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Neighbors of Kane County

Paramount Theatre Struts its stuff again with first local production of KINKY BOOTS

Nearly 16 months after dimming its famous marquee due to COVID-19, Aurora’s Paramount Theatre has opened its 10th Anniversary Broadway Series season with Kinky Boots, marking a pivotal moment for the second largest subscription house in the nation as it returns to live performances.

Kinky Boots – the flashy, sassy, sexy story of big heels invading a small town – shook Broadway and was adored by critics and audiences, winning every major Best Musical Award including the Tony, the Grammy and London’s Olivier Award. The now mega-popular musical features high-kicking music and lyrics by Grammy-winner Cyndi Lauper, and a book rooted in fun, love and acceptance by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein.

Meet Charlie, a reluctant shoemaker, and Lola, a fierce drag queen. Charlie and Lola could not be more different. But when they find common ground in shoes, they see a whole new world of possibilities that will turn their small town upside down, and just might save Charlie’s failing shoe factory. Inspired by true events, this huge-hearted hit tells the story of two people with nothing in common – or so they think. From its glorious costumes, to its dizzyingly tall heels and songs that will leave audiences humming for days, no show captures what it means to do what you love and love what you do more than Kinky Boots

 “Kinky Boots is the perfect show to reopen our doors,” said Director Trent Stork. “Kinky Boots has moments that feel like a rock show and tender-hearted moments that make you lean in. It expands from killer dance numbers to a book that is as humorous as it is heartening. It’s a show that makes audiences want to connect with their fellow humans.”

Kinky Boots opened August 18 and runs thru October 17, 2021. Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. Single tickets, $36-$74, are on sale now. For tickets and information, visit ParamountAurora.com, or call the box office, (630) 896-6666, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Land of Lola”: Behind the scenes of Chicago’s first regional production of Kinky Boots

Paramount’s 33-member Kinky Boots cast starts with one of Chicago’s most distinguished leading men, Devin DeSantis, as Charlie the shoemaker. DeSantis’s Paramount credits include Tommy in The Who’s Tommy, Corny Collins in Hairspray and Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

Lola is played by Michael Wordly in his Paramount debut. Wordly is a veteran of Spamilton Off-Broadway, national tours of Miss Saigon, The Color Purple and The Little Mermaid, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Paper Mill Playhouse.

The principal cast also features Mark Lancaster as Don. Lancaster has performed for Goodman Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Oak Park Festival Theatre and Babes With Blades. Emilie Lynn will play Nicola. Lynn recently starred as Mary Poppins at Drury Lane Oakbrook. Her Paramount credits include My Fair Lady, Miss Saigon and Hair. Lauren is played by Sara Reinecke, a stand out performer in many Paramount musicals including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Producers, Legally Blonde and Mamma Mia! Young actor Daniel Font-Wilets plays Young Lola. Patrick Scott McDermott and Nolan Maddox will alternate as Young Charlie.

Completing the cast are ensemble members Terrell Armstrong, Anthony Avino, Brian Bandura, Matthew Bettencourt, Lydia Burke, Jack Cahill-Lemme, Barry DeBois, Vasily Deris, Neil Friedman, Carisa Gonzalez, Christina Hall, Luke Halpern, Immanuel Houston, Dakota Hughes, De’Jah Jervai, Mark David Kaplan, Christopher John Kelley, Bernell Lassai III, Ken Singleton, Anthony Sullivan Jr., Dana Tretta, Shelbi Voss, J Tyler Whitmer and Missy Wise.

The full production team is Trent Stork, director; Michael George and Isaiah Silvia-Chandley, co-choreographers; Kory Danielson, music director, conductor and music supervisor; Kevin Depinet and Christopher Rhoton, co-scenic designers; Ryan Park, costume designer; Greg Hofmann, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Joe Burke, projection designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Catherine Miller, dramaturg and gender consultant; Susan Gosdick, dialect coach; John A. Tovar, fight director; Gaby Labotka, intimacy director; Max J. Cervantes, associate director; Darren Patin, associate director; TJ Tapp, assistant choreographer; Celia Villacres, associate music director/associate conductor; Jinni Pike, stage manager; Luci Kersting, assistant stage manager; Natalie Cohen; production assistant; and Bailey O’Neill, young performer supervisor.

