Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Art Beat


Images curtesy of CUR(8)Chicago: Kiara Lanier.

Southside Chicago Natives Collaborate to Help Fund the Historic Opportunity for Stokes to be the Youngest African-American Student to Attend the Esteemed Florence Academy of Art

CUR(8)Chicago and Silent Funny are proud to present the 22-year-old multidisciplinary, identity based performance artist and Chicago native in collaboration with Kiara Lanier at Silent Funny, 4106 W. Chicago Ave., Saturday, March 24. Stokes is the first African-American student to attend the prestigious Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy with a handpicked class of highly skilled artists. This event is one of two exhibits planned to provide financial support for this historic opportunity to study with master painters and nurture Stokes’ natural gifts as an artist. Doors open at 7 p.m., the seated performance begins at 8 p.m. and event ends at 10 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at

Thelonious Stokes with his work “Captive Girl on Green,” oil on linen in artist’s frame, 36 inches x 36 inches x 10 inches.

In an intimate performance featuring singer/songwriter/actress Kiara Lanier of TV’s “The Chi,” Stokes juxtaposes family safety and mass incarceration. “Gates and Fences” elucidates the notion of transformational rehabilitation utilizing art, music and the muses of Stokes and Lanier. Both performers are Southside Chicago natives and utilize the performance medium to provide a platform to inspire others. Presented by CUR(8)Chicago and hosted at Silent Funny on Chicago’s West side, the raw warehouse will be transformed into a landscape of American civilization fighting systematic injustice with the performance depicting a scene from a dining table in an urban home. In the discussion between a mother and son surrounded by symbolic fencing and the presence of lives affected by the criminal justice system, Stokes will unveil this conceptual ground, simultaneously showing the first piece of the Thelonious Stokes “Caged Black Paintings” collection and the “White Fence Paintings” collection. Stokes and Lanier have collaborated to compose an original score that will be sung by Lanier. The Three-part performance will culminate with Stokes’ call to action, urging the audience to support organizations committed to social justice and incarceration reform.

Stokes says he became an artist for no reason other than to thrive. He utilizes art as a vehicle to reform systematic injustice and redefine our contextual beliefs of what it means to be a man. “Being the first African American to attend the school makes me feel grateful,” expressed Stokes. “Grateful yet aware of the relevance of institutional racism. By being exposed to the beauty of oil painting, I am now able to break the barriers of being defined as Black in America. I want to not only impact art itself, I ultimately want to share light with the inconsistencies of ethics and morale.”

“New Lisa; Captive Girl on Green” by Thelonious Stokes. Oil on linen, 36 inches x 36 inches, unframed.

Thelonious Stokes describes himself as a multidisciplinary, identity-based performance artist from Chicago. He uses performance as an objective medium, extracting black expectations as conversation for cultural extremes to re-conceptualize the black experience as foreign stationery, as a displaced individual likening one to being a foreigner. In his first collection, "The Caged Black Paintings," Stokes houses his multi-dimensional, chiaroscuro-style oil paintings in hand-welded metal cages, redefining the frame around art. His work stands out with each piece housed behind metal bars, reminiscent of cages looked at as housing devices to gesticulate a Western reference.

Stokes is the founder of Thelovism, his production company where he serves as director and editor, producing videos for buzzing rap artists Taylor Bennett, Joey Purp and his younger brother Satchel Stokes, a blossoming performer who has been a source of inspiration for his art. He also works with Campaign for Youth Justice as a national spokesperson working to ensure that youth are not tried, sentenced or incarcerated in the adult criminal justice system.

Named after American jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk, Stokes was born to create. He grew up influenced by his mother, jazz singer Vikki Stokes, his cousin, artist Dale Washington and some of Chicago's most celebrated talents like Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mars Williams, DJ Jesse De La Pena, Jazz Singer Bobbi Wilson and the late great composer William Russo.


Chicago native Kiara Lanier is a vocal performance artist, songwriter and model who lives by her grandfather's mantra, "The only purpose of the tongue is to teach and heal." Using mixed media musical installation and sound healing in her performance, Lanier’s spiritual, soulful and sultry work covers themes of identity and ancestry with vocal loops, field samples and experimental choreography. Lanier studied performance art with The Meredith Monk Foundation, collaborated in David Bowie’s Film ‘Station to Station,’ released a two part album “Tongues and Teaspoons” in September 2017 and has starred in television shows “American Idol,” “Empire” and most recently “The Chi.” 

