AURORA, IL – Chicago audiences will be the first to see August Rush: The Musical, a world premiere musical crafted by some of the top creative artists working in American theater today, based on the Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film about a musically gifted orphan and the search for his birth parents.
John Doyle, the internationally acclaimed director who earned a Tony Award for Sweeney Todd and also staged the Broadway revival of The Color Purple starring Jennifer Hudson, helms August Rush – Paramount Theatre’s first world premiere musical – April 24-June 2, 2019. Press opening is Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m.
Lead artists include Emmy Award-winning book writer and lyricist Glen Berger, who also co-wrote the book for Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.
Celebrated composer and lyricist Mark Mancina, who also composed the platinum selling soundtrack for the film August Rush, many songs for The Lion King and the score for Pixar’s hit film Moana.
Orchestrations and arrangements are by Dave Metzger, who orchestrated the films August Rush, Training Day and Tarzan and received a Tony nomination for his work on Disney’s The Lion King.
Today, Paramount Theatre announced the creatives for the August Rush: The Musical design and production team, including:
Choreographer – JoAnn M. Hunter
Music Director/Conductor – Greg Jarrett
Scenic Designer – Scott Pask
Costume Designer – Ann Hould-Ward
Lighting Designer – Paul Toben
Sound Designer – Dan Moses Schreier
Projection Designer – Joe Burke
Wig, Hair & Makeup Designer – Katie Cordts
Properties Designer – Jesse Gaffney
Casting – Trent Stork (Casting Director, Paramount Theatre) and Stewart/Whitley
In sum, Paramount’s August Rush production team is John Doyle, director; Glen Berger, book and lyrics; Mark Mancina, music and lyrics; Dave Metzger, orchestrator and arranger; JoAnn M. Hunter, choreographer; Greg Jarrett, music director/conductor; Scott Pask, scenic designer; Ann Hould-Ward, costume designer; Paul Toben, lighting designer; Dan Moses Schreier, sound designer; Joe Burke, projection designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Trent Stork and Stewart Whitley, casting; Adam John Hunter, stage manager through May 12; Christine D’Amore, assistant stage manager, stage manager starting May 13; Matthew McMullen, assistant stage manager.
Behind the scenes of August Rush – “The music is all around us. All you have to do is listen”
August Rush: The Musical is the story of Evan Taylor, an 11-year-old orphan who believes in music like some believe in fairytales. In a cruel twist of fate, Evan’s mother, an accomplished classical cellist, and his father, the lead singer of a rock band, don’t even know of his existence. From one foster home to the next, Evan refuses to give up hope in finding his parents. On this relentless search, he surrenders himself to the symphony of sounds in the city and follows the music, discovering his own genius along the way. In this inspiring love story, music is everywhere, but will it lead Evan home?
The major motion picture August Rush, a 2007 Warner Bros. release, featured Freddie Highmore as August Rush, with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Lewis, Keri Russell as Lyla and Robin Williams as Wizard. The story is by Paul Castro, and the screenplay is by Nick Castle and James V. Hart. The film earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
“I’m excited about the development of this new and unique musical,” said director John Doyle. “August Rush centers on the emotional and musical journey of a young boy – a lost boy. Through music he reunites with the parents he otherwise may never have found. The ‘hope’ that the story highlights is powerful. That, more than anything, is what attracted me to the material, and I’m honored to be a part of its journey.”
“When our Broadway Series began in 2011, we had big dreams for what it could become. Over the years, those dreams have been brought to life again and again. And now, one of our biggest dreams is finally becoming a reality,” said Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre. “August Rush: The Musical, the first major project from our New Works Development Program guided by my colleague Amber Mak, represents the next step in Paramount’s evolution into one of the nation’s preeminent regional theaters. What does this mean to our more than 41,000 subscribers? It means they will be the first ever to see this production come to life.”
Previews of August Rush: The Musical start April 24 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, Illinois. Press opening is Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. Performances run through June 2: 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. 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. August Rush is suggested for ages 9 and older due to some adult themes and language.
Just like Paramount’s recent smash hits Million Dollar Quartet and Once, the cast members of August Rush: The Musical are both the actors and the orchestra and play all instruments live on stage, creating the beautiful symphony of this story. Stay tuned for the cast announcement later this month.
Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series, now in its eighth season, is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Dunham Fund, ComEd and City of Aurora. August Rush is sponsored by Rush-Copley Medical Center.
Production Team Bios
Glen Berger (book and lyrics) Plays include Underneath the Lintel (Over 350 productions in U.S. and abroad). His television credits include two Emmy Awards (twelve Emmy nominations) and more than 150 episodes for nearly a dozen children’s series [Head-writer for award-winning programs Arthur (PBS), and Fetch w/ Ruff Ruffman (PBS)]. Berger was the co-book writer for Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark on Broadway (directed by Julie Taymor with music by Bono and Edge of U2). His memoir Song of Spider-Man—the harrowing tale of Turn Off the Dark’s creation—was published by Simon & Schuster. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists.
Mark Mancina (music and lyrics) Mancina’s body of work ranges from the Hollywood box office to the Broadway stage. He is a Tony-nominated co-composer and music producer of Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway, and recipient of three Grammy awards, two American Music Awards and Britain’s Ivor Novello Award. His film scores include Speed, Twister, Bad Boys, Tarzan, August Rush, Training Day and Moana. Mancina also composes for the concert stage, creating works based on some of his most memorable film scores. In 2019, the Carmel Bach Festival will premiere his Suite in Three Movements for Guitar and Orchestra.
