Les Miserables at Paramount Theatre (photo by Charles Osgood)
Paramount Theatre in Aurora was built in 1931 and, per Wikipedia, was the first place outside of Chicago to have air conditioning. Impeccably maintained and done up in a loud, art deco style it hosts a whole bunch of live events including a Broadway Series that consistently equals (and sometimes outclasses) what you pay bigger bucks for in the Loop. Yes, it is a rather long drive from the city. Worse there is almost nowhere to eat before the show. But parking is cheap ($10 at the public lot across the street) and Interstate 88 usually moves pretty well. So when I saw that they were staging Les Miserables I snagged the review for Newcity and then begged an extra ticket for Henna.
George Keating is the “master of the house”- photo by Charles Osgood
So the production was as good, no, actually better than I thought it would be (this is the review I wrote). Before the play Corey went over the plot with Henna and this made her a bit nervous (I think it was all the tragic deaths and the intense battle scenes that made her wary). At intermission though Henna declared she loved the play and then on the way home she begged us to download the original cast album. Now the soundtrack is etched forever in my mind, an endless playback of French misery and triumph. At $41-$54 this is not a cheap ticket, but it is much less than you would pay for the same production staged downtown. To purchase tickets or for more information, click here. The show runs through April 26th.
For Hennacornoelidays first ever Date Night Pick things did not go exactly as planned. For starters Corey wasn’t able to go (it’s hard to get a sitter on a Monday night). So I took my dad which was nice. But the traffic was really bad. In fact it was so blizzard-like bad we had to take to the back roads in order to make it downtown in less than an hour. And even then we barely had enough time to shove a fast food meal down our throats before briskly walking down Randolph in search of the theater. It was such a tiring excursion getting there that moments before the show began I was wondering if it was worth all the effort.
Mike Nussbaum in Smokefall (Photo by Liz Lauren)
It was. In fact it would have been worth a seven hour mule ride alongside a sewer canal just to see Mike Nussbaum read his lines during recital. The man is pushing ninety-one years old! Or to put it a different way, he is almost the exact same age as the Goodman Theatre. And he is simply amazing to watch at work. Smokefall is pretty amazing too. A quirky look at four generations muddling along, it offers philosophizing fetuses, a teenage girl who thrives on paint, dirt, and other inedible objects, a person who does not age, and a narrator who narrates via footnotes. There are some truly funny moments (especially in the oh-so-self-aware asides) but it is the poignant ones that might make you tear up. In the hard-core theater loving opening night crowd I spied several ladies crying at the ending. And the ending is more hopeful than sad. Smokefall
played on the Goodman Theatre’s smaller stage a year ago and set a box office record there. I can see why.
So I highly recommend this for date night. I also recommend this for going with a friend or a family member or both. Just leave plenty of time to get to the theater.
Katherine Keberlein and Catherine Combs in Smokefall (Photo by Liz Lauren)
is playing at the Goodman Theatre
(170 North Dearborn Street) through October 26th. A lot of people are going to want to see this play so buy your tickets now. Click here
for more information.