The Paramount Theater in Aurora is currently staging "Fiddler on the Roof" through March 24.
Though now only halfway through its second season, it has amassed a history of superb, grand-scale productions, from "My Fair Lady" to "Hair" and "Annie," among others. It has become a much-valued Chicago area showcase for the work of such gifted directors as Rachel Rockwell and Jim Corti, greatly expanding the opportunities of Equity musical theater performers and gifted musicians. It has demonstrated that the far west suburban audience for Broadway level productions is large and enthusiastic. And it has surely been a boon to Aurora itself.
In addition, the Broadway Series, which offers exceptionally good value price-wise, already has attracted 20,000 subscribers. And next season it will increase the run of each show from three weeks to four.
Now comes word of the Paramount's 2013-2014 season. It will include four shows as follows:
± "In the Heights" (Sept. 11-Oct. 6): The 2008 Tony Award-winning musical by with a score by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Quiara Alegría Hudes, with Rachel Rockwell directing the show in its first incarnation post-Broadway and national tour. The show (Rated PG), follows three days in the lives of residents living on 183rd Street in New York's Washington Heights. A largely Hispanic neighborhood with strong family bonds, it is facing an period of change, and the stories of many different people unfold on a single city block. Infused with the poetry of rap, soaring ballads and powerful Latin-inspired grooves, this musical tells an old-fashioned story but has a highly original score and choreography.
± "Miss Saigon" (Oct. 30-Nov. 24): Paramount's artistic director, Jim Corti, will direct this searing musical (Rated PG) by Claude-Michel Schonberg (music) and Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boublil (lyrics). From the creators of "Les Miserables," this epic story chronicles the tragic romance between an American solider and a Vietnamese bargirl just as Saigon is about to fall. Forced to evacuate, the soldier pledges to return for his new bride, but only years later does he learn the fate of the woman and the son he never knew.
± "42nd Street" (Jan. 15-Feb. 9, 2014): This tap-happy Broadway classic (Rated G), with music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin, and book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, with be directed by Rachel Rockwell. It tells the the story of Peggy, the small town girl who arrives in New York, lands a role in the chorus and then finds herself catapulted to overnight stardom. Such standards as "We're in the Money, "Lullaby of Broadway," "Shuffle Off to Buffalo," and the title number will get the full orchestra Paramount treatment.
± "Rent" (March 12-April 6, 2014): The hit musical (Rated R) with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, will be directed by Jim Corti. Based on Larson's own experiences (and inspired by the opera, "La Boheme"), the show follows the lives of eight young artists and musicians living on the Lower East Side of New York as AIDS , drugs, high rents, romance and artistic expression are all part of the mix.
The Paramount Theatre is located at 25 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. For subscriptions (starting at $73.80 for four shows), call (630) 896-6666 or visit www.paramountaurora.com.
NOTE: The Paramount's current production, "Fiddler on the Roof" opens March 8. Peter Kevoian, who stars as Tevye, is ill with a bad cold. His understudy, the excellent David Girolmo, will take over on opening night and continue playing the role throughout the weekend,