ABOUT CUR(8)Chicago

CUR(8)Chicago, an event production and experience design company, founded by Josephine Lauer Washuk.  Washuk is a creative strategist who meets the needs of a diverse client portfolio. With a mission to discover and develop authentic talent, brands and organizations, her vision is that all individuals and organizations fulfill their highest potential. 


Silent Funny is a 501(c)(3) arts space and community hub in Chicago's West Humboldt Park neighborhood. The organization believes that everyone can have life-changing experiences with the arts and strives to create a haven where art, artists and everyday people connect in a contemporary and active space that is inclusive and inspiring.


The Florence Academy of Art was founded in 1991 by Daniel Graves to provide the highest level of instruction in classical drawing, painting and sculpture. Graves' vision of the Academy is its potential to train a select group of highly skilled Realist painters and sculptors. Since 1991, the Academy has grown to nine studio locations in three countries, 25 principle instructors, ten assistant instructors and six administrative staff, giving instruction and service to 150 students from 35 countries. To date, 600 students have attended The Florence Academy of Art for at least one trimester; this number includes 325 students who have completed the full program of study and are considered graduates. In January 2015, the Academy opened its second branch at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ. Jordan Sokol is the academic director and Richard Greathouse and Amaya Gurpide are Principal Instructors. Their mission is to provide the highest level of instruction in classical methods of drawing, painting and sculpture for students wishing to pursue careers as professional artists in the Realist tradition.

CUR(8)Chicago and Silent Funny are proud to present the 22-year-old multidisciplinary, identity based performance artist and Chicago native Thelonious Stokes and his exhibit “Gates and Fences: The Performance” in collaboration with Kiara Lanier at Silent Funny, 4106 W. Grand Ave., Saturday, March 24. Stokes is the first African-American student to attend the prestigious Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy with a handpicked class of highly skilled artists. This event is one of two exhibits planned to provide financial support for this historic opportunity to study with master painters and nurture Stokes’ natural gifts as an artist. Doors open at 7 p.m., the seated performance begins at 8 p.m. and event ends at 10 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at

Monday, March 19, 2018

OPENING: U.S. Premiere of Madcap Danish Comedy, BAD GIRLS: THE STYLISTS Via Akvavit Theatre Through 4/14/18

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Akvavit Theatre Presents the U.S. Premiere of
By Astrid Saalbach
Translated by Michael Evans
Directed by Co-Artistic Director Breahan Pautsch
March 21 – April 14 at Strawdog Theatre Company

The cast of Akvavit Theatre’s U.S. premiere of BAD GIRLS: THE STYLISTS includes (left to right) Jennifer Adams, Kim Boler, Jennifer Cheung, Kirstin Franklin and Madelyn Loehr.

I'll be out for the press opening on March 22nd, so check back soon for my full review. I adore black comedies, especially when they feature women. I'm bringing a hairdresser friend along for this one, and we can't wait. As a half Swede/half German in heritage, I'm particularly fond of Akvavit and their mission statement of "Seeking the universal through the voices of contemporary Nordic playwrights"

Akvavit Theatre is pleased to present the U.S. premiere of the madcap Danish comedy BAD GIRLS: THE STYLISTS by Astrid Saalbach, translated by Michael Evans and directed by Co-Artistic Director Breahan Pautsch, playing March 21 – April 14, 2018 at the new Strawdog Theatre Company, 1802 W. Berenice in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at 

In this black comedy, five women play 28 characters as they work through the absurdities and trials of trying to be a "good girl" in modern society: a professional success, a perfect mother, the right kind of feminist. BAD GIRLS: THE STYLISTS follows four hairstylists in a salon, trying to grow their business in a competitive field. In a series of hilarious and tragic scenes, the stylists lend their ears and their scissors to a parade of customers. They make up their hair, their faces, and give shape to the stories about who they are. But with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, life in the salon starts to get complicated – and dangerous. As the women's stories begin to unravel, the play examines what we owe to ourselves and each other, the difficulty of forming true connections, and all the ways in which we fail.  

BAD GIRLS: THE STYLISTS is a Danish comedy about four hair stylists and one peculiar patron, mysteriously named "A."  Five actors play 28 roles in this madcap dark comedy that examines the intersection of identity and appearance, what it means to be female, and the creative process.

