Tag Archives: Paramount Theatre

Remembering Maya Angelou

One of the best things about my job is that I get to have a different perspective on  shows at historic theatres – literally not figuratively.  Standing backstage I get to see and hear things that the audience misses.  But whether I am in the audience or back stage, historic theatres remain a magical place.

After a dance show, Diavolo – Foreign Bodies, at the Paramount in Austin, I got a few minutes alone with artistic director, Jacques Heim, who asked me if the Paramount audience was always so generous.  “My dancers are feeding off the energy from your audience.  It is like a fantastic feast!”  And he was right.  The dancers were energized by the audience.  It’s not the first time an artist has told me that there is a special connection between the audience and stage at historic theatres.  These places have a special energy even when they are empty… much less with a full audience.

A week later the exact opposite thing happened when Maya Angelou took the stage.   I watched the entire talk from backstage and at the end of the show Dr. Angelou nearly collapsed from exhaustion.  The audience had fed off her energy so completely that she gave herself over totally that night.  When she signaled to the stage crew to allow for an encore her staff was speechless – evidently that is very rare.

As soon as the curtain closed for the final time, she collapsed into a waiting wheel chair.  The energy had been drained from her.  It is a show that still, today, gets comments from audience members who were there.  For some, it was life changing.

Talking to her backstage before she left was a delight and remains one of my favorite memories.  She had a light around her, an energy that was palpable.

I wish her all the best on her journey into the next life…

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Paramount Holiday Party

Tis the season and we celebrated in style at the Paramount this week.  Donors and subscribers were treated to complimentary drinks, treats, holiday decorations, a visit from Santa and a screening of White Christmas.  Funny how Santa and I were never in the same room at the same time…

To make the pictures scroll faster, just click on the “+”.  If you have trouble downloading your photo, please email Maica at mjordan@austintheatre.org and let her know which picture you need.  Enjoy!

The Spirits of Ushers Past…

paramount-christmas-nutcracker-by-tree.gif paramount-christmas-margaret-and-helen.gif paramount-christmas-lobby.gif

Because we are expecting so many visitors at the Paramount during Ballet Austin’s run of The Nutcracker, I decided to go a little overboard on the holiday decorations.   Thanks to the talented Eric Quinn of Quinn Interiors, we have the most fantastic tree in Austin.  And with a little help from “Maggie and Helen” (The Holiday Spirits of Ushers Past), this is one holiday display that won’t soon be forgotten…

Time off with the family…

… back after the holiday weekend.  Speaking of holidays, I can’t wait to share pictures of the Paramount’s new holiday decorations by Eric Quinn.  They are stunning.

End of the season…

The 2006-2007 Season came to an end on Friday, May 18 with an incredible performance by Mavis Staples for our 91st Anniversary Gala Celebration.  Below are a few treasured moments from the season.

Ann Archer and Terry JastrowCyndi Lauper on the seatsAnn Richards

We dedicated this past season to Gov. Ann Richards who had been a long-time patron and donor to the Paramount.  The picture above  is actually from two seasons ago when I took Ann backstage to meet Bob Newhart after his sold-out show.

 Top Ten Moments from the 2006-2007 Season

10.   Turns out Academy Award nominated actress, Anne Archer, is married to Kenny Jastrow’s brother, Terry Jastrow…or something like that.  Anyway it was great to have her at our Paramount Spotlight Award ceremony honoring patron and donor Kenny Jastrow which raised over $150,000 for the theatres.

9. Cyndi Lauper bringing down the house and standing on the chairs in Orchestra Center row C

8.   The Dixie Chicks winning 5 Grammy’s…OK not part of the season but man that was cool…and they did come to see Bill Maher at the Paramount (but his show didn’t make this list due to that really bad joke about Michael Jackson…man that was bad.. but then again I was still trying to get over what Quentin Tarantino was doing with his date two seats over.)

7. Steven Tomlinson announces that his play, American Fiesta, which was commissioned by the State Theatre Company, was on its way to New York.

6. Burt Bacharach reminding us that he has written pretty much every song ever sang… but maybe he should continue to let others sing them.

5. Judith Ivey making a one woman show look like the work of 12 women.

4. The kids from East Austin’s Keys for Life Program meeting legendary jazz artist, Ramsey Lewis, backstage at the Paramount.

3. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham…but especially Mark…oh yeah and Luke.. the Altar Boyz!

2. Dave Barry blowing up a whale. (tied with Roberta Flack not being on the season again this year – I wanted to blow her up last year!)

And the number one moment…

1. David Sedaris explains the real story about Zombies by talking about the Zombies in the movie Grindhouse which, just by chance, premiered at the Paramount.  By the way, I still think the funniest book ever written is David’s Barrel Fever.

Coming Soon – Kathy Griffin at the Paramount on July 20th.