CHICAGO – Paramount Theatre is proud to announce Artistic Director Jim Corti received the Illinois Theatre Association’s 2017 Award of Honor at the association’s annual Red Carpet Gala last Saturday, August 26, at Harper College’s Wojcik Conference Center in Palatine, Illinois.
“Paramount continues to provide world-class entertainment to an annual audience of over 300,000 patrons from more than 250 communities,” said Allan Kimball, President, Illinois Theatre Association. “Drawing primarily from the talent pool of Chicago actors, designers and technicians, Paramount’s Broadway productions feature full orchestras, and have been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for their popularity, their artistic heft and their originality. It is my pleasure to present the ITA’s 2017 Award of Honor to Paramount Theatre Artistic Director Jim Corti.”
“It’s really a tremendous thing to meet this community, the Illinois Theatre Association, in this room,” Corti responded. “I will never forget tonight and what I have been witnessing. There is something special about how art brings people together, and there is nothing like an education in the arts. That’s what the ITA is all about. So here’s to new beginnings and I hope to see you all at the theater.”
The ITA Award comes fast on the heels on another major honor, Corti’s nomination for a Jeff Award for Director, Musical-Large, for his production last season of Sweeney Todd-The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Dual nominations for Best Musical-Large for Paramount’s Sweeney Todd and Disney’s The Little Mermaid were also among an impressive 15 Jeff nominations that Paramount garnered for its 2016-17 season.
Paramount only became Jeff eligible three seasons ago, and has since enjoyed record-breaking nominations each year, winning top honors the past two seasons in a row for Best Musical-Large for Les Misérables and West Side Story, both directed by Corti.
Currently, Corti is in rehearsals of Paramount Theatre’s Broadway season opener, Million Dollar Quartet, September 13-October 29, 2017. Corti will also stage Paramount’s season finale, the first regional production of Once, April 25-June 3, 2018.
In between, Paramount’s 2017-18 includes Elf: The Musical (directed by Amber Mak, November 22, 2017-January 7, 2018) and Cabaret (directed by Katie Spelman, February 7-March 18, 2018).
Corti was hired in 2011 as Paramount’s first artistic director, charged with launching and overseeing a self-produced, four-show Broadway musical series. Flash forward to only its sixth season in 2017-18, and Paramount already boasts more than 33,000 subscribers, making it the third largest subscription house in the country. The reasons are ample – four amazing, affordable, Broadway-quality musicals, at one of the most majestic theaters in the Midwest. (See below for Jim Corti’s full bio and headshot)
Four-play packages for Paramount’s 2017-18 Broadway Musical Series start as low as $72. The Paramount is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in the heart of downtown Aurora. For subscriptions and single tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call
(630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and two hours prior to evening performances.
About the Illinois Theatre Association
It is the mission of the Illinois Theatre Association to advocate for the art of quality theatre in Illinois by:
- establishing an Illinois membership similar in purpose to and affiliated with national theatre organizations.
- encouraging a closer understanding and communication between community, educational and professional theatre.
- informing the general public of the diverse nature and extent of Illinois theatre (advocacy for the art of theatre throughout the state).
- cooperating with appropriate state and federal agencies and with regional and national theatre organizations in promoting increased recognition and program development for Illinois theatre at all levels.
- promoting and perpetuating the highest caliber of theatre production, teaching and research at all levels of theatre within the state of Illinois.
- affirming the important value of theatre in the lives of individuals.
The ITA provides numerous services throughout Illinois (festivals, conferences, focus groups, professional development workshops, publications). In doing so, the ITA strives to become “the representative association for all things theatre in Illinois.” The ITA is comprised of six divisions: College/University Theatre, Community Theatre, Creative Drama, Professional Theatre, Secondary School Theatre, and Theatre for Young Audiences.
The full list of 2017 ITA Award recipients follows:
2017 Awards of Excellence
Creative Drama Center for Creative Arts Therapy
Theatre for Young Audiences Theater Unspeakable
Secondary School Theatre Patricia A. Cheney
College/University Theatre Cyndee Brown
Community Theatre Jessi Gangware-Hersman, Buffalo Grove Park District
Professional Theatre Molly Hernandez
2017 Extraordinary Contributions to
the Illinois High School Theatre Festival Cyndee Brown
Anne Thurman Mentorship Award Donna Stone
2017 Awards of Honor
Non-ITA Member Paramount Theatre
Jim Corti, Artistic Director
ITA Member Stephen Leaver
For more information about the Illinois Theatre Association, visit illinoistheatre.org or call (312) 265-5922.
Jim Corti – Biography
Jim Corti 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 Series show My Fair Lady, which played to rave reviews. Corti’s 2013 Paramount production of Fiddler on the Roof was a smash hit, and his Miss Saigon was the only musical to make the Chicago Tribune’s Top Ten Shows of 2013. Rent in 2014 was a critical and box office success, followed by consecutive productions of The Who’s Tommy and Les Misérables, which collectively garnered five Jeff Awards for Paramount in its first year of eligibility, including Best Production – Musical – Large for Les Misérables and Best Director – Musical for Corti. He also staged Paramount’s 2015-16 opener Oklahoma! and closer West Side Story, Paramount’s second-consecutive Jeff Award winning Best Musical. Last season, Corti directed memorable productions of Mamma Mia! and Sweeney Todd, recipient of five Jeff nominations, including Director-Musical-Large and Best Musical-Large.
Before Paramount, Corti was a seasoned Broadway veteran, appearing in the New York casts of Ragtime, A Chorus Line and Candide and national tours of Urinetown, Cabaret and Bob Fosse’s Dancin’. Career highlights 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’s Oh, Coward!. He remains the sole honoree to have garnered a Jeff Award as an actor (in Marriott’s Grand Hotel), a choreographer (Drury Lane’s Singin’ in the Rain) and director (Paramount’s Les Misérables, Drury Lane’s Sweet Charity and Northlight’s Blues in the Night).