The production team for BAD GIRLS: THE STYLISTS includes: Elyse Balogh (scenic design), Lily Walls (costume design), David Goodman-Edberg (lighting design), Nigel Harsch (sound design), Hillarie Shockley (props design), Rick Gilbert and Victor Bayona (violence/intimacy design) Keith Ryan (hair/wig design), Lindsay Tornquist (asst. director), Harrison Ornelis (technical director) and Hannah Harper-Smith (stage manager).


Location: Strawdog Theatre Company, 1802 W. Berenice, Chicago
Dates: Preview: Wednesday, March 21 at 8 pm
Press performance: Thursday, March 22 at 8 pm
Regular run: Thursday, March 23 – Saturday, April 14, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 4 pm. 
Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular Run: $25. Students/seniors/industry $15. Tickets are currently available at

About the Artists
Astrid Saalbach (Playwright) was trained as an actress at the Danish National School of Theatre from 1975 to 1978. She has received several awards including the Danish dramatist’s honor award and the lifelong grant of the Danish art fund. 

Michael Evans (Translator) went to Norway as an exchange student and just stayed there. Since the 1980s he has been working as a dramaturg at the Rogaland Theatre in Stavanger, where he has overseen four productions of Saalbach’s plays. His English translations of her plays have been seen in London, Chicago, Guelph and Toronto. His most recent translation was of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman for the Norwegian National Theatre.  His textbook Innføring I Dramaturgi is widely used in Scandinavia and is currently in it’s fifth printing.

Breahan Eve Pautsch (Director) is originally from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. She earned her BA in Theatre and English at UW-Madison and has been working in Chicago as an actor and director since 2003. She has been a company member with Akvavit Theatre since 2011, where she served as Literary Manager and Director of Development for several years before taking the position of co-Artistic Director at the beginning of 2017. She is also a company member with Indie Boots Theatre. As a director, she has worked with Akvavit, Raven Theatre, Wildclaw Theatre, The International Voices Project, Hobo Junction Productions, Full Voice Productions, Mudgeonsoul Cinema, Broken Nose Theatre and Stockyards Theatre Project. 

About Akvavit Theatre
Akvavit Theatre is haunted by Nordic visions: deep forests and ice-blue seas, the patience of the glacier, the sudden fury of the volcano, the arctic light and silence. Seeking the universal through the voices of contemporary Nordic playwrights, Akvavit Theatre is a kind of homecoming, a connecting back to the lands whose people and cultures have for generations been a part of the great prairies of North America that we call home. And like our namesake beverage, Akvavit brings a “strong spirit” to the work that we produce. Skål, Skál, Kippis! For additional information, visit

Saturday, March 17, 2018




For the first time in its history, Aurora’s Paramount Theatre will present a brand new musical.

August Rush, a world premiere co-production with Arlington Virginia's Signature Theatre, was announced today as the thrilling finale of Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway series.

Internationally acclaimed director John Doyle, who earned a Tony Award for Sweeney Todd and also staged the Broadway revival of The Color Purple starring Jennifer Hudson, will direct this new live stage adaption of the Oscar-nominated Warner Brothers film about a musically gifted orphan and his search for his birth parents. The movie August Rush starred Robin Williams, Keri Russell and Freddie Highmore and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

August Rush, debuting April 24-June 2, 2019 at the Paramount, press opening Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m., will be preceded in the theater’s 2018-19 Broadway series by three more blockbuster productions: Legally Blonde (September 5-October 21, 2018), The Wizard of Oz (November 14, 2018-January 6, 2019) and The Producers (February 6-March 17, 2019).

Just as it has since it launched its first Broadway Musical Series in 2011, Paramount will offer the same “Buy Two Shows, Get Two Shows Free” subscription offer, with 2018-19 four-play packages starting as low as $72.

Renewals begin today, Monday, February 5 at 10 a.m., with current subscribers given first chance to secure their seats for all four shows.

During the renewal process, new subscribers can pre-order before the general public to get in line for seats. Pre-order reservations can be made online only at for the first week. Starting Monday, February 12 at 10 a.m., new subscribers can pre-order over the phone or in person as well.

Single tickets go on sale in June.

