CHICAGO – Porchlight Music Theatre announces its schedule for fall 2020, offering a variety of free and pay-to-view options for virtual experiences. The new programs include original Porchlight productions of Broadway by the Decade, New Faces Sing Broadway 1987 and Happy Holidays from Porchlight! and musical audio broadcasts, with Chicago roots, from L.A. Theatre Works: Working and Zoot Suit. These offerings are in addition to Porchlight’s continued free online programs: Sondheim @ 90 Roundtable with host Michael Weber, Porchlight by Request, Movie Musical Mondays and WPMT Presents: Classical Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio.
After purchasing a ticket to any of Porchlight’s paid options, ticket holders will receive an email with a link and password to view the chosen performance for 72 hours. Information on each production is listed below and may be found at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org.
Broadway by the Decade
Available for viewing: September 25 – October 25
Debuts Friday, Sept. 25 at 12 p.m. Central
Director: Michael Weber
Music Director: Michael McBride
Cast: Stephen Allen Jr., Neala Barron, Darilyn Burtley, Lucy Godinez, Donterrio Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Michelle Lauto and
Production team: Eric Backus (audio engineer and sound mixing); Alex Rhyan (director of production); Christopher Pazdernik (casting & company manager); Ben Balmer (production assistant) and Austin Packard (videographer and video editing)
Ticket Price: $15-$50
Tickets on sale now.
Porchlight Music Theatre’s Artistic Director Michael Weber takes the audience on a guided tour of Broadway’s musical history from the late 1800s to the present day. Weber shares the story of how the American idiom, the musical, evolved decade by decade with musical performances designed especially for this production starring Porchlight favorites performing songs from Show Boat, Girl Crazy, Funny Girl, Chicago, Les Miserables, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Waitress and more.
In collaboration with L.A. Theatre Works
Available for viewing: October 16 – November 8
Debuts Friday, Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. Central
By Studs Terkel
Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso
Songs by Craig Carnelia, Micki Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor
Director: Scott Shwartz
Original Music by Dave Ossman, on piano, and John Harvey, on percussion
Cast: Eileen Barnett, Orson Bean, Harry Groener, Kaitlin Hopkins, Michael Kostroff, Kenna Ramsey, Vickilyn Reynolds, Vincent Tumeo and B.J. Ward with the chorus including James Donato, Leilani Hays, Melissa Justin, Steve Kirwan, Linda Langford, Steve Lanter, Lynsey Shmukler Jones, Michael Shutt and Jodie Verdu
Original Music: Dave Ossman, on piano, and John Harvey, on percussion
Ticket Price: $15-$25
Tickets on sale: Friday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m.
In a special arrangement with L.A. Theatre Works, Porchlight will host the first revised and updated version of this 1970s cult classic based on the legendary book by Studs Terkel. With a cast of twenty Working is a rousing musical for anyone who has ever punched a clock, a cow or a supervisor—or wanted to.
This is the original radio broadcast recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles in March 1999.
New Faces Sing Broadway 1987
Available for viewing: November 6 – November 29
Debuts: Friday, Nov. 6 at 12 p.m. Central
Director: Christopher Pazdernik
Music Director: David Fiorello
Host: Larry Adams
Cast: Anna Marie Abbate, Isabella Andrews, Ciera Dawn, Taylor DiTola, Timothy Foszcz, Cameron Goode, Garrett Griffin, Parker Guidry, Devon Hayakawa and Kelan Smith
Production team: Christopher Pazdernik (director); David Fiorello (music director/accompanist); Alex Rhyan (director of production); CastleLight Productions (video, editing and audio services) and Michael Weber (artistic director)
Ticket Price: $15-$50
Tickets on sale: Friday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m.
Filmed on-site at Chicago’s historic Studebaker Theatre, the popular New Faces Sing Broadway cabaret series returns, virtually, this fall with host Larry Adams and a line up of up-and-coming performers from Chicago’s music theatre scene. New Faces Sing Broadway 1987 is an entire Broadway season in 90 minutes and includes hit songs from Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Me and My Girl and other musicals from the 1987 Broadway season.
In collaboration with L.A. Theatre Works
Available for viewing: November 27 – December 20
Debuts: Friday, Nov. 27 at 12 p.m. Central
By Luis Valdez
Incidental Music by Daniel Valdez and Lalo Guerrero
Director: Luis Valdez
Music Director: Daniel Valdez
Cast: Marco Rodriguez, Kinan Valdez, Daniel Valdez, Alma Martinez, Primavera Flor-Valdez, Lakin Valdez, Gregory Itzin, Xochiquetzal Candelaria, Estrella Esparza, Ruben C. Gonzalez, Raul Cardona, Daniel Chacón, Katrina Valdez, Seth Millwood, Spencer Garrett and Al Ruscio
Ticket Price: $15-$25
Tickets on sale: Friday, Oct. 30 at 10 a.m.
In a special arrangement with L.A. Theatre Works, playwright Luis Valdez masterfully uses the Sleepy Lagoon murder case and the unrest in Los Angeles following 12 Latino youths being unjustly convicted by a biased judge to examine the zoot suit culture of the 40s. Passionate and provocative, Zoot Suit pulses with the beat of big band music and traditional Latin songs.
This is the original radio broadcast recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles in July 2001.
Happy Holidays from Porchlight!
Available for viewing: December 11 – January 3, 2021
Debuts: Friday, Dec. 11 at 12 p.m. Central
Director Artistic Director Michael Weber
Ticket Price: $15-$50
Tickets on sale: Friday, Nov. 13 at 10 a.m.
Porchlight Music Theatre debuts a holiday “get together,” virtually, to celebrate the start of the winter season. This holiday special features Porchlight favorites performing holiday classics and winter-themed songs from a variety of music theatre productions.
