STAGE TUBE: Highlights from MISS SAIGON at the Paramount Theatre

By: Nov. 04, 2013
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Love, loss and the ultimate a part of Paramount Theatre's remarkable, emotionally charged staging of Miss Saigon, one of the most epic productions of modern musical theater. Directed by Paramount Theatre Artistic Director Jim Corti, Miss Saigon is the second installment in the Paramount's "Better than Broadway" 2013-14 Broadway series. Performances are now thorugh November 24, 2013 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, Ill. Click below to watch highlights from the show!

From the creators of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon is the riveting story of an American solider that has fallen in love with a Vietnamese bargirl as the fall of Saigon is looming. Following a quick wedding and an evening of passion, the GI is forced to evacuate, pledging to return for his new bride. Years later, he learns his love escaped the country with their son he never knew...beginning a quest that will change everyone.

Corti sees "spectacular promise with the authenticity of youth and ethnicity with this thrilling cast" led by W. Blaine Brown (Thuy), Anthony Joseph Foronda (Engineer), Elliot Greer (John), Sophie Kim (Gigi), Emilie Lynn (Ellen), Brandon Moorhead (Chris), Shawna Haeji Shin (Kim), Zachary Uzarraga (Tam), with Aurora Adachi-Winter, Adrian Aguilar, Michael Bailey, Christopher Behmke, Bear Bellinger, Audrey Billings, Aaron Conklin, Jasmine Ejan, Nelson Green, Jake Klinkhammer, Dan Lin, Joyee Lin, Allison Lind, Richard Manera, Chip Payos, Geena Quintos,Creg Sclavi, Peter Sipla, Vi Tran, Matthew Uzarraga, Janelle Villas and J. Tyler Whitmer.

For Miss Saigon, veteran Paramount set designer Linda Buchanan (Annie) and projection designer Mike Tutaj (Hair, Annie, Fiddler on the Roof) have created a hybrid design of contemporary tragic opera and docu-drama, grounded in Buchanan's stunning environment of red bamboo sculptured levels in a black surround. Combined with the exceptional singing, dancing, and acting talents of the cast, audiences will be immersed in a rich and fresh insight into Miss Saigon and its score, all set against Tutaj's striking projection design using historical, non-fiction photography.

The production team also includes Jeffery Hancock (choreographer), Linda Roethke (costumes),Jesse Klug (lights), Adam Rosenthal (sound), Sarah E. Ross (props), DiAnne Morrissette (wigs),Rose Marie Packer (stage manager) and Beth Ellen Spencer (assistant stage manager).

Shawn Stengel (Music director/Conductor) will lead the Paramount Theatre Orchestra with live, lush, thrilling renditions of the play's beloved musical score. Stengel returns to Paramount where he music directed and conducted the inaugural production, My Fair Lady, as well as Joseph. . .andA Chorus Line. In addition to conducting the ChicaGo Productions of Billy Elliot and Wicked, both at the Oriental Theatre, Shawn was MD/conductor for the national tours of Crazy for You, And The World Goes 'Round, and Cats, and played keys for Kander & Ebb's The Visit, Sondheim'sBounce (Goodman), Mamma Mia!, Chicago, and Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby. His Chicago music direction credits include Jeff nominations at the Marriott and Pegasus, plus Chicago Shakespeare, Northlight and the Royal George.

Jim Corti (Director) was hired in 2011 to be the first-ever Artistic Director in the Paramount's 80+ year history. He was instrumental in launching Paramount's inaugural Broadway Series, and directed and choreographed Paramount's first self-produced Broadway show, My Fair Lady,which played to rave reviews. His production last season of Fiddler on the Roof at Paramount was similarly a smash hit, and he will next direct Paramount's 2013-14 Broadway season finale, RENT,March 12-April 6, 2014. He is a seasoned veteran to Broadway productions, appearing in the New York casts of Ragtime, A Chorus Line and Candide. Corti has also appeared in the national tours ofUrinetown, Cabaret and Bob Fosse's Dancin'. Highlights from his body of work over three decades include: being the only director in Chicago to have two productions at the same time in the Chicago Tribune's list of 10 Best Shows in 2009 - Drury Lane's Cabaret and Writers' Theatre'sOh, Coward!. He is the sole honoree to have garnered a Jeff Award as an actor (in Marriott'sGrand Hotel), a choreographer (Drury Lane's Singin' In The Rain) and director (Northlight's Blues In The Night and Drury Lane's Sweet Charity). Other Chicago credits include choreographing The Original Grease (American Theatre Company), directing The Lost Boys of Sudan and The Snow Queen (Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre), and Meet Me In St. Louis and The Full Monty (Drury Lane). Corti has also served productions for Second City, Goodman and Steppenwolf theaters.

Miss Saigon features music by Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, with lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr. and Alain Boubil. The play's inspiration stemmed from a news photograph that Schönberg found showing a Vietnamese woman parting with her child at Tan Son Nhut airport so that the child could have a better life with her G.I. father in America. It reminded him of Cio-Cio-San's ultimate sacrifice in Madame Butterfly.

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