CHICAGO – Porchlight Music Theatre’s Mainstage 2018 – 2019 season launches with Gypsy, A Musical Fable, October 12 – November 25, at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street, with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Porchlight Music Theatre’s Gypsy stars E. Faye Butler as “Rose,” is directed by Michael Weber, music directed by David Fiorello and choreographed/associate directed by Chris Carter. Previews are Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The regular run performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Oct. 14, Nov. 18 and Nov. 25; Sunday at 6 p.m.: Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18 with an added matinee performance Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m. and an added 4 p.m. performance Friday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.
Single tickets are $20 – $66 and are on sale now as are subscriptions to the entire Mainstage season including Gypsy, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder and A Chorus Line at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884.
Chicago’s E. Faye Butler adopts the mantle of Broadway’s legendary “stage mother” in this thrilling and heart-wrenching story of a woman who raises her daughters to assume the heights in the world of show business, whether they want to or not. Gypsy has been called by many (including The New York Times critic Ben Brantley) the greatest of all American musicals and is loosely based on the 1957 memoir of famous striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, entitled Gypsy: Memoirs of America’s Most Celebrated Stripper. The musical features songs that have become standards of the musical theatre canon, including “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together, Wherever We Go” and the show stopping, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”
The cast of Porchlight Music Theatre’s Gypsy includes: E. Faye Butler as “Rose;” Daryn Whitney Harrell (seen in the Broadway company of The Book of Mormon) as “Louise;” Aalon Smith (who recently participated in the development of the new Stephen Schwartz musical Boy on the Roof and who was seen in Porchlight’s Memphis and New Faces Sing Broadway 1975) as “Dainty June;” José Antonio García (who has appeared in multiple productions at both The Goodman and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as well as in numerous film and television productions) as “Herbie;” one of Chicago’s favorite cabaret and nightclub entertainers, Honey West, as “Electra/Miss Cratchitt;” Dawn Bless (Jeff Award-nominated star of A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti Labelle at Black Ensemble Theatre) as “Mazeppa;” Melissa Young (last seen in the Chicago premiere of Seth Rudutsky’s Disaster) as “Tessie Tura;” Marco Tzunux (seen at Porchlight in New Faces Sing Broadway 1975 as well as productions at Drury Lane, Theo Ubique and The Mercury Theatre) as “Tulsa” and an ensemble including Saniyah As-Salaam, “Newsboy;” Larry Baldacci, “Uncle Jocko / Mr. Weber / Mr. Goldstone / Pastey;” Tatiana Bustamante, “Marjorie May;” Joshua Bishop, “Angie / Bougeron-Cochon;” Elya Faye Bottiger, “Dolores;” William “Pierce” Cleaveland, “Clarence;” Jared David Michael Grant, “Georgie / Mr. Kringelein / Phil;” Michelle Huey, “Dolores;” Jillian-Giselle, “Baby Louise;” Hannah Love Jones, “Balloon Girl;” J. Michael Jones, “Pop / Cigar;” Marvin J. Malone II, “Yonkers;” Desmond Murphy, “Arnold;” Renellè Nicole, “Gail;” Jeff Pierpoint, “Agnes;” Ariel Triunfo, “Edna Mae” and Isabella Warren, “Baby June.”
The Gypsy production team includes Michael Weber, director; David Fiorello, music director; Chris Carter, choreographer and associate director; Robin da Silva, assistant director; Jeffrey D. Kmiec, scenic designer; Robert Hornbostel, sound designer; Bill Morey, costume designer; Denise Karczewski, lighting designer; Andrew Ashley Hatcher, props designer; Kevin Barthel, wig designer; Sean McStravick, stage manager and Aaron Shapiro and Cody Westgaard, production managers.
