to get lost in a “mysterious and beautiful underwater world,” as Mak writes in her Director’s Notes. The bright and colorful set is enhanced by every carefully-crafted costume, wig, puppet, and painted face. No detail goes unnoticed. Even more so, no detail is ignored. As soon as Flounder woos the crowd with cuteness, the puppetry becomes the show’s biggest star. A show-stopping number comes later as Scuttle seems to multiply before our eyes – great job, Gulls. “Under the Sea” is perhaps the most delicious visual feast of “The Little Mermaid” as black lights and gorgeous choreography come together in a sensory fête. Sebastian, played by Jonathan Butler-Duplessis is a favorite in the show. Kari Yancy does an impressive job as Ariel with her coveted voice. Ursula, played magnificently by Christina Hall, is boosted by Flotsam, Jetsam and some talented dancers, who could easily be listed alongside Hall in the Playbill. Prince Eric is dreamy, yet palatable as played by Devin DeSantis. He fell in love with a voice, and he is not giving up. Of course, Ariel and Prince Eric barely have a second to get to know one another or even kiss, but it is Disney and we end up cheering for them. The father/daughter story holds up well in the stage production with King Triton,...

The Riverfront Playhouse set to open ‘A Christmas Carol’ in December...

For the 23rd consecutive year, The Riverfront Playhouse at 11-13 South Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora will present their own original version of A Christmas Carol. This year’s performances begin Friday, December 9 at 8pm, with additional shows on Saturday, December 10 at 8, Sunday, December 11 at 3pm, Friday, December 16 at 8pm, Saturday, December 17 at 8pm, and Sunday, December 18 at 3pm. Adapted from the classic Charles Dickens story by Riverfront veteran Jack Schultz, this production of A Christmas Carol features 9 songs also written by Schultz. Under the direction of Sherry Winchester Schultz, with assistance from Heidi Schultz and musical director, Kathleen Dooley, the Riverfront’s version of A Christmas Carol has become a tradition for not only the Playhouse, but for many of the actors who frequently revive their portrayals from year to year, as well as many area families who return time and again to relive the unique and sometimes heart-warming but always hilarious retelling of the Dickens’ classic.  Winchester Schultz said, “23 years, that is amazing!  Every year we hear from many of our patrons that coming out to see our version of A Christmas Carol is one of their favorite family traditions.  It certainly has been one of MY family’s favorite holiday traditions. We’re honored to have so many of last year’s cast back and thrilled to have some new players too! New actors help us keep the show fresh and fun.  We’ve got a few new tricks up our sleeves this year…I’m excited to see what our audiences think of them.” This year’s presentation features your Christmas Carol favorites including: John Vinopal as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Douglas Holmes as Bob Cratchit, Jackson Schultz, Heidi Schultz, Kathleen Dooley, Shawn Dooley, Sherry Winchester Schultz, Joe Konopacki, John Wilson, Aaron Hoge, Livia Byrne as Martha Cratchit for opening, weekend Patrick Ramer as Peter Cratchit and Heather Barbre as Martha Cratchit...

Paper Bag Art and Acoustic Music at First Fridays on Dec. 2...

Brown paper bears and pastel Parisian landscapes up for auction at If These Walls Could Talk helped pack the pantry in the past three years. The downtown frame shop and art gallery is continuing the tradition this year on December 2 at First Fridays. The monthly art and culture showcase happens on the first Friday in downtown Aurora and includes more than a dozen venues along with free trolley rides and First Fridays specials at several businesses. If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., is teaming up once again with the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry to bring you the fourth annual Pack the Pantry Project Holiday Art Auction. Local artists are challenged to create original works using ordinary paper bags. See what masterpieces are created and help support a great cause. 6 to 10 p.m. David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Pl., opens the 19th annual Winter Garden of Youth Art in the Aurora Public Art Commission Gallery on the third floor. The exhibit includes 33 schools and 165 works of art by K through 12 grade. 5 to 9 p.m. The ArtBar at Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway, presents The Naughty Show, a pop up art gallery with a twist to the holiday theme. 6 p.m. to midnight. Paramount Grand Gallery, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is open with the second exhibit of the 2016-17 season in the festively decorated Grand Gallery, complete with holiday music and giant Christmas Tree. Meet the artists and browse the latest offerings from Randy Benzie, David Bruce, Dan Capo, Nick Freeman, Maureen Gasek, David Hettinger, Ariel Hodge and Cheryl Holz. 7 to 9 p.m. Santori Public Library, 101 S. River St., is open with a special First Fridays preview of...

Inside Downtown: The Mayan...

“Inside Downtown” takes you on a pictorial journey of downtown Aurora. Peek inside buildings, events, organizations, stores, and more. Learn about who and what makes downtown tick. Join us as we discover and learn about places and people in downtown. Take a tour of The Mayan with us.                                                            ...

Shop Local for the Holidays in Downtown Aurora...

Avoid the Black Friday crowd. Shop local in downtown Aurora. We have blocks of fun and unique shops. Here are just some of the things you can fill your bags (or stockings) with at businesses located right in downtown Aurora. Did we mention the free parking and river views? NOM NOM NOM If you have foodies on your list, then downtown Aurora — with around a dozen eateries — is a great place to fill up on gift cards, gift certificates and more. Here is a sampling of tasty options: Gillerson’s Grubbery. Located at 33 W. New York St. along Restaurant Row, this fun burger joint does up burgers right and was recently featured on WGN’s Chicago’s Best for its Rebel Duck burger. Gillerson’s also features a cozy bar with tasty cocktails and an impressive craft beer selection. River’s Edge Café. A favorite lunch spot in downtown, River’s Edge Cafe offers fresh baked scones, muffins, brownies, and muffins – perfect for filling a holiday gift basket. Gift certificates are the perfect gift for teachers, hair dressers, and others who deserve a treat. Leland Legends. Newly opened on the ground floor of the historic Leland Tower, this blues infused restaurant is welcoming with its decor and its comfort food. Fox Valley Homebrew. Two doors down from River’s Edge Café is Fox Valley Homebrew — a beer crafter’s dream. The small store sells beer and winemaking kits plus a whole lot of accessories for the hobby. Visit www.foxvalleybrew.com. Other foodie options: Ballydoyle Irish Pub & Grill, Doughballs Pizza, U Samba? BEAUTIFUL THINGS Wardell Art Glass Studio. You might not need stained glass, but Wardell Art Glass Studio has a small gift shop in front of the large street level workshop. Ceramic art tiles, gift cards and other unique gift items are available....