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‘Dreamgirls’ to launch Paramount Theatre’s 11th Broadway Series in Aurora

Paramount’s "Dreamgirls" are (from left) Mariah Lyttle as Lorrell, Breyannah Tillman as Effie, and Taylor Marie Daniel as Deena.

Paramount Theatre invites everyone 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. “Dreamgirls,” the Tony-winning musical inspired by The Supremes that spawned an Oscar-winning movie, will kick off the 11th Broadway Series, with performances from Aug. 31 to Oct. 16.

The audience will travel back to the 1960s. The Motown sound is on the rise, and the Dreamettes are three young women trying to break 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. The trio will navigate the highs and lows of life, love and fame, a news release stated.

Christopher D. Betts will direct, with “Dreamgirls” marking his hometown debut. A Chicago native, Betts is a New York-based director, writer, producer and NYU professor, who recently completed his master of fine arts in directing at Yale School of Drama.

Previews start Aug. 31. Opening night is Friday, Sept. 9. Performances will be offered at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 7 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sundays (except for no 1:30 p.m. matinee Aug. 31).

Four-play 2022-23 subscriptions including “Dreamgirls” and three more musicals – “The Sound of Music,” “Into the Woods” and “School of Rock” – for new subscribers are on sale, starting at $56. Single tickets to “Dreamgirls” are $28 to $79.

Paramount Theatre is at 23 E. Galena Blvd. along the Fox River in downtown Aurora. For tickets and information, visit paramountaurora.com, call 630-896-6666, or stop by the Paramount box office Monday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Note: “Dreamgirls” is suggested for ages 10 and older because of adult language and relationship content.

“I am thrilled to be returning to the [Chicago] area to direct ‘Dreamgirls’ at Paramount,” Betts said in the release. “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.”

The cast features Taylor Marie Daniel as Deena, Mariah Lyttle as Lorrell, and Breyannah Tillman as Effie, with Lorenzo Rush Jr. of Berwyn as Curtis Taylor Jr. and Ben Toomer as Jimmy “Thunder” Early. Naima Alakham, Daryn Alexus, Averis I. Anderson, Jarrett Bennett, Christian Denzel Bufford, Shantel Cribbs, Raven Monique Dockery, Gilbert Domally, Joshua L. Green, Evan Tyrone Martin, 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.

Special events

Pay What You Can Performances are offered at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount Theatre box office in person to request tickets. Limit four per person. See paramountaurora.com/pay-what-you-can for details.

Divine Nine Night

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, Midwest chapters of the “Divine Nine” Black sororities and fraternities will join together for a special night at Paramount’s “Dreamgirls.”

Civic Organization Night

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, local civic organizations, community and political leaders and Black-owned businesses are invited to a special night at “Dreamgirls” to celebrate the community-building power of live theater.

Church Night

At 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, congregations are invited to praise the power of faith, perseverance, gospel music and the sounds of Motown.

For information on how to get discounted group tickets to any of these special events, contact Melissa Striedl at melissas@paramountarts.com 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 one requires wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, contact the box office at 630-896-6666 or boxoffice@paramountarts.com in advance.

Paramount will offer an American Sign Language interpreted performance at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. And an open and closed captioned performance is still being planned.