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E. Faye Butler, Amelia Jo Parish and More to Star in HAIRSPRAY at the Paramount This Winter

Get set for a high-octane ride with thrilling choreography, rockin' tunes and explosively colorful costumes - plus some really cool hairdos - when the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, presents HAIRSPRAY - The Broadway Musical, January 20 - February 21, 2016.

Based on the John Waters hit movie, HAIRSPRAY reminds us of the importance of individuality and the acceptance of one another: a wonderful message to share with everyone, including the more than 30,000 who now subscribe to Paramount's 2015-16 Broadway Musical Series. Director and choreographer Amber Mak makes her Paramount directorial debut with this high-energy song and dance party about a plus-size teen, with plus-size hair, and one big plus-size dream -- to dance her way onto Baltimore's hit TV show, "The Corny Collins Show."

The incomparable E. Faye Butler makes her Paramount debut as well as Motormouth Maybelle. On his blog, Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti wrote today, "It seems I've known this powerhouse, multi-award winning beauty all my life and it's hard to keep track of Ms. Butler as she never stops working! I will never forget her portrayals of Dinah Washington in Dinah Was at Northlight and in the title role of Court Theatre's Caroline, or Change."

Butler is just one in an A-list, 30-person cast including Amelia Jo Parish as Tracy Turnblad, Michael Kingston as Edna Turnblad, TJ Crawford as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Devin DeSantis as Corny Collins, Michael Ehlers as Wilbur Turnblad, Landree Fleming as Penny Pingleton, Henry McGinniss as Link Larkin, Samantha Pauly as Amber Von Tussle, Heather Townsend as Velma Von Tussle and Ariana Burks as Little Inez.

Adding motion to the ocean are HAIRSPRAY ensemble members David Davis, Gilbert Domally, Annie Jo Ermel, Adam Fane, Megan E. Farley, Allyson Graves, Danielle Jackman, Allie Jae, Reneisha Jenkins, Alex John Johnson, George Keating, James Lee, Ericka Mac, Mallory Maedke, John Marshall Jr., Mollyanne Nunn, Jaymes Osborne, Carlita Victoria and Phil Young.

Bring your family, friends and neighbors to Paramount's HAIRSPRAY - The Broadway Musical. Previews begin January 20, 2016. Press opening is Saturday, January 23 at 8 p.m. Regular performances continue through February 21: Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 7 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Estimated run time is 2 hours and 30 minutes including intermission. There will be two certified sign interpreters translating all dialogue and lyrics into American Sign Language on Thursday, February 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $41 to $56. The Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd., in the heart of downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666 or visit the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances. HAIRSPRAY - The Broadway Musical is rated PG. Parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

HAIRSPRAY - The Broadway Musical is based on the original 1988 New Line Cinema film written and directed by cult legend John Waters starring Ricki Lake, Divine and Debbie Harry. Who can forget Waters' timeless story? Every day after school, "pleasantly plump" Tracy Turnblad and her best friend Penny bee-line home to watch the cool kids shake the rafters to the hottest tunes on "The Corny Collins Show." 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. Overnight, Tracy is the new girl in town, and life is never the same. 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.

Amber Mak, director and choreographer of Paramount's HAIRSPRAY, was associate director, associate choreographer, dance captain and an ensemble member in Paramount's smash hit musical Mary Poppins. Mak choreographed Singin' in the Rain at Drury Lane Oakbrook and was associate choreographer/director for Rachel Rockwell for Xanadu, The Sound of Music, Sweeney Todd and Ragtime (winner of seven Jeff Awards, including Best Musical), Shout! and the world premiere of The Emperor's New Clothes. She is also artistic director of FWD Theatre Project, a new company dedicated to advancing Chicago as a premiere destination for new musical theater. On stage, she also performed in Paramount's Cats and elsewhere in West Side Story, Beauty and the Beast, Wizard of Oz, Singin' in the Rain, Crazy for You, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Annie Get Your Gun, Pajama Game, A Funny Thing... Forum, Funny Girl, Shout!, The Music Man, Kiss Me, Kate, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Once Upon A Mattress and Cabaret. Mak is a graduate of Northwestern University and is on faculty for the National High School Institute at Northwestern. ambermak.com.

