Aurora’s Paramount Theatre just earned 13 nominations for the 2020 Equity Jeff Awards, celebrating excellence in Equity theater productions during Chicago’s abbreviated 2019-20 theater season.
Paramount’s blockbuster production of Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast" took home six nominations, the most for any Paramount production, including Best Musical-Large, a news release stated.
Paramount’s world-premiere musical "The Secret of My Success" earned four nominations, including Best New Work.
"Newsies" captured three nominations, marking a nominations sweep for all three Paramount productions during the shortened season.
Here's the full list of Paramount’s Jeff Award nominations for outstanding performance, direction and design in Chicago theater last season:
Disney’s "Beauty and the Beast" – 6 nominations
Production – Musical or Revue – Large
Performer in a Principal Role – Musical – Beth Stafford Laird (Belle)
Performer in a Supporting Role – Musical – Jackson Evans (Lumiere)
Scenic Design – Jeffrey D. Kmiec
Costume Design – Large – Theresa Ham
Lighting Design – Large – Jesse Klug
"The Secret of My Success" – 4 nominations
New Work – Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler
Performer in a Principal Role – Billy Harrigan Tighe – Musical (Brantley Foster)
Performer in a Supporting Role – Musical – Heidi Kettenring (Vera Prescott)
Projection Design – Mike Tutaj
"Newsies" – 3 nominations
Performer in a Principal Role – Musical – Alex Prakken (Jack Kelly)
Scenic Design – Large – William Boles
Choreography – Joshua Blake Carter
"Thank you to the Jeff Committee for this year's award nominations," said Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti. "This annual celebration brings us all together like one big family reunion, and the hugs and handshakes will be missed. I'll also miss the live in-person roaring and cheering in recognition of all the deserving recipients.
“The list of nominees represents the vast array of work in scale and substance unique to Chicago,” added Corti, who directed Paramount’s Jeff-nominated 2019 season opener, "Newsies." “Whether given a nod this year or not, know how much doing what you love adds to the excitement of Chicago theatre-going and how proud we are at Paramount in the city of Aurora to be a part of it. Holding you close, all of our enthusiastic and supportive patrons, Paramount's creative contributors and collaborators from actors to musicians, designers and production crews, this is a moment to acknowledge you and thank you for your excellence and achievement."
“Beauty and the Beast" was a labor of love and unbelievable collaboration amongst not just brilliant designers and company members but builders, crew, musicians and staff that truly made it an incredibly memorable experience for our Paramount audience and for me, personally, said Amber Mak, the show's director and New Works Development Director at Paramount.
“It is always an honor to be able to not just create a magical show but to reimagine a beloved story that we tell with heart first and that hopefully leaves a mark on an audience for many years,” Mak said.
“Making 'The Secret of My Success' at Paramount with their gifted and generous staff – and the extraordinary cast, crew and creative team – was one of the best theatrical experiences of my life,” said Gordon Greenberg, director. “Michael, Alan, Steve and I are so grateful for the opportunity to create a brand new musical with a profoundly talented, kind-hearted and joyous company. Their passion and professionalism were matched only by the smart and buoyant audiences we played for in Aurora. Here’s to more 'Success' on the other side of the pandemic – and to more and more new work at the Paramount.”
Since becoming Jeff-eligible only five seasons ago, Paramount Theater had previously garnered a total of 71 nominations and 20 wins.
Visit jeffawards.org to see this year’s full list of nominees and to watch who wins at the 2020 online Jeff Awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9.
Paramount’s 2019-20 Broadway Series was sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, Dunham Fund, ComEd and city of Aurora.
Paramount’s Broadway Series: What’s Next
Paramount Theatre plans to resume its Broadway Series in June 2021 with its planned Chicago regional premiere production of "Kinky Boots" (June 30 to Aug. 25, 2021). It will be followed by Paramount’s 10th season lineup: "Rock of Ages" (Sept. 1 to Oct. 17, 2021),
"Cinderella" (Nov. 10, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022), "Groundhog Day" (Jan. 26 to March 13, 2022) and "Ragtime" (April 13 to May 29, 2022).
Paramount still offers the same “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription offer as it did when it launched its first Broadway Series in 2011. Packages start as low as $72.
To subscribe or for more information, visit paramountaurora.com, call the Paramount Theatre box office at 630-896-6666 Monday through Thursday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Paramount Theatre
Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora, is the center for performing arts and education in the second largest city in Illinois.
Since Paramount Theatre first launched its own Broadway Series in 2011, it has grown to be the second largest subscription house in the U.S. More than 41,000 subscribers come from all over Chicago and the Midwest to enjoy Paramount’s critically acclaimed productions.
In addition to its Broadway Series, Paramount normally presents an array of internationally known comedians, music stars, dance events and family shows. Community members also enjoy Paramount’s Classic Movie Monday series for just $1.
Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries. Paramount is one of three live venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also oversees the newly renovated, 173-seat Copley Theatre across the street from Paramount; RiverEdge Park, the city’s outdoor concert venue along the Fox River; and the new Paramount School of the Arts.