Jim Corti

February 2021 View more

With an empty auditorium amid what should have been a celebratory 10th Broadway series season, the Paramount Theatre artistic director looks hopefully to the future

Jim Corti with the 2019 Jeff Award he won for directing The Producers.

A decade in Aurora Before I came to the Paramount, I had never experienced from an audience what I did in Aurora—the realization of just how much what we were doing here meant to them. There was just so much community support and affection, and it was such a life-affirming feeling for me. By 2018, we were the second-largest subscription-based audience in the country, and suddenly businesses were moving in and restaurants were opening downtown—all thanks to the Paramount crowds that were coming in.

Pandemic pause Even though the doors are closed, it’s been amazing what we’ve been able to achieve virtually—from our staff meetings to the classes at the Paramount School of the Arts, we’ve found ways to adjust. I keep referring to the light in the darkness, and that’s our people. In many ways, I think we’ve gotten even closer during this time, because we’ve all gone out of our way to reach out and find ways to stay connected to each other while we can’t be physically together. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Better days ahead Kinky Boots was ready to go when we shut down, so our plan is to slowly bring our creative teams back in the spring and hopefully open that show as soon as it’s safe to do so. Until then, we’ll just continue to try and keep things active. Being surrounded by people with the kind
of passion we have here is very gratifying for an old guy like me—that fire hasn’t been doused.

Photo by Thomas J. King