New Broadway Series Announced 2015-2016 Season at Paramount Theatre, Aurora

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In only four years, the Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series has transformed Aurora’s historic Art Deco stages into a musical theater powerhouse, built a loyal audience of now more than 26,000 subscribers and radically altered Chicago’s musical theater landscape.

Today, Paramount officials announced the theater’s fifth blockbuster Broadway Series for 2015-16: Oklahoma! (Sept. 16-Oct. 18, 2015), A Christmas Story – The Musical (Nov. 25, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016), Hairspray – The Broadway Musical (Jan. 20-Feb. 21, 2016) and West Side Story (Mar. 16-Apr. 24, 2016).

Just as it has been from the start, Paramount will offer the same great “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription offer, with four-play packages starting as low as just $82. The rewards are ample – four amazing, Broadway-quality, classic American musicals at one of the most majestic theaters in the Midwest, all for the price of one show downtown.

Renewals and pre-sale for Paramount’s 2015-16 Broadway Series go on sale today 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 Paramount Theatre box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in the heart of downtown Aurora.

More About Paramount’s 2015-16 Broadway Series

Artistic Director Jim Corti, the only Chicago theater professional to win a Jeff Award for directing, choreography and acting, will stage Paramount’s season opener, Oklahoma!, the sweeping, debut collaboration of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and the season finale,West Side Story, Jerome Robbins’s epic musical, and one of the greatest love stories of all time. Corti’s previous stagings at Paramount include the current 2014-15 season finale Les Misérables, and past smash hits The Who’s Tommy, RENT, Miss Saigon, Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady.

Nick Bowling, one of Chicago’s hottest young directors, will make his Paramount debut with A Christmas Story, everyone’s favorite holiday comedy about little Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun. Bowling is rising fast with his recent string of hits including Porchlight’s Sondheim on Sondheim (“4 stars” – Chicago Tribune), The King and I at Marriott and To Master the Art at Timeline, where he is associate artistic director.
Amber Mak, one of the city’s top actress/director/choreographers, will helm Paramount’s plus-sized rock n’ pop extravaganza, Hairspray. Mak’s credits include choreography for Drury Lane’s Singin’ in the Rain, and associate director/choreographer for more than a half-dozen musicals by Rachel Rockwell, including Paramount’s smash hit Mary Poppins.

As always, Paramount will tap only the highest caliber talent in every aspect of production with actors, designers, creative and technical teams. Each production will also boast the original Broadway orchestrations performed live by the Paramount Orchestra.

“For four seasons we have raised the bar for excellence with our very own regional Broadway musical theatre made right here in downtown Aurora,” said Corti. “For season five, Paramount will continue celebrating the proud tradition of this beautiful theatre by hosting only the very best theater artists, both on stage and behind the scenes, to let their imaginations soar, to create remarkable musical theater, to realize fresh, bold ideas, and to take our loyal, growing audiences on journeys they will never forget.”

“In 2010-11, Paramount had 550 subscribers. We took a gamble, brought production in-house, hired Jim Corti to be the theater’s first-ever artistic director, and launched our inaugural, self-produced Broadway subscription series,” remarked Tim Rater, President and CEO of the Paramount. “Today we are one of the top Equity stages in all of Chicago, with more than 26,000 subscribers. While we still feel we’ve only just begun, just wait until you see what Paramount has in store for 2015-16. And with four shows for the price of just one show downtown, there’s never been a better time to subscribe.”

 

2015-16 Broadway Series: More about the shows

Oklahoma!

Music by Richard Rodgers

Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs

Original Dances by Agnes de Mille

Directed by Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti

September 16-October 18, 2015  Press opening Saturday, September 19, 8 p.m.

Suggested rating: PG

Oklahoma! is the show that set the standard for all future musicals by incorporating music, lyrics and dance into a well-crafted, serious story. It’s also the debut collaboration of one of the most prolific writing teams in American theater history – Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Set in the turn of the century Oklahoma Territory, tensions are mounting between the local farmers and cowboys over the use of land. In the midst of it all is the rugged cowboy Curly who’s fallen for the strong-headed farm girl, Laurey. Despite their fiery spirits and at times tumultuous relationship, the two are destined to start a new life together in the soon-to-be state called Oklahoma!

Nominated for seven Tony Awards and winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Oklahoma! sets the standard for the 2015-16 Paramount Broadway Season. It’s filled with some of the most recognized songs in theater including “Beautiful Morning,” “Surrey with the Fringe,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and of course, the resounding “Ok-la-hom-a,” – all performed by the Paramount’s full-orchestra. Bring the entire family and experience Paramount’s Oklahoma!, the production everyone will be talking about this fall.

