In this edition of Take Five we are joined by Joel Friend from the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Illinois, a lovely 1900 seat venue located in the western suburbs of Chicago.

The Paramount Theater is going to be celebrating its 90th birthday in September 2021. Located right in downtown Aurora, when the theater was built, they had all sorts of shows, vaudeville acts and a couple of operas that were performed. Over the last 10 years, it’s been the showcase to some of the biggest and best that Broadway has to offer.

The hit musical Kinky Boots kicks off Paramount’s return to live entertainment with it’s first preview performance on August 18, 2021; it will be the first performance in the theater since March 12,2020. Joel explains the return to the stage, “And for those of you at home, that’s 524 days without a performance on our stage. So to say that we are excited to be back at doing what we do best is an understatement.”

Right now, for every single performance of Kinky Boots, Paramount Theater requires proof of vaccination. That can be your original card that you receive when you receive your first and or second dose, a picture of the card on your phone, or you can just go ahead and make a Xerox copy of that card. They also are asking that you show a photo ID. Masks are now mandatory. The cast, the musicians, the ushers, the administrative staff, and the box office staff have all been vaccinated.

The Paramount Theater upcoming season has lots in store. With Kinky Boots running through October 17th, the crew takes off about two or three weeks and the next Broadway show that’ll be on stage is Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella, the great family friendly Broadway musical. That will run through the holidays. At the end of January of 2022, they’re going to be showing the musical version of the beloved film Groundhog Day, which Joel says, “…has never been done in the Chicagoland area. So we are very, very excited about it. It’s a fabulous show, it has a lot of heart to it. A lot of funny moments. And if you enjoy the film, you have no choice but to love the musical.” The show will run through March of 2022, followed by Rock of Ages.

In addition to all of those Broadway shows, Paramount Theater has other entertainment specials. Jay Leno is in for a one night only show in March, along with a really great cover band tribute artists for Queen called Killer Queen. The comedian Frank Caliendo is coming as well. Joel describes these events as, “…really something for everybody, as they’re waiting to get back into a sense of normalcy. We definitely have something for them here at Paramount.”