AURORA – Omigod! Omigod, you guys! Aurora’s Paramount Theatre – Chicago’s most decorated theater at the 2017 Jeff Awards, the most heavily subscribed theater in Chicago, and the second largest in the nation – is excited to kick off Chicago’s 2018-19 theater season in high fashion with a new production of Legally Blonde.
Trent Stork, a veteran of 15 productions and casting director at Paramount, will make his Aurora directorial debut with this ever popular story about rising to a challenge and defying stereotypes, all while looking fabulous.
Speaking of fabulous, Chicago newcomers Casey Shuler and Gerald Caesar will make their respective Paramount debuts as the idealistic and precocious protagonist, Elle Woods, and her earnest love interest, Emmett Forrest. With an A-list cast and design team, and music director and conductor Kory Danielson leading the 13-person Paramount orchestra, audiences can look forward to a super fresh take on the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon, bursting with big heart, bigger dance numbers and a lot of laughs.
“2018 needs Elle Woods,” said Stork, who will direct and co-choreograph Legally Blonde. “In a time when the struggles of women can no longer be ignored, we need heroes like Elle onstage – a fierce, courageous woman who tackles every obstacle thrown at her, speaks out against her oppressor and takes him down.”
“On top of it all, she does it in a way that is uniquely her own,” Stork added. “My generation relates to this. We graduated from school (or didn’t) and entered a world where the odds are stacked against us to get a job, gain financial security and find a place in the world. Hard work always pays off, being true to yourself never goes out of style and unlocking your full potential are the keys to success. Who better exemplifies that than Elle Woods?”
Legally Blonde starts previews Wednesday, September 5. Press opening is Saturday, September 8 at 8 p.m. The production runs through October 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. Single tickets are $36 to $69.
But…omigod! Like, there’s still time to include Legally Blonde in Paramount’s “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” 2018-19 Broadway subscription offer. For less than the price and hassle of seeing just one show downtown, Paramount subscribers can see Legally Blonde and three more Broadway-quality musicals: The Wizard of Oz (November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019), The Producers (February 6-March 17, 2019) and August Rush, Paramount’s first world premiere musical (April 24-June 2, 2019). Four-play packages start as low as $72. The rewards are ample – four amazing, Broadway-quality musicals at one of the most accommodating and majestic Art Deco theaters in the Midwest.
For subscriptions or 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 before evening performances. Paramount Theatre, located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, is surrounded by affordable parking and a variety of restaurants. Legally Blonde is rated PG-13 for for some profanity and sexual references.
Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series, now in its eighth season, is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Dunham Fund, ComEd and City of Aurora. Legally Blonde is sponsored by Rush-Copley Medical Center.
More about Legally Blonde
A member of UCLA’s Delta Nu sorority, Elle has a seemingly perfect life and perfect future. All she needs is her boyfriend Warner to cement it with a proposal. But her dream life turns into a nightmare when Warner decides to break it off because she’s not serious enough for him. As if! Heartbroken and in despair, Elle hatches a near-impossible plan to win him back: get into Harvard Law School. What? Like it’s hard? Throughout the show, nobody has faith in Elle, but she manages to surprise everyone when she defies expectations while staying true to herself.
Casey Schuler, a recent graduate of the University of Kentucky, comes to Paramount directly from performing in Titanic: The Musical at Atlanta’s Serenbe Playhouse. The Legally Blonde cast also includes Gerald Caesar (A Bronx Tail on Broadway, national tour of The Lion King) as Emmett Forrest, Jacquelyne Jones as Vivienne Kensington, James Rank as Professor Callahan, Sophie Grimm as Paulette, Teressa LaGamba as Enid Hoopes, Tyler Lain as Warner Huntington III, Kyrie Courter as Pilar, Lucy Godinez as Serena, Sara Reinecke as Margot, Jenna Coker-Jones as Brooke Wyndham and James Doherty as Kyle B. O’Boyle.
The ensemble features Brittany Coriaci, Gilbert Domally, Michael Ehlers, Lara Hayhurst, Will Herndon, Ruchir Khazanchi, Yando Lopez, Mallory Maedke, Maria Alejandra Montero Guzman, LaShera Zenise Moore, John Pletka, Sierra Schnack, Will Skrip, Anthony Sullivan Jr., Leryn Turlington, Aaron Umsted, Janelle Villas, J Tyler Whitmer and Missy Wise.
Paramount’s production team for Legally Blonde includes Megan Farley, co-choreographer; Jeff Kmiec, scenic design; Theresa Ham, costume design; Nick Belley, lighting design; Adam Rosenthal, sound design; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup design; Jesse Gaffney, properties design; Calandra Daby, assistant director; Charlotte Rivard-Hoster, assistant music director; Maggie O’Donnell, stage manager; and Matthew McMullen, assistant stage manager.