This fall, Porchlight continues to offer free programming via its social media channels including Youtube.com. The continuing online Porchlight programming is:
Sondheim @ 90 Roundtable with host Artistic Director Michael Weber
Every other Saturday at 7 p.m. Central
Stephen Sondheim’s storied career is discussed show by show every other Saturday at 7 p.m. Central with special guests from the worlds of Chicago’s theater scene, Broadway and national music theatre presenters.
The fall season launches with Weber talking with Deanna Dunagan (Tony Award-winning actor for August: Osage County, who appeared in the world premiere of Bounce at the Goodman, directed by Hal Prince), Chris Jones (Chicago Tribune chief theater critic and culture columnist, New York Daily News Broadway and WBBM-TV critic) and Michael Mahler (Jeff Award-winning actor, music director, composer/lyricist whose credits include creating additional lyrics for the Broadway revival of Miss Saigon as well as music direction for Road Show at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) about Sondheim’s Road Show. Previously titled Bounce and before that Wise Guys and Gold!, Road Show, with music and lyrics by Sondheim and book by John Weidman has a fascinating history, a complex evolution and has never appeared on the Great White Way but had productions in Chicago, Washington D.C. and off-Broadway.
Porchlight presents some complementary content, with a cocktail: I’ll Drink to That. A new episode of this series hosted by Porchlight Board Member and Hearty Boy Steve McDonagh debuts each Friday before a Sondheim episode. McDonagh, in his own original way, shares a cocktail recipe, pairing it with that week’s Sondheim @ 90 Roundtable with host Michael Weber’s episode.
Movie Musical Monday
Every Monday at 7 p.m. Central
Each week a noteworthy host and special guest join in a ZOOM conversation about a musical movie with musical and movie fans. It’s like a book club for movies where attendees are asked to watch the movie before the chat and come prepared for an hour of conversation, fun facts and more.
Monday, Sept. 21: Fiddler on the Roof with host WGN’s Paul Lisnek (New Faces Sing Broadway 1964) and special guest Iris Lieberman (Billy Elliot the Musical, How to Succeed…, Paramount Theatre’s Fiddler on the Roof.).
WPMT PRESENTS: Classic Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio
Every Tuesday at 1 p.m. Central
Debuting this past summer and continuing into fall is Porchlight’s WPMT PRESENTS: Classic Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio. Artistic Director Michael Weber introduces musicals from the early to mid 20th century as they were heard on network radio programs such as The Lux Radio Theatre and The Theatre Guild on the Air, often featuring members of the original Broadway casts. A bonus feature to some of the series’ episodes are special guests joining Weber in conversation about that day’s broadcast. Past guests have included Mitchell J. Fain (discussing Strike Up the Band) and Christie Chiles Twillie (discussing Carmen Jones).
Tuesday, Sept. 22: WPMT PRESENTS: High Button Shoes
Tuesday, Sept. 29: WPMT PRESENTS: Girl Crazy with special guest playwright/lyricist Stephen Cole
Tuesday, Oct. 6: WPMT PRESENTS: A Connecticut Yankee
Tuesday, Oct. 13: WPMT PRESENTS: This is the Army
Tuesday, Oct. 20: WPMT PRESENTS: Lady Be Good
Tuesday, Oct. 27: WPMT PRESENTS: Phantom of the Opera with special guest, Chicago actor/playwright/teacher Tom Mula
Tuesday, Nov 10: WPMT PRESENTS: The Student Prince
Tuesday, Nov 17: WPMT PRESENTS: Allegro
Tuesday, Nov 24: WPMT PRESENTS: Holiday Inn
Tuesday, Dec 1: WPMT PRESENTS: Maytime
Tuesday, Dec 8: WPMT PRESENTS: The Lemon Drop Kid
Tuesday, Dec 15: WPMT PRESENTS: Babes in Toyland
Tuesday, Dec 22: WPMT PRESENTS: Meet Me in St. Louis
Tuesday, Dec 29: WPMT PRESENTS: On Your Toes
PORCHLIGHT BY REQUEST
via Facebook, debut times vary
Fans of music theatre and others may request a show tune with a dedication and, in a “Command Performance,” a favorite Porchlight artist customizes this song. Past Porchlight By Request videos have been dedicated to family members, front line responders, teachers and others.
Porchlight may change any of the above information for productions, artists, etc, due to new updates from the CDC or local government regarding up-to-date COVID-19 precautions and instructions.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE
As the home for music theatre in Chicago now in its 26th season, Porchlight Music Theatre is nationally recognized for reimagining classic productions, supporting new works and showcasing musical theatre’s noted Chicago veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre by providing intimate and powerful music theatre experiences through the lens of the “Chicago Style.” The 2017–2018 year marked a milestone for Porchlight as the company became an Artist In-Residence at the historic Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Porchlight’s rich histor
Through Porchlight’s “Off the Porch” new works program, the musicals of the next generation are developed and given a first audience. Porchlight’s education programming serves schools, young artists, hobbyists and emerging professionals. Its musical theatre summer camps returned for the fourth smash year in 2020, virtually and in-person, developing skills in young performers and offering scholarships to qualifying students. The company’s many accolades include 33 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and 178 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 42 Jeff Awards. In 2020, Porchlight Music Theatre’s first year in the “Large Theatre” tier of the Joseph Jefferson Equity Awards, Porchlight was honored with 11 nominations in both technical and artistic categories.
Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Actors’ Equity Foundation, Allstate, Bayless Family Foundation, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Chapman | Spingola, Attorneys at Law, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Elegant Event Lighting, Elevate Energy, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, Hearty Boys, Hopsmith, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation, The Saints, Dr. Scholl Foundation, the Stuart Family Foundation, the Topfer Family Foundation and Walton Street Kitchen. 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.