CHICAGO – Porchlight Music Theatre continues its eighth season of “lost” musicals series with Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange, book and lyrics by Stew+, music by Heidi Rodewald* and Stew+, direction by Donterrio+, music directed by Justin Akira Kono+ and choreography by Terri K Woodall*, February 16 and 17. Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange is presented for three performances-only: Wednesday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. and Thursday, February 17 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets are $49 and are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
From L.A. to Amsterdam to Berlin, a young musician chases youthful dreams and spiritual clarity against a shifting backdrop of locales and acquaintances as he rebels against his conservative upbringing. This hit rock musical, loaded with soulful lyrics and passion, debuted to critical acclaim on Broadway in 2008, winning both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards and went on to be a critically acclaimed motion picture filmed by Spike Lee+ in 2009. The New York Times said about its Broadway debut, “Call it a rock concert with a story to tell … Or call it a sprawling work of performance art … I’ll just call it wonderful.”
The cast of Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange, in alphabetical order includes: Michael Maurice Ashford+ as “Explorer,” Jos N Banks+/^ as “Creator,” Reneisha J Jenkins* as “Mother,” MJ Rawls* as “Rebel,” Nolan Robinson+ as “Youth,” Byron Willis+ as “Narrator” and Jasmine Lacy Young* as ”Lover.”
The production team includes: Stew+, lyrics and book; Heidi Rodewald* and Stew+, music; Donterrio+, director; Justin Akira Kono+, music director; Terri K Woodall*, choreography; Jyreika Guest*, intimacy director; Rachel West*, lighting designer; Jos N Banks+/^, costume designer; Matthew Chase+, production manager; Rashaad A. Bond+, producing artistic associate; Alex Rhyan+, production and operations director and Michael Weber+, artistic director.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT REVISITS
Continuing to forge its role as “Chicago’s Music Theatre,” Porchlight launched the Porchlight Revisits series, the only of its kind in the city, in 2013, especially created for the die-hard music theatre aficionado. Each season, Porchlight Music Theatre shares with audiences the rare opportunity to visit musicals that opened on the Great White Way and beyond but have since gone “unsung.” The finest music theatre artists in Chicago dust off these neglected treasures and escort audiences to the worlds of Broadway and off-Broadway’s past. Previous Porchlight Revisits productions include:
(2019/20) Call Me Madam;
(2018/19) 1776, Can-Can, Minnie’s Boys;
(2017/18) Do Re Mi, They’re Playing Our Song, Woman of the Year;
(2016/17) The Rink, Little Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever;
(2015/16) Chess, Applause, Babes in Arms;
(2014/15) Bells Are Ringing, City of Angels, Mack & Mabel;
(2013/14) Anyone Can Whistle, Golden Boy, Fade Out-Fade In.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE AS AN IN-RESIDENCE ORGANIZATION AT THE RUTH PAGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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 In-Residence Organization 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
Porchlight Music Theatre is the award-winning center for music theatre in Chicago. Through live performance, youth education and community outreach we impact thousands of lives each season, bringing the magic of musicals to our theatre home at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in the Gold Coast and to neighborhoods across the city. Porchlight has built a national reputation for boldly reimagining classic musicals, supporting new works and young performers, and showcasing Chicago’s most notable music theatre artists, all through the intimate and powerful theatrical lens of the “Chicago Style.”
Now in its 27th season, Porchlight’s quarter-century production history includes more than 70 mainstage works with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Porchlight’s commitment to the past, present and future of music theatre led the company to develop the Porchlight Revisits and New Faces Sing Broadway program series, both quickly becoming audience favorites.
Porchlight’s education and outreach programs serve schools, youth of all ages and skill levels and community organizations, most notably the ongoing collaboration with Chicago Youth Centers. Porchlight annually awards dozens of full scholarships and hundreds of free tickets to ensure accessibility and real engagement with this uniquely American art form.
The company’s many honors include 178 Joseph Jefferson Award (Jeff) nominations and 45 Jeff awards, as well as 33 Black Theatre Alliance (BTA) nominations and 12 BTA awards. In 2019, Porchlight graduated to the Large Theatre tier of the Equity Jeff Awards, and was honored with eight nominations in both technical and artistic categories and won three awards in its inaugural year in this tier, most notably Best Ensemble for Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies.
Through the global pandemic, Porchlight emerged as one of Chicago’s leaders in virtual programming, quickly launching a host of free offerings like Sondheim @ 90 Roundtables, Movie Musical Mondays, Porchlight by Request: Command Performances and WPMT: Classic Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio. For the 2020-2021 season, Porchlight’s fall schedule included all-new ticketed virtual programs including Broadway by the Decade, New Faces Sing Broadway 1987, Chicago Sings Rock & Roll Broadway, New Faces Sing Broadway 1961 and the return of The Ruffians’ Burning Bluebeard as well as collaborations with Hershey Felder and L.A. Theatre Works. Porchlight recently launched its first summer performance schedule in 2021 that included a sold-out performance of New Faces Sing Broadway 1979 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, the premiere of its outdoor music series Broadway in your Backyard, performed throughout Chicagoland this summer and special appearances at Sundays on State and Navy Pier’s Chicago Live Again.
Porchlight Music Theatre continues its eighth season of “lost” musicals series with Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange, lyrics and book by Stew+, music by Heidi Rodewald* and Stew+, direction by Donterrio+, music directed by Justin Akira Kono+ and choreography by Terri K Woodall*, February 16 and 17. Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange is presented for three performances-only: Wednesday, February 16 at 7:00 p.m. and Thursday, February 17 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets are $49 and are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from Actors’ Equity Foundation; Allstate; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Chapman | Spingola, LLP; Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation; Gen Ops Plus; Elegant Event Lighting; Glimpse Vision; James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation; Hearty Boys; A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation; The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince; the Pritzker Traubert Foundation; Ryan and Spaeth, Inc.; Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation; The Saints and Dr. Scholl 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 wishes to thank members of the Matching Gift Corporate Program including Abbvie; Allstate; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Peoples Gas; Pepsico; Polk Bros Foundation and The Saints.