AURORA, IL – Aurora’s Paramount Theatre – Chicago’s most decorated theater at the 2017 Jeff Awards with the third largest subscriber base in the nation – is excited to present the first Chicago-area regional staging of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Once to close its 2017-18 Broadway Series.
Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti and Music Director Tom Vendafreddo, who together helmed the Jeff Award-winning Best Production-Musical-Large for the past three seasons, are teaming up again to stage this modern-day musical about an Irish busker (Guy), his immigrant fan (Girl) and their eventful week in Dublin as they write, rehearse and record songs from which their beautiful love story unfolds.
Barry DeBois and Tiffany Topol, both nationally acclaimed actor/musicians, will play the leads, surrounded on Paramount’s glorious stage by fantastically talented co-stars and top-notch production values.
Grand in its themes of love and longing, yet simple and subtle in its execution, Paramount’s new production of Once will remind people that in today’s world where we’re all struggling to connect, often the simplest way is through song.
Previews of Once begin April 25, 2018. Press opening is Saturday, April 28 at 8 p.m. Once runs through June 3: 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 to Once are $36 to $64. For 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.
The Paramount, located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, is surrounded by affordable parking and a variety of restaurants. Once is rated PG-13 for some four-letter words and mild sexual innuendo.
People come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes it leaves us with joy, other times with sorrow. But it’s what we do with those chance encounters that truly define who we are.
Guy and Girl, as they’re known throughout the show, share a fateful meeting on the bustling streets of Dublin spurred by their mutual love for music. Guy is a singer about to give up his dream. Girl is a fan entranced by his music. Their story begins when he tells her of his day job as a vacuum repairman. Lucky for him, she’s got a Hoover that “doesn’t suck.” When she asks him to fix it, she says she can only pay with a song. That song is all it takes for Guy and Girl to fall in love, but with that love also comes baggage. Guy has an ex he can’t get out of his head, and Girl has an estranged husband and a daughter. What’s holding them back couldn’t be heavier, but when it comes to love, the only thing that can stop them is life.
Hailed as “glorious and inspiring,” “gorgeous” and “complete magic,” Once, based on the Oscar- winning movie, won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical, Best Actor and Best Book. Enda Walsh penned the book, with music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, who also originated the roles of Guy and Girl in the 2007 film written and directed by John Carney. The signature song from Once, “Falling Slowly,” went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
In his weekly “Tuesdays with Corti” blog post recently, Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti wrote, “Every time I play back these songs, the greatness in this score by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová becomes more and more real and compelling and like a dream coming true as the time approaches for us to be bringing Once to our audience. The story is a tale of how we can make a change in someone that lasts a lifetime through simply loving selflessly. How change in life can save a life. How we are stuck and then unstuck. If we can have this happen to us, just once, we really can be a gift to each other.”
Behind the Scenes of Paramount’s Once
Paramount’s cast for Once is led by Barry DeBois and Tiffany Topol as Guy and Girl, respectively.
An Oswego native, Topol returns to the Paramount after appearing in a community theater production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Fox Valley Summer Stage when she was sixteen. More recent credits include national tours of Once and Xanadu, and closer to home, Shining Lives at Northlight, Sweet Charity at Writers Theatre and Eastland at Lookingglass.
DeBois, who boasts numerous credits in New York and around the U.S., served as a swing and the music captain on the 2016-17 National Tour of Once. DeBois is making his Paramount debut in Once.
The principal cast also includes Jeanne T. Arrigo (Baruska), Jenn Chandler (Ex-Girlfriend), Alex E. Hardaway (Bank Manager), Nik Kmiecik (Andrej), Angel Lin (Eamon), Everleigh Murphy (Ivonka), Jon Patrick Penick (Billy), Cassidy Stirtz (Reza), Charlie Strater (MC), Larry Tobias (Da) and Grant Alan Watkins (Svec). The ensemble includes Elisa Carlson, Cory Goodrich, Matt Kahler, Michael Kurowski, Doug Pawlik and Matthew C. Yee.
Paramount’s production team for Once includes William Carlos Angulo, choreographer; Jeff Kmiec, scenic design; Theresa Ham, costume design; Nick Belley, lighting design; Mike Tutaj, projection design; Adam Rosenthal, sound design; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup design; Amanda Relaford, properties design; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; Klára Moldová, Czech Cultural Consultant; Trent Stork, associate director; Kory Danielson, assistant music director; Jinni Pike, stage manager; and Kelly Montgomery, assistant stage manager.
