The Paramount Theatre was recently honored with 14 2015-16 Equity Jeff Award nominations for its Broadway musical series. This was more than Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Committee awarded to any other Chicago theater. As I watched the amazing Mamma Mia! cast perform during opening night, I hoped everyone in the audience appreciated what a treasure the Paramount Theatre has become.
I can’t imagine that when the original committee started meeting they said, “Hey, let’s go out and create a place people will drive from the city to see a show.” Yet, that’s just what happened. We were standing in the lobby before the show listening to everyone around us talk. (Yes, we were eavesdropping in the lobby. Doesn’t everyone?) The couple behind us talked about meeting friends from Naperville at the show. They bought a subscription series to they could plan regular couples outings. No matter how much you want to see your friends, you’re not going to commit to a subscription series unless the shows are worth seeing.
Mamma Mia! certainly made their subscription tickets seem like a great investment. From the first song to the finale, the show was sharp, witty and fun. There were moments when you looked around the theatre to see the audience dancing in their seats and silently singing along. Our teen daughter was shocked that I knew so many songs. Many of ABBA’s songs were part of her music and dance classes. For some reason she didn’t realize that her mother actually knew cool songs like the ABBA catalogue.
When I received the invitation, our eldest daughter begged to be my date. She loved the story about a girl getting married. She wanted to see the big wedding scene. From the moment Kiersten Frumkin walked on the stage as Sophie, our daughter was hooked. Sophie was just as strong-willed and free-spirited as our daughter wants to be when she grows up. She laughed with Sophie battled with her mom (Amy Montgomery as Donna), our girl looked at me with a smirk. It was confirmation that all mothers and daughters butt heads once in a while.
There was so much great music in Mamma Mia! that my favorite song was probably an unusual choice. “Does Your Mother Know” was a laugh-out-loud funny ensemble piece with Tanya (Jennifer Knox) trying to resist an island distraction with Pepper (Aaron Patrick Craven). Really, who could resist such eye-candy on a romantic Greek island?
Just after the wedding took place, our daughter was ready to go. She was ready to head up the aisle as soon as the actors took their final bows. When the actors came back on stage in breathtaking full white and silver costumes, the audience went wild. She leaned over and said, “Don’t think about getting up to dance.” Seriously, what mother of a teen could resist such a moment? I immediately stood up to sing and dance with the audience. She eventually stood up to dance too. It was a fabulous moment in mother/daughter bonding, just like the end of Mamma Mia!
Be sure to make plans to see Mamma Mia! with your family and friends. It’s a show that will leave you dancing in the aisles and singing out loud. The show runs through October 30. For subscriptions, single tickets or more information, go to ParamountAurora.com, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of The Paramount Theatre, (front row, from left) Kiersten Frumkin plays Sophie, Ryan McBride is Sky, Amy Montgomery is Donna and Jeff Diebold plays Sam in Paramount Theatre’s Mamma Mia! Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti directs, William Carlos Angulo is choreographer and Tom Vendafreddo is music director and conductor. Performances are September 11-October 30, 2016 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora, IL. Tickets and information: ParamountAurora.com or (630) 896-6666 Photo credit: Liz Lauren
Disclosure: I did receive media passes to attend opening night. My words and opinions are my own.
Category: Shari's Corner