Wednesday, July 20, 2022


ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Paramount Theatre is launching its 11th Broadway Series with 


August 31-October 16, 2022  

Note: Dreamgirls is suggested for ages 10 and up due to adult language and relationship content.

Paramount Theatre wants all of Chicago to meet Effie, Lorrell and Deena, three talented young Black singers in the turbulent 1960s whose rise to the top will test their friendships to the very limit. 

Paramount Theatre’s Dreamgirls features (bottom, from left) Taylor Marie Daniel as Deena, Mariah Lyttle as Lorrell and Breyannah Tillman as Effie, with Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Curtis Taylor, Jr. and Ben Toomer as Jimmy “Thunder” Early. 

That’s right, we’re talking about Dreamgirls, the Tony-winning musical inspired by The Supremes that spawned an Oscar-winning movie. And where better to see a full-blown production of this seminal musical than at Aurora’s beautiful Paramount Theatre, launching its 11th Broadway Series with Dreamgirls, August 31-October 16, 2022. 

Travel back with Paramount to the 1960s. The Motown sound is on the rise, and the Dreamettes are three young women trying to break their way onto the music scene. When car salesman Curtis Taylor, Jr. signs the trio to a record label, he sets in motion a series of events that will forever change their lives, for better and for worse. Join the Dreamgirls as they navigate the highs and lows of life, love and fame. And remember, all you gotta do is dream.

Christopher D. Betts will direct, and Dreamgirls marks his hometown debut. A Chicago native, Betts is a New York-based director, writer, producer, and NYU professor, who recently completed his MFA in Directing at Yale School of Drama. 

Previews start August 31. Opening Night is Friday, September 9, at 8 p.m. Performances run through October 16, 2022: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and

7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (exception: No 1:30 p.m. matinee on Wednesday, August 31).

Four-play 2022-23 subscriptions including Dreamgirls and three more amazing musicals - The Sound of Music, Into the Woods and School of Rock - for new subscribers are on sale now, starting at just $56. Single tickets to Dreamgirls are $28 to $79 and go on sale Monday, July 25, at 10 a.m. 

Paramount Theatre is located at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Dreaming Big: Behind the scenes of Paramount’s 2022-23 opener

“I am thrilled to be returning to the Chicagoland area to direct Dreamgirls at Paramount. As a Chicago native, it is a dream come true to reintroduce myself to my community as a director — with my favorite musical — after matriculating from NYU Tisch and The Yale School of Drama,” said director Christopher D. Betts.

“The American Theatre is undergoing a crucial social justice reckoning, and our industry is beginning to bend toward the inclusion of people who belong to the communities represented onstage as leaders of the theatrical process. I am an example of this. Dreamgirls represents a similar moment in history when Black artists were beginning to have a fighting chance at impacting the music industry. I am committed to being reverent to this historic and iconic moment in Black History. I hope this production will not only affirm that our dreams are valid but inspire a new dream for the future.”

Paramount’s Dreamgirls are Taylor Marie Daniel as Deena, Mariah Lyttle as Lorrell and Breyannah Tillman as Effie, with Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Curtis Taylor, Jr. and Ben Toomer as Jimmy “Thunder” Early. Naima Alakham, Daryn Alexus, Averis I. Anderson, Christian Denzel Bufford, Shantel Cribbs, Raven Monique Dockery, Gilbert Domally, Joshua L. Green, Evan Tyrone Martin, Dwayne P. Mitchell, Austin Nelson Jr., Juwon Tyrel Perry, Wildlin Pierrevil, Maurice Rex Randle, Nissi Shalome, Aalon Smith, Shelbi Voss, Aeriel Williams and Eustace J. Williams are the Dreamgirls ensemble.

