Take 5: Joel Friend, Paramount Theater

In this edition of Take Five, we’re joined by Joel Friend of the Paramount Theater in Aurora, Illinois, a beautiful 1,900-seat venue located in the western suburbs of Chicago.

The Paramount Theater will be celebrating its 90th anniversary in September 2021. Located right in downtown Aurora, when the theater was built, there were all kinds of shows, vaudeville acts and a few operas that were performed. For the past 10 years, it has been a showcase for some of the biggest and best Broadway has to offer.

Blockbuster Musical Kinky Boots Kicks off Paramount’s Return to Live Entertainment with First Preview on August 18, 2021; this will be the first performance at the theater since March 12, 2020. Joel explains the comeback: “And for those of you at home, it’s been 524 days without a performance on our stage. So to say we’re excited to start doing what we do best again is an understatement. “

Currently, for every performance of Kinky Boots, the Paramount Theater requires proof of vaccination. This can be your original card that you receive when you get your first and / or second dose, a photo of the card on your phone, or you can just make a Xerox copy of that card. They also ask you to show photo ID. Masks are now mandatory. Actors, musicians, ushers, administrative staff and ticket office staff have all been vaccinated.

The upcoming season of Paramount Theater has a lot in store. With Kinky Boots until October 17the, the team takes off about two or three weeks and the next Broadway show to be on stage is Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella, the great family musical on Broadway. It will last during the holidays. At the end of January 2022, they will be showing the musical version of the beloved movie Groundhog Day, which Joel says: “… was never made in the Chicagoland area. So we’re very, very excited about it. It’s a fabulous show, he has a lot of heart. Lots of funny moments. And if you love the movie, you have no choice but to love the musical. The show will run through March 2022, followed by Rock of Ages.

In addition to all of these Broadway shows, Paramount Theater offers other special entertainment. Jay Leno will be on a one-night-only show in March, with a really good Queen tribute cover band called Killer Queen. Comedian Frank Caliendo is also arriving. Joel describes these events as “… really something for everyone, as they are waiting to regain a sense of normalcy. We certainly have something for them here at Paramount.

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