Monday, November 8, 2021

Paramount Theatre's Cinderella Through JAN. 9, 2022

ChiIL Mama's Chi, IL Picks List


Mikayla Renfrow plays Cinderella and Markcus Blair is Prince Christopher in Cinderella, directed by Brenda Didier, running now through January 9, 2022 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora. For tickets, visit or call (630) 896-6666. Credit: Liz Lauren




The principal cast for Paramount's Cinderella is (from left) Mikayla Renfrow as Cinderella, Markcus Blair as Christopher, Jerica Exum as Fairy Godmother, Sarah Bockel as Stepmother, Jacquelyne Jones as Grace, Tiffany T. Taylor as Joy, Rashada Dawan as Queen Constantina, Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Lionel and Michael Kingston as King Maximillian. 

You may think you know the story, but you’ve never seen it like this!

I'll be out to review December 1st, so check back soon for ChiIL Mama's take on this revamped classic featuring the "Enchanted version" of Cinderella. This modern re-writing features Cinderella as a stronger heroine. In the meantime, book your tickets before they sell out. For the holidays, we're huge fans of experiential gift giving, like theatre tickets, that create memories and reduce clutter. 

Paramount Theatre presents Cinderella, the beloved musical by the genius minds of Rodgers and Hammerstein, in a mesmerizing new production bringing a reimagined take on the classic children’s story that has enchanted families for generations.

Paramount’s Cinderella promises to come with all of the spectacle and splendor audiences have come to expect. Pumpkins will transform into horse-drawn carriages, right before your eyes. Jaws will drop as tattered rags magically become a beautiful gown. By the end of the show, young and old alike will wish fairy godmothers and glass slippers weren’t just for fairy tales. After all, you’re never too young for a little magic. And never too old to believe.

Completing the experience, Paramount’s Grand Gallery will be fit for a royal ball, with a giant two-story Christmas tree and all the trimmings, making it the ideal backdrop for annual family photos.

Previews of Cinderella start November 10. Press opening is Friday, November 19 at 8 p.m. Cinderella runs through January 9, 2022. Tickets are $36 to $79. Cinderella is suggested for ages 5 and up. 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. 

Performance schedule: Show times are 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. 

Exceptions: No 1:30 p.m. matinee on November 9. Added performances are Tuesday, November 23, at 7 p.m.; Friday, November 26, at 3 p.m.; Thursday, December 30, at 1:30 p.m.; and Thursday, January 6 at 1:30 p.m. Show time Friday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) is 3 p.m. No shows Thursday, November 25 (Thanksgiving), Thursday through Saturday, December 23-25 (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), and no evening show on Thursday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve). 

Access Services: Paramount’s offers assistive listening devices free of charge at all performances. Check in at the coat room before the show to borrow a listening device. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, Cinderella will be presented on Friday, January 7, at 8 p.m. with two certified sign interpreters translating all dialogue and lyrics into American Sign Language. Patrons can purchase single tickets with special seating for this performance for $30 with the code ASLPARAMOUNT. If you require wheelchair or special seating or other assistance, please contact the box office at (630) 896-6666 or in advance.

Pay What You Can: Performances Wednesday, November 10, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, November 13, at 3 p.m. are Pay What You Can events. Both days, starting at 10 a.m., visit the Paramount box office in-person to request your tickets. Customers will be asked how much they’d like to pay and will pay what they can. Limit four tickets per person. Offer not valid toward previous purchases. Online or phone sales not permitted. Paramount’s Pay What You Can events are part of the theater’s new program, REACH - Resources Expanding the Arts and Connecting Humanity. 

COVID 19 protocols: Patrons must adhere to all COVID-19 safety protocols as determined by Paramount Theatre at the time of the event. This could include but is not limited to mask wearing, and providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Paramount Theatre is adhering to all COVID-19 safety guidelines as mandated by the state of Illinois. Patrons will be contacted prior to their event with current policies. Children 2 and under will not be admitted. For current Paramount show Covid protocols, visit

Behind the scenes of Paramount’s Cinderella

Making her Chicago debut as Paramount Theatre’s Cinderella is Mikayla Renfrow, a new graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, most recently seen as Alice in Seven Brides for Seven Brothersat The MUNY. 

The principal cast also features Markcus Blair as Christopher; Jerica Exumas Fairy Godmother; Sarah Bockel as Stepmother; Jacquelyne Jones as Grace; Tiffany T. Taylor as Joy; Rashada Dawan as Queen Constantina; Lorenzo Rush Jr. as Lionel and Michael Kingston as King Maximillian. 