Trent Stork is a director and casting director based in Chicago. He serves as Artistic Associate and Casting Director for Paramount Theatre where he has worked on the directing team for 15 productions, ten alongside Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti, and has been the resident casting director for the last four years. Outside of Paramount, Stork has worked at the Kaufman Center in New York City, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Angels Theatre Company and The Nebraska Repertory Theatre among others. Over the past year he started his own casting company, Trent Stork Casting, and was the Chicago casting director for the new West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Kory Danielson (music director/conductor) is coming back for his 14th consecutive musical at the Paramount, where he served as music director for last season’s opener, Million Dollar Quartet, co-music director and associate conductor with Tom Vendafreddo on Jesus Christ Superstar, and assistant music director and associate conductor for Once, Cabaret, Elf The Musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Mamma Mia!, West Side Story, Hairspray, A Christmas Story – The Musical, Oklahoma!, Les Misérables and The Who’s Tommy. Other Chicago credits include Assassins, The Full Monty, Loving Repeating, Heathers, Tomorrow Morning (Kokandy Productions); Passion (2014 Jeff Award for Outstanding Music Direction), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Theo Ubique); How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Porchlight Music Theatre); Hedwig, Wedding Singer (Haven Theatre); and Zanna, Don’t!, Lucky Stiff, Triumph of Love (The Music Theatre Company). Danielson has also worked with Drury Lane, Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Bailiwick and Hell in a Handbag.
Legally Blonde – music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach – is based on Amanda Brown’s novel Legally Blonde and the 2001 MGM film of the same name that featured a breakout performance by Reese Witherspoon. After pre-Broadway tryouts in San Francisco, the musical, directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, moved to Broadway in April 2007. It opened to positive reviews, grossed more than $1,000,000 a week on several occasions, and earned seven Tony nominations and ten Drama Desk nominations. Since then, there have been a West End production, several tours of the U.S., U.K., and Australia and numerous international productions. The film Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde was released in 2003. In June, Witherspoon confirmed she will reprise the character for a third time in a sequel produced by MGM, release date TBA.
Subscribe now to Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway Series
See why everyone is buzzing about the amazing musicals now produced and presented at the Chicago-area’s most decorated theater. Since launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount has leapt to the top of Chicago’s musical theater scene, winning unanimous critical and audience acclaim, and an unprecedented number of Joseph Jefferson nominations and awards, including Best Musical-Large for the past three seasons.
Legally Blonde is the perfect way to push Paramount’s eighth season into high gear and never let up. Following Legally Blonde, Paramount’s Broadway Series continues with The Wizard of Oz (November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019) and The Producers (February 6-March 17, 2019). For its 2018-19 season finale, and for the first time in its history, Paramount’s fourth production will be a brand new musical, the world premiere of August Rush, based on the Oscar-nominated movie (April 24-June 2, 2019).
Join the growing ranks of more than 36,000 Broadway Series subscribers at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre, now the most heavily subscribed theater in all of Chicago and second largest in the nation.
Four-show packages for Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway Series are on sale now and start at just $72. That’s four Broadway-caliber productions in a historic Art Deco theatrical palace for less than the price and hassle of one show downtown. To subscribe or purchase single tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora
About Paramount Theatre
Paramount Theatre (ParamountAurora.com), 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in the second largest city in Illinois. Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. It was designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp and is graced with a beautiful Venetian decor with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence. It also was the first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago. From silent films to the first “Talkies,” from Vaudeville to Bobby Vinton, from Dionne to Donny and Marie, Paramount Theatre has provided Aurora and the Fox Valley the best of entertainment for generations.
In 1976, the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA) restored Paramount to its original grandeur. Paramount Arts Centre reopened in 1978, offering a variety of touring theatrical, musical, comedy, dance and family programming. In 2006, a 12,000-square-foot, two-story Grand Gallery lobby was added, including a grand staircase, new box office, café and art gallery.
In 2010, ACCA hired Tim Rater as President and CEO of Paramount Theatre. Rater’s mission was to boost the theater’s programming and audience base by transforming Paramount into one of Chicago’s top self-producing, professional Equity musical theaters. Rater hired award-winning Chicago director Jim Corti as Paramount’s first-ever artistic director. In 2011, Paramount introduced its inaugural four-play Broadway Series with Corti’s critically-acclaimed production of My Fair Lady. In just six blockbuster seasons since, Paramount has leapt to the top of Chicago’s musical theater scene, winning unanimous audience and critical acclaim, and an unprecedented number of Joseph Jefferson nominations and awards, including Best Musical-Large for the past three consecutive seasons.
Today, the 1,800+-seat Paramount Theatre remains nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, historic beauty and superb acoustics. More than 36,000 subscribers from throughout the city and suburbs enjoy Paramount’s Broadway-quality productions at highly affordable prices, making Paramount the second largest subscription house in the nation. In addition to its Broadway Series, Paramount continues to present an eclectic array of internationally known comedians, music stars, dance events and family shows, and on most Mondays, screens a classic movie for just $1.
Paramount is one of three live performance venues programmed and managed by the ACCA, which also oversees Paramount’s “sister” stage, the intimate 173-seat Copley Theatre located across the street from the Paramount at 8 E. Galena Blvd., as well as RiverEdge Park, downtown Aurora’s summer outdoor concert venue at
360 N. Broadway.
Rater and his team also are preparing to open the new Paramount School of the Arts in the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, currently under construction adjacent to Paramount. Paramount’s new school will encourage and train young actors, dancers and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurture the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and add to the excitement, cultural and economic activity in downtown Aurora. Courses for children as young as six months will be offered with opportunities for adults and seniors, as well. Registration is currently scheduled to open near the end of 2018 for a full roster of classes, private lessons and camps in acting, music and dance to launch in 2019.
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 theater and music professionals. For more, visit ParamountAurora.com or call (630) 896-6666.