Aurora’s Paramount earns 16 Jeff Award nominations

Chronicle Media

Blake Hammond (left) plays Max Bialystock and Jake Morrissy is Leo Bloom in “The Producers” in the Paramount Theatre’s production.

Aurora’s Paramount Theatre has earned 16 nominations for the 2019 Equity Jeff Awards.

Two Paramount productions were the most-nominated shows across all categories, with The Producers receiving nine nominations overall, and The Wizard of Oz flying away with seven.

Celebrating excellence in Chicago theater, nearly 200 nominations in 34 award categories were announced for the 2019 Equity Jeff Awards.

Paramount’s total of 16 nominations was just one shy of Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre, which earned the most nominations.

Jeff Award winners will be announced Oct. 21. To see the full list of nominees, visit

Paramount’s nominations include:

“The Producers” – 9 nominations

Production – Musical – Large,

Director – Musical – Large – Jim Corti,

Performer in a Principal Role – Musical – Blake Hammond (Max Bialystock)

Performer in a Principal Role – Musical – Jake Morrissy (Leo Bloom),

Scenic Design – William Boles,

Costume Design – Jordan Ross,

Lighting Design – Jesse Klug,

Choreography – Brenda Didier,

Music Direction – Tom Vendafreddo.

“The Wizard of Oz” – 7 nominations

Production – Musical – Large,

Director – Musical – Large – Amber Mak,

Scenic Design – Kevin Depinet and Christopher Rhoton,

Costume Design – Theresa Ham,

Sound Design – Adam Rosenthal,

Lighting Design – Greg Hofmann,

Projection Design – Kevan Loney.

“Paramount tallied an impressive list of nods to production, direction, choreography, design and performance,” Artistic Director Jim Corti posted on his blog.”It’s so great to have so many of our supremely talented contributors, artists and technicians acknowledged for our collaborations onstage last season. Our audience shares in the excitement every year and indeed we have much to take pride in and be thankful for.”

Paramount President and CEO Tim Rater said there has consistently landed multiple nominations in recent years.

“Paramount is producing the very best large-scale musicals in the entire Chicago area,” he said. “This is our fifth consecutive year for multiple nominations, which we see as strong recognition for the work being produced on our beautiful stage by our incredible theater artists both on stage and behind the scenes.”

Paramount 2019-20 Broadway Series is now under way with Disney’s Newsies, the rousing, David versus Goliath, Disney family musical about newsboys who take on a greedy news tycoon. It runs through Oct. 20.

Also on tap:

  • Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, is the family-friendly, enchanting Disney classic storybook musical fantasy that proves beauty isn’t always what it appears, directed by Paramount’s Amber Mak, runs from Nov. 13-Jan 19, 2020.
  • “The Secret of My Success”, is a world premiere musical based on the hit Universal Pictures film starring Michael J. Fox, book by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, score by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler, directed by Gordon Greenberg, Feb. 12-March 29, 2020.
  • “Kinky Boots”, is the regional premiere of the high kicking musical, book by Harvey Fierstein, lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, directed by Paramount’s Trent Stork, April 29-June 14, 2020.
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  • Four-play subscription packages are on sale now starting as low as $72. For subscriptions and single tickets, visit, call 630-896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.