Editor's note: The Daily Herald asked Tim Rater, president and CEO of the Paramount Theatre, to give us a glimpse of the summer entertainment at the Aurora theater. Here's what he had to say about the upcoming concerts and musicals.
By Tim Rater
If you goWhat: Paramount Theatre
Where: 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora
Upcoming shows: Happy Together Tour; Matty B.; Donny and Marie; Cats
Info: (630) 896-6666 or paramountaurora.com
Three years ago, we announced the Paramount Theatre would no longer present touring musicals. Instead, we wanted to produce our own Broadway musical subscription series and tap Chicago's mother lode of top-quality professional theater talent to create amazing musical productions from scratch, perfectly suited for our grand, 1,888-seat Art Deco theater.
Suffice it to say, there were a lot of skeptics, particularly from neighboring communities. Mostly I recall the comments section in the online news reports announcing our ambitious undertaking. They more or less boiled down to "who would ever think of going to downtown Aurora to see a musical?"
Happily, it's three years later, and we're proving the skeptics wrong. Today, we have more than 20,000 Broadway series subscribers (the majority from outside of Aurora, I might add) who already have signed up to take advantage of our promise of four downtown-quality musical productions in 2014-15, coupled with a Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free offer, all for as little as $82.
In addition, we're bringing in the biggest stars, best comedians, top music acts and fantastic family shows in 2014-15, all at an affordable price, right in our audience's backyard. Best of all, our patrons love that they don't have any of the expense or hassle of traveling downtown to see these nationally known acts and arguably the best musical theater series in the Chicago area.
In fact, between our Broadway series and our presented shows, we'll have nearly 300 performances and more than 300,000 patrons pass through our doors next season. That's the largest annual attendance in Paramount's 83-year history.
If you haven't checked out the Paramount lately, we encourage you to see what the buzz is about. Here are just a few of our hottest tickets this summer, and please check our website, ParamountAurora.com, or call (630) 896-6666 to learn more about our lineup through spring 2015.
• Season Kick Off Party, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22. Paramount's biggest season ever opens with a party. A $10 ticket includes samples of cuisine from area restaurants. The evening features a silent auction with prizes including several behind-the-scene packages.
• Happy Together Tour, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22. This year's 30th anniversary tour includes Flo and Eddie singing Turtles classics and Three Dog Night's Chuck Negron belting out "Joy to the World." Mark Farner will be "Your Captain" through the Grand Funk Railroad set, and Gary Lewis and The Playboys will be sure to perform "Diamond Ring." Topping off the rock 'n' roll show, Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels will crank "Devil with the Blue Dress."
• Matty B, 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23. The 11-year-old rapper was named to Billboard's 2013 "21 Under 21," which lists music's hottest minors. His G-rated, family friendly lyrics have earned him 4.8 million followers on Facebook and Twitter; 900 million video views; 2.4 million YouTube subscribers and numerous sold out concerts.
• Donny and Marie, Aug. 27-31. Now is your chance to see Donny and Marie Osmond live, where you're never farther than 102 feet from the superstars. From their chart-topping hits including "Puppy Love," "Paper Roses" and "Leavin' It Up to You," to their sizzling choreography, to the gleaming costumes and their warm and playful personalities, this is the full-on Vegas production.
• Cats, Sept. 10 to Oct. 12: Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score, Cats is one of the most popular and beloved theatrical productions on the planet. This dance-driven extravaganza is filled with unforgettable music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lush orchestrations and heart-pounding numbers including the showstopping "Memory." The costumes and makeup promise to be some of the most complex and beautiful in Paramount's Broadway history.