AURORA, IL – Aurora’s Paramount Theatre – Chicago’s most decorated theater at the 2017 Jeff Awards, entering 2018 as the third largest musical theater in the nation – turns with the new year to one of the most well-known Broadway musicals of all time, the divinely decadent Cabaret.
Bold, brassy, dark and sensual, Cabaret was unlike anything audiences had ever seen when it debuted on Broadway in 1966. Set in 1930s Berlin as the Nazis begin their rise to power, Cabaret centers on the patrons and staff of an underground nightclub, the Kit Kat Klub, who are chasing their own dreams of what freedom means.
The world-famous Kander and Ebb score has some of the most seminal characters in all of musical theater essaying extraordinary songs including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen,” “Don’t Tell Mama” and “Maybe This Time.”
Add a spellbinding story that still rings true today, and Chicago audiences will feel the same when Cabaret hits the Paramount’s Art Deco stage. Making her Paramount directing debut is Katie Spelman, Jeff-nominated for her innovative choreography of Paramount’s Oklahoma!. Tom Vendafreddo, 2017 Jeff Award winner for Music Direction for Paramount’s Sweeney Todd, returns as Music Director/Conductor.
Cabaret begins previews February 7, 2018. Regular performances run through March 18: 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 $64.
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.
The Paramount is surrounded by affordable parking and a variety of restaurants for pre- or post-show dining. Cabaret is rated PG-13 for strong language, adult content and partial nudity.
Anything Goes: More about Cabaret
The sound of the orchestra tuning its instruments fills the air. The smell of liquor, tobacco and perfume permeates the club, causing a shiver of sinful delight. A man catches a dancer’s eye and wonders what she’s doing after the show. After all, life is a cabaret, and anything goes.
It’s early 1930s Berlin, and the world is changing. On the horizon is an ugly and dangerous threat, but that’s no concern for cabaret singer Sally Bowles, whose only goal in life is to have a good time. Sally soon finds herself living with Clifford Bradshaw, a struggling young writer visiting from America to work on a new novel. While their relationship moves beyond just being friends, around them the lives of citizens go from ordinary to a nightmare. Will Sally recognize her own selfishness? Or will she look to the ground as the Nazis steamroll over everything, and everyone, she holds dear?
Nominated for 26 Tony Awards over three decades and winning 12 including Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical, Cabaret is exactly what musical theater should be: entertaining, enlightening, provocative, edgy and a continuing reflection of our own lives. The book is by Joe Masteroff, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. Cabaret is based on the play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten, which was adapted from the novel The Berlin Stories (1939) by Christopher Isherwood. It debuted on Broadway in 1966. The 1972 major motion picture, directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minelli, Michael York and Joel Grey, won eight Academy Awards.
Behind the Scenes of Paramount’s Cabaret
Paramount’s Cabaret features Joseph Anthony Byrd, direct from Kinky Boots on Broadway, as the Emcee. Kelly Felthous, Jeff-nominated as Roxie Hart in Drury Lane’s Chicago, plays Sally Bowles. Garrett Lutz, last seen in Newsies at Marriott, is Paramount’s Clifford Bradshaw. Chicago musical theater legend Hollis Resnik is Fraulein Schneider. Ron E. Rains, who has played Bob Cratchit in the Goodman’s A Christmas Carol for the past ten years, plays Herr Schultz. Chicago actor, dancer, singer and cabaret artist Meghan Murphy is Fraulein Kost. Brandon Springman, recently seen as Pat in Drury Lane’s 42nd Street, plays Ernst Ludwig. All are making their Paramount Theatre debuts with Cabaret, except for Murphy, previously seen in Paramount’s Rent and The Who’s Tommy.
The ensemble is William Carlos Angulo, Kristian Brooks, Caron Buinis, Gilbert Domally, Patrick Du Laney, Carl Herzog, Erin Kilmurray, Amy Biddle Owens, Jessica Palkovic, Madison Piner, Cassandra Porter, Liam Quealy, Adrienne Storrs, Martin Ortiz Tapia, Aaron Umsted, Danny Dwaine Wells II and J Tyler Whitmer.