A Christmas Story – The Musical

Book by Joseph Robinette

Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Based on the movie A Christmas Story and In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash

Directed by Nick Bowling

November 25, 2015-January 3, 2016  Press opening Sunday, November 29, 5:30 p.m.

Suggested Rating: PG

One of the most watched and beloved holiday movies ever made comes to life in a full-blown musical production on the Paramount stage. It’s the story of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker growing up in middle-America in the 1940s. With Christmas right around the corner, Ralphie has his bespectacled sights set on one thing – a Red Ryder BB Gun. But at every turn, the young daydreamer hears those five words that are the bane of his existence: “you’ll shoot your eye out.”

A Christmas Story is a holiday classic filled with laughs, dreams, warmth and family. A story filled with a department store Santa, a Leg Lamp, a snow suit and friends that will never leave your side – even if your tongue is stuck to a flag pole. The music is energetic, unforgettable and ranges from gentle ballads to full-on show-stopping numbers. The imagery takes audiences back to an easier time we often long for, but the message remains the same: family, friendship, love – the holidays are nothing without them. Bring your family and celebrate the holidays with this perfect feel-good musical for the season.

Hairspray The Broadway Musical

Book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan

Music by Marc Shaiman

Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman

Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters

Directed by Amber Mak

January 20-February 21, 2016  Press opening Saturday, January 23, 8 p.m.

Suggested rating: PG

Tracy Turnblad is a plus-size teen with plus-size hair, and she has one big plus-size dream – to dance her way onto Baltimore’s smash hit TV show, “TheCorny Collins Show.” Every day after school, she and best friend Penny bee-line home to watch the cool kids shake the rafters to the hottest tunes on Collins’ program. When a dance slot opens on the show, Tracy gets help from her friend Seaweed, who puts enough groove in her step to win that dream role – and life is never the same again. But Tracy doesn’t rest on her stardom; instead she uses her new celebrity to racially integrate the show and change the lives of Baltimore folks forever.

Based on the John Waters hit movie, Hairspray is a high-octane ride with thrilling choreography, rockin’ tunes and explosively colorful costumes – plus some really cool hairdos. More importantly, under all the glitz, Hairspray reminds us of the importance of individuality and the acceptance of one another: a wonderful message to share with everyone.

West Side Story

Based on a conception by Jerome Robbins

Book by Arthur Laurents

Music by Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Original production choreographed and directed by Jerome Robbins

Directed by Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti

March 16-April 24, 2016  Press opening Saturday, March 19, 8 p.m.

Suggested rating: PG

West Side Story is quite possibly one of the greatest love stories ever to be told in a musical. Set in the blue-collar neighborhood of New York’s Upper West Side, racial tensions run high as residents try to grind out a daily living.

A turf war is being fought as the Jets, a white gang, and the Sharks, a Puerto Rican gang, battle over boundaries. In the heart of the turmoil, former Jets member Tony meets Maria at a local dance. The chemistry is instantaneous, and for a few hours, there is no race, no hatred, no barriers, just two young people in love. But Maria is the sister of Sharks’ leader Bernardo, and no one is going to make it easy for Tony and Maria to escape.

From heart-wrenching ballads like “Somewhere” and steamy Latin beats in “America” to the soaring lyrics of “Tonight,” West Side Story is a Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical masterpiece. The choreography is a fine balance of vicious intensity and romance that will take your breath away.

It makes no difference if you’ve seen West Side Story before or if you’ve never seen it at all. Like all the shows before them, Paramount’s creative team will take this production to a level that will make this THE West Side Story you never forget.

Paramount’s 2015-16 Broadway Series is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and The Dunham Fund.

Why Subscribe?

In addition to the lowest major theater subscription prices anywhere in Illinois, exclusive benefits for Paramount Broadway subscribers have never been better. Only Broadway series subscribers are given first choice of the same seats for all four shows, free ticket exchange privileges, exclusive invitations to behind-the-scenes events and first notice of added shows and special events, all delivered with a smile by Paramount’s Subscriber Services Concierge Department.

Broadway subscribers also receive first notice and exclusive pre-sale discounts from 5% to 15% off single tickets for all other performances presented at the Paramount in 2015-2016, including major concerts by nationally acclaimed music artists, comedy, dance, holiday shows, movies and family presentations. Look for an announcement of the balance of the Paramount’s 2015-2016 season in May.