ABOUT MICHAEL WEBER, director
Michael Weber is the artistic director of Porchlight Music Theatre where, under his leadership, the company has received the Best Production Equity Jeff Award for five consecutive years. He previously served as artistic director for the inaugural season of Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place (now The Broadway Playhouse) and at Theatre at the Center (1998 – 2004). He recently appeared on stage in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi and directed Merrily We Roll Along. His productions of End of the Rainbow, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pal Joey, Assassins and Side Show at Porchlight Music Theatre, Grand Hotel at Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place and She Loves Me at Theatre at the Center were each nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Directing credits include Living the History-125 Years of The Auditorium Theatre starring Patti LuPone and John Mahoney, Fifth of July and Talley’s Folly at the Oak Park Festival Theatre, The Petrified Forest at Theatre at the Center, Beauty and the Beast at Marriott Theatre, Over the River and Through the Woods at The Mercury Theater and Cirque du Symphony at Sears Center Arena. The recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards, he has written and directed the past twelve Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremonies. Weber’s regional acting credits include Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy (both starring Patti LuPone) at Ravinia, Disney’s My Son Pinocchio at First Stage Milwaukee, Around the World in 80 Days at Cleveland Playhouse, The Winter’s Tale and Henry V at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, It Had To Be You (starring Cindy Williams and Eddie Mekka) at Little Theatre on the Square and The Gifts of the Magi at Indiana Repertory. Weber is proud to serve as a pledge host on WTTW, Channel 11.
ABOUT DAVID FIORELLO, music director
David Fiorello returns to Porchlight, where he has music directed many productions and special events including the Porchlight Revisits productions Do Re Mi and Woman of the Year, Chicago Sings: Sinatra & The Rat Pack and the 2017 – 2018 and 2016 – 2018 New Faces Sing Broadway seasons. He recently appeared in Porchlight’s Merrily We Roll Along as “Joe Josephson.” Fiorello has been in Chicago since 2010, when he moved from the East Coast to music direct and vocal coach at Northwestern University’s Music Theatre Certificate Program. He served as music director for the Off-Broadway hit Danny & Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical, and has toured nationally and internationally with several productions, including John Doyle’s re-imagining of Sweeney Todd, as music director. Fiorello has worked in Chicago with Chicago Shakespeare, The Marriott Theatre and many others. A director, music director, performer, writer, arranger and show doctor, he has helped guide new works to development and world premieres in Chicago, at New York Musical Festival and several premieres in the United Kingdom. He has written and collaborated on several original pieces, including the musical The Language or the Kiss, a musical featuring the music of The Indigo Girls, that he conceived, wrote the book and starred in for many Off-Broadway industry readings.
ABOUT CHRIS CARTER, associate director and choreographer
Christopher Carter is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a liberal arts degree in dance. Carter has traveled extensively performing, directing and choreographing. Some of his Porchlight Music Theatre credits include Memphis, Dreamgirls, In The Heights and the Porchlight Revisits productions They’re Playing Our Song and Chess. Other credits include Five Guys Named Moe (Court Theater); Hair (Mercury Theater); The Legend Of Georgia McBride (Northlight Theater); and Sweeney Todd, Godspell, Secret Garden and Pirates Of Penzance (Grand Valley State University); Show Boat and Oklahoma (Lyric Opera Chicago); Show Boat (San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera); Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Joseph… (Paramount Theater); Duke Ellington’s Queenie Pie (Chicago Opera Theater); Oliver, Carousel and Brigadoon (Light Opera Works); The Wiz, 42nd Street and Guys and Dolls (Theatre at the Center); Smokey Joe’s Café (Circle Theatre); The Wild Party (Actor’s Theater). Carter has been the choreographer for the Grand Rapids Civic’s SRT for the past five years. He was a Debbie Allen Dance Academy Scholarship student and has additional credits including national tours, commercial, industrial and concert work.