Tom Vendafreddo (music director and conductor) is helming his fifth consecutive musical at Paramount, where the 15-member Paramount Theatre Orchestra will play the full, original Broadway orchestrations. His previous productions at Paramount are In the Heights, Mary Poppins, The Who's Tommy, LES MISERABLES, Oklahoma! and A Christmas Story, The Musical. Other credits include On the Town and Godspell (Marriott Lincolnshire); Road Show and Shrek: The Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Sweet Charity (Writers Theatre); The Spitfire Grill (BoHo Theatre - Jeff Nomination for Music Direction); and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Metropolis Performing Arts Center). Select regional credits include RENT (San Diego Musical Theatre), Odyssey (Old Globe Theatre), Forever Plaid (Chestnut Fine Arts) and It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Cygnet Theatre). As a cabaret artist, Tom has performed in Chicago, New York, San Diego and Melbourne, Australia. In 2014, he became the Founding Artistic Director of the Chicago Artists Chorale, a choral ensemble comprised of working professionals in the Chicago theatre community. Vendafreddo received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Education from Eastman School of Music and a Master of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University. tomvendafreddo.com.

E. Faye Butler (Motormouth Maybelle) has performed on virtually every Chicago stage including the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight, Steppenwolf, Court, Marriott Lincolnshire, Victory Gardens, Congo Square, Royal George and Mercury. Regionally she has performed at Asolo, Yale, Milwaukee and Arkansas Repertory Theatres, Philadelphia Theatre Company and the Kennedy Center. Her national and regional touring credits include Dinah Was, Mamma Mia, Ain't Misbehavin' and Nunsense. She is the recipient of six Jeff awards, four BTAs, two Helen Hayes awards and a Black Excellence Award. She has been recognized for Excellence in the Arts and was inducted into Women in the Arts Museum in Washington D.C.

Paramount's HAIRSPRAY production team includes Linda Buchanan, sets; Theresa Ham, costumes; Greg Hofmann, lights; Michael Stanfill, media; Adam Rosenthal, sound; Katie Cordts, wigs and make-up; Sarah Ross, properties; Sam Roberson, dramaturg and creative consultant; Jinni Pike, stage manager; Nora Mally, assistant stage manager.

HAIRSPRAY - The Broadway Musical -book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman - had its Broadway opening on August 15, 2002. It won eight Tony Awards out of 13 nominations and played more than 2,500 performances before closing on January 4, 2009. HAIRSPRAY has also had national tours, a London West End production and foreign productions. Younger audiences are familiar with the 2007 major motion picture reboot starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Christopher Walken and Queen Latifah.

The Paramount Theatre (ParamountAurora.com) is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. Named "One of Chicago's Top 10 Attended Theatres" by the League of Chicago Theatres, the 1,888-seat Paramount, located in downtown Aurora at 23 E. Galena Blvd., is nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, superb acoustics and historic beauty. The Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. Designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp, the theater captures a unique Venetian setting portrayed in the art deco influence of the 1930s. The first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago, the Paramount offered the public a variety of entertainment, including "talking pictures," vaudeville, concerts and circus performances for more than 40 years. In 1976, Aurora Civic Center Authority purchased the Paramount and closed the theater for restoration. The $1.5 million project restored the Paramount to its original grandeur. On April 29, 1978, the Paramount Arts Center opened, offering a variety of theatrical, musical, comedy, dance and family programming. In 2006, a 12,000-square-foot, two-story Grand Gallery lobby was added, with a new, state-of-the-art box office, café and art gallery. Today, the Paramount self-produces its own Broadway Musical Series, presents an eclectic array of comedy, music, dance and family shows, and on most Mondays, screens a classic movie. The Paramount Theatre is one of three live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA). ACCA also oversees the Paramount's "sister" stage, the intimate, 173-seat Copley Theatre located directly across the street from the Paramount at 8 E. Galena Blvd., as well as RiverEdge Park, downtown Aurora's summer outdoor concert venue. The Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theatre and music professionals.

Pictured: (top row, from left) HAIRSPRAY - The Broadway Musical marks Amber Mak's Paramount directing debut. Tom Vendafreddo is music director and conductor. (middle row, from left) Amelia Jo Parish stars as Tracy Turnblad with Chicago musical theater legend E. Faye Butler as Motormouth Maybelle, Michael Kingston as Edna Turnblad,TJ Crawford as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Devin DeSantis as Corny Collins, (bottom row, from left) Michael Ehlers as Wilbur Turnblad, Landree Fleming as Penny Pingleton, Henry McGinniss as Link Larkin, Samantha Pauly as Amber Von Tussle, Heather Townsend as Velma Von Tussle and Ariana Burks as Little Inez.



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