The production team is Christopher D. Betts, director; Amy Hall Garner, choreographer; Christie Chiles Twillie, music director and conductor; Jeffrey D. Kmiec, scenic designer; Samantha C. Jones, costume designer; José Santiago, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Mike Tutaj, projection designer; Reuben Echoles, wig, hair and makeup designer and associate casting director; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Quenna Lené Barrett, assistant director; Mya King, assistant choreographer; Kailey Rockwell, associate music director and associate conductor; Jessica Forella, stage manager; and Jaci Entwisle, assistant stage manager. 

The original Broadway production of Dreamgirls opened at New York’s Imperial Theatre on December 20, 1981. The musical played 10 previews and 1,521 performances before closing August 11,1985, earning 13 Tony nominations and winning six. Henry Krieger’s music and Tom Eyen’s book and lyrics and book are unstoppably excellent. The original Broadway production was directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett. Orchestrations are by Harold Wheeler.

The musical spawned the 2006 DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures film of the same name, written and directed by Bill Condon, featured stars like Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, and famously earned an Oscar for Chicago’s own Jennifer Hudson for her supporting role as Effie. 

Director biography

Christopher D. Betts, a native of Chicago, considers reintroducing himself to the Chicagoland area as the director of Dreamgirls at Paramount a dream come true. Upcoming: The Color Purple (North Carolina Theatre) and Trouble in Mind (Hartford Stage). Betts recently directed Choir Boy (Yale Rep), Legally Blonde (NYU Tisch), In the Southern Breeze (Off-Broadway) and Dutch Kings (Off-Off-Broadway). At Yale Cabaret, he directed Is God Is, We Are Proud to Present…, Fireflies, littleboy/littleman, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play; and How Black Girls Get Over Fuckbois, Vol. 1 and The Winter’s Tale at Yale School of Drama. Betts is also the creator, writer, director, and executive producer of MAJOR, a film executive produced by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Other collaborations include Spring Awakening (NYU Tisch); Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors (PopArt Johannesburg/Market Theatre Lab); The Cave: A Folk Opera (New York premiere); Carrie (2015 Broadway World Best Musical nomination); a series of new works with the OBIE Award-winning Fire This Time Festival; workshops of Goodnight Tyler (Kennedy Center/Alliance Theatre) and Refuge of the Damned (Long Wharf); and Barbecue (movement director, The Public Theater). Betts is a recipient of the Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship, the Richie Jackson Artist Fellowship, and a two-time recipient of the SDCF Observership. He has been an artist in residence at Kampala International Theater Festival and PopArt Johannesburg and a teaching artist at The Market Theatre Lab. Betts is currently a professor in the Department of Undergraduate Drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, New Studio on Broadway, and a support team member at artEquity, and The Joyce C. Willis Fellow at Hartford Stage. He received his B.F.A. with triple honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (Bachelor’s Representative) and M.F.A. in Directing from Yale School of Drama.

Special Events

Pay What You Can Performances

Thursday, September 1, 7 p.m.

Saturday, September 3, 3 p.m.

Paramount is offering two Pay What You Can performances of Dreamgirls. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount Theatre box office in-person to request tickets. Limit four per person. See for details. 

Divine Nine Night at Dreamgirls Saturday September 10, 8 p.m.

Midwest chapters of the “Divine Nine” Black sororities and fraternities will join together for a special night at Paramount’s Dreamgirls, furthering the council’s mission to educate and uplift the Black community from racial inequities.

Civic Organization Night at Dreamgirls Saturday, September 17, 8 p.m.

Local civic organizations, community and political leaders and black owned businesses are invited to this special night at Paramount’s Dreamgirls to celebrate the community-building power of live theater.

Church Night at Dreamgirls Sunday, September 18, 5:30 p.m.

Chicago-area congregations are invited to praise the power of faith, perseverance, gospel music and the sounds of Motown at Church Night at Dreamgirls. 

To learn more, get involved or for information on how to get discounted group tickets to any Dreamgirls special event, contact Melissa Striedl, or (630) 723-2461.

Access Services

Paramount offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device.

If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or in advance.

Paramount will offer an American Sign Language interpreted performance on Friday, October 14, at 8 p.m.