The Cabaret production teams also includes Scott Davis, scenic design; Mieka van der Ploeg, costume design; Yael Lubetzky, lighting design; Adam Rosenthal, sound design; Ethan Deppe, electronic music design; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup design; Amanda Relaford, properties design; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; Rachel Flesher, violence design; Trent Stork, casting director; Nora Mally, stage manager; H. Erin Quist, assistant stage manager; Michelle Rodriguez, assistant director; Kory Danielson, assistant music director and associate conductor; and William Carlos Angulo, associate choreographer.
Katie Spelman (director and choreographer) is thrilled to return to Paramount, where she has choreographed Oklahoma!, Rent, and In the Heights and performed in Joseph…, A Chorus Line, Hair and Grease. Other Chicago credits include Thaddeus and Slocum (Lookingglass), The Dead, Secret Garden (Court), Adding Machine, American Idiot, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, Into the Woods (The Hypocrites), as well as productions for TimeLine, Sideshow, The New Colony, Chicago Shakespeare, Northwestern University and The Inconvenience. East coast credits include Goodspeed, EST, Cherry Lane, and Asolo Repertory. Broadway associate: Once, American Psycho, and Amelie; Off-Broadway associate: NYTW, The Vineyard, and The Public. Spelman was also the Associate Director of Close to You in London (Chocolate Factory, West End) and is a proud graduate of Northwestern University.
Tom Vendafreddo is Music Director and Conductor of the 16-piece Paramount Orchestra. This is his 14th Paramount musical, preceded by 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.
More about Paramount’s 2017-18 season
Following Cabaret, Paramount’s 2017-18 Broadway Musical Series finale is the first Chicago-area regional staging of Once, the 2012 Broadway smash hit and winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Artistic Director Jim Corti will stage this modern-day musical about an Irish busker, his immigrant fan and their eventful week in Dublin as they write, rehearse and record songs from which their beautiful love story unfolds. Performances are April 25-June 3.
Paramount’s 2017-18 performance schedule also boasts performances by some of the biggest names in show business. Tickets are also on sale for Elvis Tribute Artist Spectacular: The Birthday Edition (January 11), Las Vegas’s #1 ventriloquist Terry Fator (January 20), 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 Scotty McCreery (March 25), Shen Yun 2018 (April 5-8), late night comedy legend Jay Leno (April 13), 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 tickets, subscriptions and more information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call
(630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.
About the Paramount Theatre
The Paramount Theatre (ParamountAurora.com), 23 E. Galena Blvd. in the heart of downtown Aurora, is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in the second largest city in Illinois. The 1,888-seat Paramount Theatre is nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, historic beauty and superb acoustics.
Designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp, the Paramount Theatre is graced with a beautiful Venetian decor with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence. The Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. It was the first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago, and presented “talking pictures,” vaudeville, concerts and circus performances for over 40 years.
In 1976, the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA) restored the Paramount to its original grandeur. The 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 the Paramount Theatre. Rater’s mission was to radically boost the theater’s programming and audience base by transforming the Paramount into one of Chicago’s top self-producing, professional Equity musical theaters. Rater hired award-winning Chicago director Jim Corti as the Paramount’s first-ever artistic director. In 2011, the Paramount introduced its inaugural four-play Broadway Musical Series with Corti’s critically acclaimed production of My Fair Lady.
In just six blockbuster seasons, Paramount has leaped 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, more than 35,000 subscribers from throughout the city and suburbs enjoy Paramount’s Broadway-quality productions at highly affordable prices, making the Paramount the third largest subscription house in the nation.
In addition to its blockbuster Broadway musical 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.
The Paramount Theatre is one of three live performance venues programmed and managed by the ACCA, which also oversees the Paramount’s “sister” stage, the intimate, 173-seat Copley Theatre located directly 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.
The 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.