Jim Corti (Paramount Artistic Director and director of Once) inaugurated Paramount’s Broadway Series with President and CEO Tim Rater in the fall of 2011 with the critically acclaimed My Fair Lady and a subscriber base of 12,500 patrons. In 2015, Paramount’s Broadway Series became Jeff Award eligible. In the time since, Paramount has garnered 45 nominations with 16 wins, including three consecutive Best Large Musical awards for Les Misérables, West Side Story and Sweeney Todd. Corti helmed all three, and won Best Director for two of them, Les Misérables and Sweeney Todd. Paramount subscriptions are now rising to 36,000 with a record-breaking 320,000 patrons in attendance last season. Corti also directed Paramount’s Fiddler on the Roof, Miss Saigon, Rent, The Who’s Tommy, Oklahoma!, Mamma Mia! and Million Dollar Quartet. A Broadway veteran, he appeared in the original New York casts of Ragtime and Candide, joined the long running A Chorus Line and toured nationally in Urinetown, Cabaret and Bob Fosse’s Dancin’. Other career highlights include being the only director to have two productions in the same year in the Chicago Tribune’s list of 10 Best Shows for Drury Lane’s Cabaret and Writers Theatre’s Oh, Coward! in 2009. He remains the sole honoree to have won Jeff Awards as an actor (Marriott’s Grand Hotel), choreographer (Drury Lane’s Singin’ in the Rain) and director (Paramount’s Sweeney Todd and Les Misérables, Drury Lane’s Sweet Charity and Northlight’s Blues in the Night).
Tom Vendafreddo is Music Director. Once marks his 15th Paramount musical, preceded by Cabaret, Elf The Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Jeff Award, Music Direction), Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Mamma Mia!, West Side Story (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), Hairspray – The Broadway Musical, A Christmas Story – The Musical (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), Oklahoma! (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), Les Misérables (Jeff Nomination, Music Direction), The Who’s Tommy, Mary Poppins and In the Heights. Other credits include Company and Sweet Charity (Writers Theatre); On the Town and Godspell (Marriott Lincolnshire); Road Show and Shrek: The Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Spitfire Grill (BoHo Theatre – Jeff Nomination for Music Direction); and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre). 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, he has performed in Chicago, New York, San Diego and Melbourne. In 2014, he became the Founding Artistic Director of the Chicago Artists Chorale, a choral ensemble of working professionals in the Chicago theatre community. tomvendafreddo.com
Paramount’s Broadway Series is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank and The Dunham Fund. Broadway Series Orchestra Sponsor is Rush-Copley Medical Center. Broadway Series Lighting Sponsor is ComEd. Once is sponsored by the Daily Herald and guitar sponsor Martin Guitars.
Subscribe now to Paramount’s 2018-19 season
For the first time in its history, the Paramount Theatre will present a brand new musical, August Rush, as the finale of its newly announced 2018-19 Broadway Series. Based on the Oscar-nominated film about a musically gifted orphan and his search for his birth parents, August Rush, in a world premiere co-production with Arlington, Virginia’s Signature Theatre, will be directed by internationally acclaimed director John Doyle, who earned a Tony Award for Sweeney Todd and staged the Broadway revival of The Color Purple starring Jennifer Hudson. The film August Rush, released by Warner Brothers in 2007, starred Robin Williams, Keri Russell and Freddie Highmore and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Three more blockbuster productions join August Rush in Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway Series: Legally Blonde (September 5-October 21, 2018), The Wizard of Oz (November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019) and The Producers (February 6-March 17, 2019). Just as it has since it launched its first Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount is offering the same “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription offer, with 2018-19 four-play packages on sale now starting as low as $72.
Paramount’s spring schedule also boasts some of the biggest names in show business including the incredible magic of Penn & Teller (March 23, sold out!), Chicago’s own Jersey boys Under the Streetlamp (two shows, March 24), country music star Scott McCreery (March 25), Shen Yun 2018 (April 5-8), late night comedy legend Jay Leno (April 13), Diana Krall (June 9), Judy Garland: Come Rain or Come Shine featuring Angela Ingersoll (June 10) and the world’s #1 Bee Gees tribute band Stayin’ Alive (June 15).
For subscriptions, tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.