ABOUT E. FAYE BUTLER, “Rose”
E. Faye Butler’s career spans more than 35 years in the entertainment industry. Butler is an actress – singer. Most importantly, she is an entertainer with an extraordinary gift to capture an audience and put them in the palm of her hands. Butler performs in concert halls, club venues, corporate events, cabarets and theatres across the country and internationally. She continues to create and develop new and captivating shows. Many audiences recognize Butler from her theatre career. Goodman Theatre, Arena Stage, Victory Gardens, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Yale Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Signature Theatre, Centerstage, Chicago Shakespeare, Congo Square, Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Fulton Theatre, Maine State, Sacramento Music Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre and PaperMill Playhouse are among the theatres where Butler has performed. As well as in Off Broadway national and regional tours of Mamma Mia, Ain’t Misbehavin, Dinah Was, Nunsense and Nunsense II. She is the recipient of six Joseph Jefferson Awards, as well as two Helen Hayes Awards, R.A.M.I. Award, John Barrymore Award, Ovation Award, Sarah Siddons Leading Lady Award, After Dark Award, Excellence in the Arts, four Black Theatre Alliance Awards, Black Alliance Award, Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, Kathryn V. Lampkey Award, and has been inducted into the Women in the Arts Museum in Washington D.C.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE AS RUTH PAGE ARTIST IN-RESIDENCE
Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to be a member of the vibrant Ruth Page Center for the Arts community and an Artist In-Residence. Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts’ programming is the Artists In-Residence program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they grow or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and assisting dance and other performing artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artistic community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a destination for quality performing arts, accessible to a wide community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability. An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the vision of its founder, legendary dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE
As Chicago’s home for music theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre enters its 24th season and its second as an Artist In-Residence at the historic Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Porchlight Music Theatre is nationally recognized for reimagining classic productions, developing new works and showcasing musical theatre’s noted Chicago veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre by providing intimate and powerful theatrical experiences of music theatre through the lens of the “Chicago Style.” Porchlight’s rich history includes the staging of more than 60 productions with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Through Porchlight’s “Off the Porch” new works program, the musicals of the next generation are developed and given a first audience. The School at Porchlight is Chicago’s center for music theatre training in the areas of performance, writing and appreciation including a youth summer “Make Your Own Musical” camp and a Saturday morning youth program. The company’s many accolades include 28 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and seven awards, as well as a total of 151 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 42 Jeff Awards including five consecutive Best Production awards for The Scottsboro Boys (2017), Dreamgirls (2016), Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2014) and A Class Act (2013).
Porchlight Music Theatre’s Mainstage 2018 – 2019 season commences with Gypsy, October 12 – November 25 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street, with book by Arthur Laurents and music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Porchlight Music Theatre’s Gypsy stars E. Faye Butler as “Rose,” is directed by Michael Weber, music directed by David Fiorello and associate directed and choreographed by Chris Carter, music directed by David Fiorello. Previews are Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The regular run performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. with a weekday matinee Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $34 – $61 and are available at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884.
Ms. Butler’s performance is sponsored by Michael and Mona Heath.
Porchlight Music Theatre is supported by generous contributions from the Actors’ Equity Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Chapman | Spingola, Attorneys at Law, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Elegant Events Lighting, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, the Morgan Stanley Foundation, Q Chicago, The Saints and the Topfer Family Foundation.
The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.
Porchlight Music Theatre
Starring E. Faye Butler
Directed by Artistic Director Michael Weber
Music Directed by David Fiorello
Choreographed and Associate Directed by Chris Carter
October 12 – November 25
The Ruth Page Center for the Arts
1016 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago
Previews: Friday, Oct. 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 14 at 2 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night is Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
The regular run performance schedule is
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.*
Fridays at 8 p.m.**
Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. ***
Sunday at 2 p.m.: Oct. 14, Nov. 18****, and Nov. 25
Sunday at 6 p.m.: Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 11 and Nov. 18****
*There is an added matinee performance Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m. and no performance Thursday, Oct. 18 or Thursday, Nov. 22
**There is an added 4 p.m. performance Friday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.
***There is no 4 p.m. performance Saturday, Oct. 20
**** There are two performances Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 and 6 p.m.
Ticket Price: $34 – 61