Ensemble members Brian Bandura, Adia Bell, Matthew Bettencourt, Anna Brockman, Max J. Cervantes, Evan C. Dolan, Tim Foszcz, Kelli Harrington, Christopher John Kelley, Ron King, Ashley Lanyon, Jenna Napolitano, Jason Richards, Camille Robinson, Katherine Viviano, Shelbi Voss and Natalie Welch complete the 26-person cast.

The production team is Brenda Didier, director and co-choreographer; Tiffany Krause, co-choreographer; Kory Danielson, music supervisor, director and conductor; Angela Weber Miller, scenic designer; Theresa Ham, costume designer; Victoria Bain, lighting designer; Adam Rosenthal, sound designer; Katie Cordts, wig, hair and makeup designer; Jesse Gaffney, properties designer; Ethan Deppe, electronic music designer; Gaby Labotka, intimacy director; Joey Stone, associate director; Terri Woodall, assistant choreographer; Celia Villacres, associate music director/associate conductor; Maegan Burnell, stage manager; and, JC Widman, assistant stage manager.

Chicago theater veteran Brenda Didier (director and choreographer) has received 31 Chicago Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, receiving seven Jeff Awards in Direction and seven Jeff Awards in Choreography, most recently for Paramount’s 2019 production of The Producers. She is the recipient of the 2018 Guy Adkins Award for the advancement of Musical Theatre in Chicago, two After Dark Awards, two Choreography Awards from the Society of Theatre Artists and Friends, the National Youth Theatre Award, Broadway World Chicago’s fan favorite 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Choreography Award, 2016 Director Award and has been listed in the Chicago Sun-Times Top 5 for Musical Theatre Choreography in 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2017. Didier is also artistic director and owner of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance.

Based on the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault, Paramount’s Cinderellais actually the third version of the original Rodgers and Hammersteinmusical, which premiered on TV in 1957. Adapted from Oscar Hammerstein II’s book, the script was modernized to appeal to contemporary audiences by updating its themes, particularly re-writing its main character into a stronger heroine. Today, it’s commonly referred to as the "Enchanted version" of Cinderella, a salute to the still popular 1997 TV musical with Brandy becoming the first Black actress to portray Cinderella on screen. 

Credits for Paramount’s Cinderella are: Music by Richard Rodgers. Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Adapted for the stage by Tom Briggsfrom the teleplay by Robert L. Freedman. Original Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett. Adapted by Tom Helm. Orchestration reductions by Macy Schmidt.

Paramount’s Broadway Series sponsors are The Dunham Foundation, City of Aurora, BMO Harris Bank, ComEd and the Illinois Arts Council. Paramount’s Broadway Series production of Cinderella is sponsored by Jake’s Inc. and Rush Copley Medical Center.

What’s next in Paramount’s 10th Anniversary Broadway Series?

Groundhog Day, based on the classic Bill Murray film comedy, will be the second Midwest regional premiere produced by Paramount Theatre in the span of one year. Imagine being stuck in a time loop, waking up and realizing you’re living the same day over and over and over and over again. Set your alarm to make sure you see this uproariously funny, surprisingly touching and simply inspirational musical comedy, nominated for seven Tony Awards. Paramount Theatre Artistic Director Jim Corti will direct. Previews start January 26, 2022. Opening Night is Friday, February 4, at 8 p.m. Performances run through March 13.

Are you ready to rock? Rock of Ages will take audiences back into the iconic music era of the ‘80s, where rock ‘n’ roll dreamers turn their fantasies into reality. Nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Rock of Agesis a Hollywood love story told through the mind-blowing hits of top ‘80s rock bands like Journey, Bon Jovi, Styx, Poison and more. Paramount Theatre Artistic Producer and New Works Director Amber Mak will direct. Previews start April 13. Press opening is Friday, April 22, at 8 p.m. Performances run through May 29, 2022.

Join the growing ranks of more than Broadway Series subscribers at downtown Aurora’s Paramount Theatre. New three--play subscriptions including Cinderella, Groundhog Day and Rock of Ages are on sale now, ranging from $54 to $118.50 (without fees). 

To subscribe or purchase single tickets, visit , call (630) 896-6666, or stop by the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

About Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., is the center for performing arts and education 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, music stars, dance events 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, RiverEdge Park, the city’s 6,000-seat outdoor summer concert venue, the new Paramount School of the Arts, and the 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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