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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Aurora Theater Will Once Again Welcome Live Audiences

Paramount Theatre

A historic northern Illinois theater is kicking off the return of live audiences, the first since the onset of the pandemic, with a musical centered around shoes.  

Jim Jarvis is the vice president of programming and sales at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora. He says the theater wanted to open with a show that had a powerful message coming off the heels of 2020.  

“And if there is ever a show, that is, you know, such a beautiful message about acceptance,” he said, “and one love and people taking care of each other and learning about each other, it’s ‘Kinky Boots.’” 

The musical was originally scheduled to show right before the pandemic hit.

“I think we've sold 43,000 tickets in advance to this show,” he said. “And I will say it's amazing how wonderful the patrons have been and majority of those folks, probably 40,000, 41,000 have stuck with us at this point.” 

This musical shows how a shoemaker connects with a drag queen through the adoration of shoes. 

Kinky Boots performances start Aug. 18 and run through Oct. 17. Jarvis says the venue created several different seating scenarios to accommodate any unforeseen changes in the Restore Illinois Reopening Plan. 

Jarvis is asking the community to support all the arts, especially ones that are coming out of a bleak financial year.  

"Whether it's theater, or whether  you've got a local community theater place for live music somewhere in your area," Jarvis added. "I would say that, you know, support all of those, we've all been without any kind of income for the last 56 you know, weeks." 

Tickets for "Kinky Boots" can be purchased online or by calling the theater's box office. 

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.

Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.