Paramount Theatre Presents BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Highland Park Players Announces Cast And Production Team For KINKY BOOTS

Great dancing candlesticks! Just wait to see what Aurora's Paramount Theatre has in store for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, November 13, 2019-January 19, 2020 at the beautiful Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. Press opening is Friday, November 22, at 8 p.m.

i??The Beast, Belle and everyone's favorite enchanted castle characters from one of our most beloved animated films will come to incredible new life at Paramount, ready to thrill, entertain and amaze young and old alike.

Per usual, Paramount has big plans for Beauty and the Beast, with a blockbuster production sure to ignite imaginations, enthrall senses, excite emotions and literally open pages to so much possibility. Entire families will be enchanted by classic song-and-dance numbers like "Be Our Guest," "Belle" and "Beauty and the Beast."

Returning to direct and co-choreograph her fourth holiday season spectacular in a row is Paramount's Amber Mak, hot on the heels of last season's The Wizard of Oz, which earned her Jeff nominations for Best Musical/Large and Best Director, her eye-popping Elf The Musical, and her puppet-filled The Little Mermaid before that.

i??Paramount favorite Paul-Jordan Jansen, who won hearts last season as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and earned the Jeff Award for Best Actor in a Musical as Sweeney Todd in 2017, also returns as the Beast.

Once upon a time on a bitter winter's night, a vain young prince finds a beggar woman asking for shelter. Disgusted by her appearance, he sends her far away. The old woman transforms into a magical enchantress who places a curse upon the prince to appear as hideous on the outside as he is on the inside. Given a magical rose, he must learn to love and find love in return before the last petal drops, or he is doomed to remain a beast forever locked inside his enchanted castle. But who could ever learn to love a beast?

"I was a young girl when the animated Disney adaptation came out. I remember sitting in the theater and being terrified of the wolves, sympathetic to the Beast and deeply identifying with Belle because of her love of books and adventure," said director Amber Mak. "Re-visiting this story now as an adult and mother, I am surprised and intrigued in a whole new way. The words 'Beauty' and 'Beast' that at one time seemed antithetical and simple, now seem to hold such a complex and fluid relationship. What does it actually mean to be human? What separates human from beast? What role does beauty play as a defining human characteristic? Or is it?"

Beauty and the Beast boasts music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, and book by Linda Woolverton. The live stage version is adapted from Walt Disney Pictures' Academy Award-winning 1991 animated musical film of the same name, which in turn had been based on the classic French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. Critics immediately noted the film's Broadway musical potential when it was first released in 1991, providing the encouragement then Disney CEO Michael Eisner needed to first venture into Broadway. After tryouts in Houston, Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway on April 18, 1994 to mixed reviews, but was a massive commercial success. Beauty ran for 5,461 performances over 13 years, becoming Broadway's tenth longest-running production in history. It has since grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide and played in more than thirteen countries and 115 cities.

Joining Beth Stafford Laird as Belle and Paul-Jordan Jansen as the Beast in Paramount's new production are principal cast members Katherine Lee Bourné (Babette), Nick Druzbanski (LeFou), Jackson Evans (Lumiere), George Keating (Cogsworth), Becca McCoy (Madame de la Grande Bouche), Emmett O'Hanlon (Gaston), Ron E. Rains (Maurice), Jennie Sophia (Mrs. Potts), and young actors Aaliyah Montana and Izzie Rose doubling as Chip. The ensemble is Brian Bandura, Danielle Davila, Billy Dawson, Evan C. Dolan, Timothy P. Foszcz, Christopher John Kelley, Taylor Lane, Ashley Lanyon, Bernell Lassai III, Ivory Leonard IV, Jenna Napolitano, Nich O'Neil, Sara Reinecke, Elizabeth Romero, Aalon Smith, Darian Tene, Katherine Viviano and Charles Emery Ward. Trevor Vanderzee will perform the role of Gaston January 8-19, 2020.

Paramount's full production team includes Amber Mak, director/co-choreographer; Todd Rhoades, co-choreographer; Kory Danielson, music supervisor and music director/conductor; Jeff Kmiec, scenic designer; Theresa Ham, costume designer; Jesse Klug, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Mike Tutaj, projection designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Christopher Rose, magic designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Jerry Galante, fight choreographer; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; Landree Fleming, assistant director; Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, assistant music director/associate conductor; Jinni Pike, stage manager; and Kelly Montgomery, assistant stage manager.


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Photos: Go Inside Opening Night Of Music Theater Works PIPPIN

Music Theater Works second production in its 2023 season, Pippin in the North Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts In Skokie is now playing through June 25. Check out opening night photos here!

Photos: First Look At Music Theater Works PIPPIN, Now Playing Through June 25 Photo
Photos: First Look At Music Theater Works' PIPPIN, Now Playing Through June 25

Music Theater Works second production in its 2023 season, Pippin in the North Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts In Skokie, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie,  is now playing through June 25. See photos from the production.

DRUNK SHAKESPEARE Workers Successfully Organize with Actors Equity Association Photo
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The actors, stage managers, bartenders and servers of Chicago’s Drunk Shakespeare have achieved their goal of organizing with Actors’ Equity Association, the national labor union representing more than 51,000 professional performers and stage managers in live theatre.

City Lit Names Brian Pastor Executive Artistic Director Photo
City Lit Names Brian Pastor Executive Artistic Director

City Lit Board President Daniel Robinson announced that Brian Pastor (they/them), City Lit’s current Resident Director and for nine years its Managing Director, will succeed City Lit’s Producer and Artistic Director Terry McCabe, who will retire on June 30, 2024, following the conclusion of City Lit’s recently announced 43rd season.

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