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Paramount announces Broadway Series shows

'Cats' will be one musicals be staged Paramount Theatre Auroras part its 2014-15 Broadway series.  |  File

'Cats' will be one of the musicals to be staged at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora as part of its 2014-15 Broadway series. | File

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Updated: April 3, 2014 6:55AM



AURORA — The Paramount Theatre announced the four productions it will stage as part of its 2014-15 Broadway series at the Copley Theatre in the city’s downtown Friday.

The four “blockbuster” musicals will be Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Cats,” coming to the stage Sept. 10-Oct. 12, 2014; Disney’s “Mary Poppins,” Nov. 26, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015; “The Who’s Tommy,” Jan. 14-Feb. 15, 2015, and “Les Miserables,” March 18-April 26, 2015.

Subscriptions to the four-show “Better than Broadway” series start at $82.

Almost 19,000 subscribers enjoyed Paramount shows in the 2013-2014 season. The theater has come a long way from its first Broadway season in 2010-11, when the Paramount had 700 subscribers and staged 76 individual shows, said Tim Rater, Paramount executive director. He predicts subscriptions will grow to 30,000 next year, as theater plans for 176 Broadway showings.

“I just can’t believe I’m even here right now on stage and I can’t believe what we’ve done as a group,” Rater said at the Copley Theatre Friday. “So much has happened so fast and what I believe to be true is that it’s just the beginning. There’s so much more that we’re going to do.”

The theater, soon to finish up its fourth Broadway musical season, is one of the top equity musical stages in the Chicago area and the shows have consistently received critical acclaim, Rater said.

“We know that our theater is the best in Chicago right now,” he said. “It’s as good or better than some of what’s on Broadway.”

Along with big-name musical hits, the Paramount will also extend the runs of each production from the current four weeks to meet demand. “Cats” and “Tommy” will run five weeks; “Mary Poppins” and “Les Mis” will run six weeks, Rater said.

Three of Chicago’s top directors will stage the Paramount’s Broadway lineup in 2014-15, according to Jay Kelly, Paramount spokesman. Shawn Stengel will direct the season-opener, “Cats.” Stengel was music director for the national tour of “Cats,” and for top Paramount musicals including “Miss Saigon” and “RENT.”

Paramount’s holiday-season show, “Mary Poppins,” will be directed by Rachel Rockwell, who was named 2010 “Best Director” by Chicago Magazine. Rockwell has also directed the Paramount’s “Annie” and “42nd Street.”

Corti, who oversees the Paramount’s Broadway series, will stage both “The Who’s Tommy” and Paramount’s season finale, “Les Miserables.” Corti is the only Chicago theater professional to win a Jeff Award for directing, choreography and acting, Kelly said.

Corti said Friday he is particularly excited that Paramount musicals and artists will have their first chance to be judged by Chicago’s Jefferson Awards Committee in 2014-15. The Jeff Awards judging radius has been extended from 30 to 45 miles from city center, meaning Paramount’s productions and artists will now be eligible for consideration for the annual awards. The Paramount is 42 miles from Chicago’s city center, Rater said.

“They extended their boundaries to adjudicate our show,” he said. “It’s a very big deal.”

Corti said he will continue to work with only the highest caliber of talent in every aspect of production.

Although the next season has been announced, Corti is currently in his second week of rehearsals with “RENT” actors. “RENT,” the last show of the 2013-14 season, is set to open at the Paramount March 12 and go through April 6.

Renewals and pre-sale for new season subscriptions go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Current subscribers only may take advantage of a new, limited time offer to add friends and family to their series subscription through April 6. Friends and family will receive priority seating before seats are assigned to new pre-sale subscribers and the general public.

Single tickets to Paramount’s 2014-15 Broadway Series go on sale June 16.

Patrons interested in renewing, pre-sale subscriptions or single tickets can purchase online at ParamountAurora.com, by calling the Box Office at 630-896-6666 or by visiting the Paramount box office at 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora.



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