John Doyle (director) has an extensive directing career in theatre, film and opera. At present, he is Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company in New York City, where notable productions include Passion (Drama Desk Nom Best Director of a Musical), Pacific Overtures, and Carmen Jones. His credits on Broadway include Sweeney Todd (Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Director of a Musical), Company (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), The Visit (Drama Desk Nom Best Director), The Color Purple (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, Drama Desk Award for Best Director of a Musical, Grammy Award). Opera includes Mahagonny (Los Angeles Opera, two Grammy Awards), Lucia de Lammermoor (Sydney Opera House) and Peter Grimes (Metropolitan Opera). Notable musical productions include Kiss Me Kate (Stratford Festival Theatre), Road Show (Public Theater), Gondoliers (Apollo Theatre, London) and Ten Cents a Dance (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Doyle is a Professor of Theatre at Princeton University.
JoAnn M. Hunter (choreographer) has 20 Broadway credits: Choreographer: School of Rock (US National Tour, West End, Australia), Disaster, On A Clear Day…, Broadway Bound. Associate: Spring Awakening, Curtains, The Wedding Singer, All Shook Up. Performer: 12 shows. Other: Ever After, Beatsville, A Sign of the Times, Harmony, The Nutty Professor, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Grease, Oliver, Curtains, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (National Tour). Upcoming: Joseph and the… at The London Palladium. Development: Rock and Roll Refugee, Chix 6 and Perfect Spiral, conceived by Hunter.
Dave Metzger (orchestrator and arranger) has orchestrated two of Broadways biggest shows: The Lion King (he was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Best Orchestrations), and Frozen. Metzger has also orchestrated and/or arranged over 70 films, including Frozen, Moana, How to Train Your Dragon (1 & 2), The Avengers, Kung Fu Panda (1 & 2), Tarzan, and, of course, August Rush. He also does a considerable amount of additional composition work on films. In addition to currently working on August Rush, Metzger is also arranging and orchestrating the songs for Frozen 2. Metzger lives in beautiful Oregon. davemetzgermusic.com
Scott Pask (scenic designer) has designed over 50 Broadway shows, receiving three Tony Awards for his designs of The Book of Mormon, The Coast of Utopia and The Pillowman. Selected: Tony nominations for The Band’s Visit, Mean Girls, Pippin, Pal Joey and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Waitress; Hair; Nine; Take Me Out; Urinetown; Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna. With John Doyle: Dead Poets Society; The Visit (Drama Desk nomination); Merrily We Roll Along; The Three Sisters; Ten Cents a Dance; The Exorcist; Peter Grimes.
Ann Hould-Ward (costume designer) Select Broadway: The Color Purple, The Visit, The People in the Picture; A Free Man of Color (Drama Desk Nomination), A Catered Affair (Drama Desk Nomination), Beauty and the Beast (Tony Award), Into the Woods (Tony/Drama Desk Nominations), Falsettos, Sunday in the… (Tony/Drama Desk Nominations); Saint Joan, Little Me. Off-Broadway: Fiddler… in Yiddish; Carmen Jones, Fire and Air, Pacific Overtures, Passion and Dead Poets Society (CSC); Notes from the Field (Second Stage); Russian Transport, The Blue Flower, Road Show, Lobster Alice, Cymbeline.
Paul Toben (lighting designer) Chicago: Electra (Court); Cry it Out (Northlight); The Mystery of Love and Sex, Witch (Writers); The Firebirds Take the Field (Rivendell). Broadway: The Story of My Life. Off-Broadway: Electra in a One Piece, The Realm (Wild Project). Regional: The Wolves (Studio); Noises Off (Guthrie); Angels in America, Evocation to Visible Appearance, Airness, The Roommate (Actors Theatre of Louisville); NSFW (Round House Theatre); The Book of Will (Denver Center); Fly by Night (Dallas Theater Center).
Dan Moses Schreier (sound designer) Broadway: The Iceman Cometh, Falsettos, American Psycho, The Visit, Gentleman’s Guide…, Sondheim on Sondheim, A Little Night Music, Gypsy (Patti Lupone), Radio Golf, John Doyle’s Sweeney Todd, Gem of the Ocean, Pacific Overtures, Assassins, Into the Woods, Topdog/Underdog, Dirty Blonde, Noise/Funk. He’s composed scores for Merchant of Venice (Al Pacino), Julius Caesar (Denzel Washington), The Tempest (Patrick Stewart). Recent Off-Broadway: Yiddish Fiddler…, Carmen Jones (CSC). Awards: 5 Tony nominations, 4 Drama Desk Awards. He’s a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony.
Joe Burke (projection designer) returns to Paramount Theatre where he last designed Elf The Musical. In 2018 he received the Joseph Jefferson Award for his projection design of Elf. Recent credits: 7 Soliloquies (Art on the Mart), The Total Bent (Haven Theatre), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Steppenwolf Theatre), Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theater Wit), Paddle to the Sea (Third Coast Percussion) and Mary Poppins The Musical (Children’s Theatre of Charlotte).
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 eight 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 three years in a row.
Today, the 1,855-seat Paramount Theatre remains nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, historic beauty and superb acoustics. More than 41,000 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 open for a full roster of classes, private lessons and camps in acting, music and dance to launch in June of 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.