Aurora, Ill. – Is success money? A powerful job? A happy marriage?
Join Paramount Theatre for its new, world premiere musical The Secret of My Success, a hilarious, heartfelt new romp about corporate culture, unbridled ambition, mistaken identity and making your own way in life. Based on the 1987 Universal Pictures hit movie starring Michael J. Fox, Paramount’s The Secret of My Success is a wildly funny new musical with quite a résumé, ready to launch February 12-March 29, 2020 at Paramount Theatre,
23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. Press opening is Friday, February 21 at 8 p.m.
What’s the secret behind Paramount’s The Secret of My Success? An A-list team of musical theater creators. The book is by Broadway veterans Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen. Greenberg also directs. Music and lyrics are by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler, the same duo behind such hit musicals as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?
Adapted from the classic ‘80s Michael J. Fox movie, The Secret of My Success is now being retold on the musical stage with big production numbers and a book that will have audiences laughing all the way home. The musical has been under development with Paramount for three years as part of Paramount’s New Works Initiative. Now, with its clever story, comedic staging and an outstanding score featuring catchy new songs, The Secret of My Success is ready to impress.
Be one of the first to see it. Previews of The Secret of My Success start February 12, 2020. Press opening is Friday, February 21 at 8 p.m. Performances run through March 29: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Exception: No 1:30 p.m. matinee Wednesday, February 12. Tickets are $36 to $74.
For tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Secret of My Success is suggested for ages 10 and up due to light sexual content and adult language.
For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, The Secret of My Success will be presented with live ASL interpretation on Friday, March 27 at 8 p.m. Patrons can purchase $30 tickets with special seating for this performance with the code ASLPARAMOUNT.
Behind the scenes: The Secret of My Success
Meet Brantley Foster, a young ambitious Midwesterner who moves to New York City to start his dream job at a major corporation, only to be laid off on the very first day. In his relentless enthusiasm to succeed, Brantley gets tangled up in a sidesplitting scheme in which he assumes the identity of rising executive Carlton Whitfield. As Brantley’s alter ego climbs the corporate ladder, tirelessly concealing his true identity, he falls in love with a beautiful colleague named Christy Lockhart and discovers his definition of success might be all wrong. Will he get the job? Win at love? Or just get caught?
The classic ‘80s Universal Pictures film about an ambitious college grad’s rise to the top, story by A.J. Carothers, starred a young Michael J. Fox at his finest and dominated the box office for five straight weeks.
“I remember as a kid the thing I really loved about the movie was how hyper theatrical it is, just one person trying to pretend to be two people at the same time in the same place made all sorts of great comedic opportunities for him to have to keep all the balls in the air,” said Steve Rosen, who co-wrote the book. “From a theatrical standpoint, there’s nothing more fun than watching somebody try to keep it all together when it could all just tumble in a moment.”
“We were given license by Universal Theatrical Group to watch the movie, absorb the core idea at the heart of it, and then move on and redevelop it, thinking of it in the now,” added co-writer and director Gordon Greenberg. “So that’s what we’ve done; we’ve envisioned a new narrative that essentially follows the classic story of a young man who comes to New York to make his fortune, gets tangled up in a scheme wherein he moves into an empty office and pretends to be someone else and ultimately learns a great lesson and redefines the whole reason he came to New York in the first place.”
Billy Harrigan Tighe makes his Paramount debut in the dual role originated by Fox, Brantley Foster/Carlton Whitfield. Tighe is a young Broadway talent and veteran of the national tours of Finding Neverland, The Book of Mormon, Wicked and Dirty Dancing.
Paramount’s principal cast also features (at press time) Jeremy Peter Johnson (Piers Johnson), Heidi Kettenring (Vera Prescott), Barbara Robertson (Joanne Foster), Gabriel Ruiz (Lester Mann), Sara Sevigny (Sylvia Plotkin) and Ian Michael Stuart (Garth Portnoy). Ensemble members are Dara Cameron, Vasily Deris, Veronica Garza, Carisa Gonzalez, Madison Kauffman, Jake Morrissy, Camille Robinson, Alexis J. Roston, Haley Jane Schafer, Jonathan Schwart, Charles Emery Ward and Travis Austin Wright.