Trent Stork (director), promoted in spring 2021 to Associate Artistic Producer and Casting Director at Paramount, has worked on the directing team for 19 productions at the theater, 13 of those alongside Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti. In 2018, Stork made his Paramount directorial debut at the helm of Legally Blonde (Broadwayworld.com Award – Best Direction of a Musical.) Outside of Paramount, Stork has worked at the Kaufman Center in New York City, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Angels Theatre Company and The Nebraska Repertory Theatre among others. They also started his own casting company, Trent Stork Casting, and was the Chicago casting director for the new West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg.


The original Broadway production of Kinky Boots, music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein, was directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, The musical is based on the Miramax motion picture Kinky Boots written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth.

Paramount Covid 19 protocols


Paramount Theatre is adhering to all COVID-19 safety guidelines as mandated by the state of Illinois. Paramount anticipates updated guidelines by the state for indoor theater gatherings, and will communicate any updates and changes to policies with all ticket buyers. Phase 5 gatherings require COVID-19 vaccinations for attendees, patrons are required to show proof of vaccination to attend this performance. By purchasing tickets patrons are agreeing to adhere to the guidelines put in place at the time of their performance.


What’s next in Paramount’s 10th Anniversary Broadway Series?Cinderella, the classic musical from the genius minds of Rodgers and Hammerstein, is an enchanting story that will make entire families wish fairy godmothers and glass slippers weren’t just for fairy tales. Paramount is planning a mesmerizing new production that gives parents and children a familiar yet reimagined take on the story families have returned to over and over across generations. Brenda Didier, a multiple Jeff Award-winning director and choreographer, including a win for her choreography for Paramount’s 2019 staging of The Producers, will direct. Previews start November 10. Opening Night is Friday, November 19, at 8 p.m. Performances run through January 9, 2022.

Groundhog Day, based on the classic Bill Murray film comedy, will be the second Midwest regional premiere produced by Paramount Theatre in the span of one year. Imagine being stuck in a time loop, waking up and realizing you’re living the same day over and over and over and over again. Set your alarm to make sure you see this uproariously funny, surprisingly touching and simply inspirational musical comedy, nominated for seven Tony Awards. Paramount Theatre Artistic Director Jim Corti will direct. Previews start January 26, 2022. Opening Night is Friday, February 4, at 8 p.m. Performances run through March 13.


Are you ready to rock? Rock of Ages will take audiences back into the iconic music era of the ‘80s, where rock ‘n’ roll dreamers turn their fantasies into reality. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Rock of Ages is a Hollywood love story told through the mind-blowing hits of top ‘80s rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Poison and more. Paramount Theatre Artistic Producer and New Works Director Amber Mak will direct. Previews start April 13. Press opening is Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m. Performances run through May 29, 2022.


Join the growing ranks of more than 41,000 Broadway Series subscribers at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. New three--play subscriptions including Cinderella, Groundhog Day and Rock of Ages are on sale now, ranging from $54 to $118.50 (without fees). To subscribe or purchase single tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.


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. Designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp, Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. Today, Paramount remains downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction, a beautiful, 1,843-seat theater graced with a 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur.

Since Paramount Theatre 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 signed up from all over Chicagoland and the Midwest in 2019-20 to enjoy Paramount’s affordable, critically acclaimed, Broadway-quality productions. In addition to its Broadway Series, Paramount presents an array of internationally known comedians, music stars, dance events and family shows.

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.

Paramount is one of five live venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also oversees the newly-renovated, 165-seat Copley Theatre, right across the street from Paramount; RiverEdge Park, the city’s outdoor concert venue; Stolp Island Theatre, slated to open in summer 2022 as a 99-seat immersive theater space, and the new Paramount School of the Arts.