An open and closed captioned performance is TBA.

Paramount Theatre’s Covid-19 commitment to and safety and protocol

Paramount Theatre has followed, and will continue to follow, the requirements of the State of Illinois and the Kane County Health Department. Therefore, Paramount is following the guidance of the State of Illinois and recommends, but no longer requires, masks, proof of vaccination or negative COVID test for patrons. Mask wearing is strongly encouraged, but will be optional. For complete details, please read Paramount’s full Covid Policy. 

What’s next in Paramount’s 11th Anniversary Broadway Series?

Set in Austria 1938 on the brink of World War II, The Sound of Music is the unforgettable Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical about Maria, a young woman who takes a job as governess of the von Trapp Family while deciding whether to become a nun. After falling in love with the children, and eventually, Captain von Trapp, a clever ruse leads to the family’s daring escape from the Nazis through the Austrian Alps. Paramount’s Amber Mak directs. Performances are November 9, 2022-January 8, 2023. Opening Night is Friday, November 18, at 8 p.m.

Into the Woods, a seminal work by the late Stephen Sondheim, reimagines Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Cinderella and other Brothers Grimm characters in one of the most astounding and original fairytale retellings the stage has ever seen. Paramount Artistic Director Jim Corti and Associate Artistic Producer Trent Stork co-direct Paramount’s journey Into the Woods. Performances are February 1-March 19, 2023. Opening Night is Friday, February 10, at 8 p.m.

Now we’re rocking, because Paramount Theatre’s 11th season finale is School of Rock, the fun-loving musical based on the popular Jack Black movie, from the genius mind of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Trent Stork directs. Performances are April 12- May 28, 2023. Opening Night is Friday, April 21, at 8 p.m.

Just as it has since it launched its first Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount still offers the same “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription offer. Broadway Series packages start as low as $56. In fact, Paramount subscribers pay no more than $39.50 per show, and that’s the most expensive ticket. Fees not included.

Join the growing ranks of more than 33,000 Broadway Series subscribers at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. To subscribe, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

Also coming this fall as part of Paramount’s new BOLD Series:

BULL: a love story 

Nancy García Loza

Paramount closes its inaugural BOLD Series with the world premiere of BULL: a love story, written by Nancy García Loza, directed by Laura Alcalá Baker. 

Bull dealt drugs, got caught, and served his time. For a decade, he’s thought about one thing: coming home. On the day Bull is released from prison, he returns to his old Chicago neighborhood, Lakeview, now unrecognizable. Hopeful and eager, he is ready to resume life with his family, only to discover how much has moved on without him. His dream now within grasp, what will it take to get home? 

Previews start October 5, 2022. Performances run through November 20 at Paramount’s new Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Suggested rating 13+.

BULL: a love story is presented as part of Destinos, 5th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, produced by the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA). Destinos is an annual, citywide event showcasing top Latino theater artists and companies from Chicago, the U.S. and Latin America, September 15-October 16, 2022. Learn more at

About Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts in Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois. The beautiful, 1,843-seat theater, graced with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence and original Venetian décor, nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics and historic grandeur, has been downtown Aurora’s anchor attraction since 1931.

After launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount Theatre grew to be the second largest subscription house in the U.S. Before Covid, more than 41,000 subscribers from all over Chicagoland and the Midwest were enjoying Paramount’s critically acclaimed, 2019-20 Broadway-caliber productions. In addition, Paramount also presents an array of internationally known comedians, musicians, dance troupes and family shows annually.

Paramount Theatre is one of four live performance venues programmed and managed by the Aurora Civic Center Authority. ACCA also oversees downtown Aurora’s newly renovated 165-seat Copley Theatre, home to Paramount’s new BOLD Series, along with the Paramount School of the Arts, RiverEdge Park, the city’s 6,000-seat outdoor summer concert venue, and Stolp Island Theatre, an immersive space opening in summer 2023.

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.

For the latest updates, visit or follow @ParamountAurora on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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