Paramount presents the world premiere musical The Secret of My Success February 12-March 29, 2020 – pg 3 of 4
Paramount’s full production team includes Gordon Greenberg, book/director; Steve Rosen, book; Michael Mahler, music/lyrics, Alan Schmuckler, music/lyrics; Amber Mak, choreographer; Ian Weinberger, music supervisor; Tom Vendafreddo, music director/conductor; Jeff Kmiec, scenic designer; Mara Blumenfeld, costume designer; Greg Hofmann, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Mike Tutaj, projection designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Michael Cotey, assistant director; Charles Emery Ward, associate choreographer; Celia Villacres, associate music director/associate conductor; Amber Johnson, stage manager; and Kathleen Barrett, assistant stage manager.
Gordon Greenberg (book, director) directed the acclaimed West End revival of Guys and Dolls, starring Rebel Wilson, which received six Olivier Award nominations (Savoy Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, Chichester Festival), the Broadway stage adaptation of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (also co-writer, Roundabout, Universal, PBS Great Performances), Piaf/Dietrich (Mirvish, Toronto), Barnum (Menier Chocolate Factory), Heart of Rock and Roll (Old Globe), Ebenezer Scrooge… (also co-writer, Old Globe), Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors (also co-writer, Maltz Jupiter), Jacques Brel…(Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics noms), Working (Broadway Playhouse Chicago, 59 E 59, Drama Desk Award.) Regional: Williamstown, MUNY, Paper Mill, Huntington, Signature, Dallas Theatre Center. TV Writing: Disney Channel, Nickelodeon. Education: Stanford, NYU, RADA.
Steve Rosen (book) has previously collaborated with Gordon Greenberg to write Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors (Maltz Jupiter Theater) as well as Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG “your town here” Christmas Show (The Old Globe Theater and Bucks County Playhouse). Rosen also co-wrote (with David Rossmer) the book, music and lyrics for The Other Josh Cohen which recently completed an extended run Off-Broadway and was nominated for six Drama Desks and a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical. He and Rossmer are currently writing/ composing Broadway Vacation, a musical based on the Griswold characters from the classic Warner Brothers films.
Michael Mahler (music and lyrics) returns to Paramount after music directing/conducting The Music Man. He is the Jeff Award-winning composer/lyricist of Miracle, October Sky, Hero, The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes, Something in the Game, Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure and more. He previously collaborated with Alan Schmuckler on Diary of a Wimpy Kid and How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? He made his Broadway writing debut contributing additional lyrics to Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of Miss Saigon. Projects in development include Monster for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and Jonestown for Writers Theatre.
Alan Schmuckler (music and lyrics) collaborated with Michael Mahler on music and lyrics for the stage musicals Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Kevin McCollum, Disney Theatricals), book/music/lyrics for How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, theaters, schools nationwide) and as co-creator/screenplay/music/ lyrics for the musical television pilot Boyfred (Shoe Money Productions, Sony, ABC). Other credits include music/lyrics/ score/music production, Kidding television series (Showtime); producer/arranger, music series “R&H Goes Pop!” (Concord Music); music/lyrics, stage musicals Wait Wait Don’t Kill Me (Flea Theater; Wondery Media as musical podcast), Days Like Today (Writers Theatre), The Emperor’s New Clothes (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, others; published, R&H); music/additional lyrics, We Three Lizas (About Face Theatre, others); and co-creator/music/lyrics/ music production, My Little Red/Green Coat online interactive musical. Awards include the Kleban Prize; Webby Award, Best Sound Design/Best Original Music; and the Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Up next in Paramount’s 2019-20 Broadway Series
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 three consecutive seasons.
Following The Secret of My Success, Paramount’s Broadway Series finale is the Midwest regional premiere of the high kicking musical Kinky Boots, book by Harvey Fierstein, lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, directed by Paramount’s Trent Stork, April 29-June 14, 2020.
Paramount’s Broadway Series is sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Dunham Fund, ComEd and the City of Aurora. The Secret of My Success is sponsored by Rush-Copley Medical Center.
About Paramount Theatre
Paramount Theatre, 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 and 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 has provided Aurora and all of Chicagoland 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. His mission was to boost the theater’s programming and audience by transforming Paramount into one of Chicago’s top self-producing, professional Equity 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 1,843-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, soon-to-be-renovated 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 celebrated the grand opening of the new Paramount School of the Arts on June 1, 2019. Paramount’s new school, which anchors the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center directly adjacent to the theater, is encouraging and training young actors, dancers and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurturing the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and adding to the excitement and cultural and economic activity in downtown Aurora. Courses for children as young as six months are offered with opportunities for adults and seniors. Registration is now open for a full roster of classes, private lessons and camps in acting, music and dance. For more, visit ParamountSchool.com.
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.