For information, visit, call (630) 896-6666, or visit the Paramount Theatre box office, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora.

More about Paramount’s first world premiere musical 
August Rush

“When our Broadway Series began in 2011, we had big dreams for what it could become. Over the years, those dreams have been brought to life again and again. And now, one of our biggest dreams is finally becoming a reality,” said Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre. “August Rush, the first major project from our New Works Development Program guided by my colleague Amber Mak, represents the next step in Paramount’s evolution into one of the nation’s preeminent regional theaters. What does this mean to our subscribers? It means they could be the first ever to see this production before it goes anywhere else, perhaps even to Broadway!”

“I’m excited about the development of this new and unique musical,” said director John Doyle. “August Rush centers on the emotional and musical journey of a young boy – a lost boy. Through music he reunites with the parents he otherwise may never have found. The ‘hope’ that the story highlights is powerful. That, more than anything, is what attracted me to the material, and I’m honored to be a part of its journey.”

August Rush is the story of Evan Taylor, an 11-year-old orphan who believes in music like some believe in fairytales. In a cruel twist of fate, Evan’s mother, an accomplished classical cellist, and his father, the lead singer of a rock band, don’t even know of his existence. From one foster home to the next, Evan refuses to give up hope in finding his parents. On this relentless search, he surrenders himself to the symphony of sounds in the city and follows the music, discovering his own genius along the way. In this inspiring love story, music is everywhere, but will it lead Evan home?

Working closely with Paramount and Signature is Mark Mancina, the celebrated composer of the film’s platinum selling soundtrack, who continues as composer and co-lyricist for the new stage version of August Rush. Mancina arranged and produced many songs for The Lion King and contributed music to Pixar’s hit film Moana.

The creative team includes Emmy Award-winning bookwriter and co-lyricist Glen Berger, who co-wrote the book for Broadway’s SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark.

Orchestrations and additional music are by Dave Metzger, who orchestrated the films August Rush, Training Day and Tarzan and received a Tony nomination for his work on Disney’s The Lion King.

The film August Rush was written by Paul Castro and Nick Castle.

Like Paramount’s Million Dollar Quartet earlier this season and Once still to come, the actors in August Rush will replace the orchestra and play all instruments live on stage, creating the beautiful symphony of this moving, inherently musical story.

The cast, TBA, will be shared by both productions, first at Signature, February 5-March 3, 2019, and then at Paramount, April 24-June 2, 2019. Paramount’s press opening is Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. August Rush is rated PG for some adult themes and language.

Paramount Theatre’s 2018-19 Broadway series also includes:

Legally Blonde
September 5-October 21, 2018  
Press opening: Saturday, September 8 at 8 p.m.
Directed by Trent Stork
Music and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture

OH MY GOD. Oh my God, you guys! Paramount is kicking off its 2018-19 Broadway season in high fashion with the one and only Elle Woods.

A member of UCLA’s Delta Nu sorority, Elle has a seemingly perfect life and perfect future. All she needs is her boyfriend Warner to cement it with a proposal. But her dream life turns into a nightmare when Warner decides to break it off because she’s not serious enough for him. As if! Heartbroken and in despair, Elle hatches a near-impossible plan to win him back: get into Harvard Law School. What? Like it’s hard? A story of rising to a challenge and defying expectations, all while looking fabulous, Legally Blonde is the perfect way to push Paramount’s eighth season into high gear and never let up.

Trent Stork, a veteran of 16 productions and casting director at the Paramount, will make his Aurora directorial debut with Legally Blonde. A big heart, bigger dance numbers, comedy, devastating ballads and more are all in store for Stork’s fresh take on the 2007 film starring Reese Witherspoon, bringing Blonde into 2018 and exploring what it’s like for a young woman to defy expectations and achieve her dreams. Legally Blonde is rated
PG-13 for some profanity and sexual references.

The Wizard of Oz
November 14, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Press opening: Saturday, November 17 at 8 p.m.
Directed by Amber Mak
By L. Frank Baum
With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Based upon the classic motion picture owned by Turner Entertainment Co. and distributed in all media by Warner Bros.

You may have been to Oz before, but never like this.

Stuck on a Kansas farm with her aunt, uncle and dog Toto, Dorothy Gale wishes for a better and more exciting life. When a twister hits, Dorothy is whisked away to the wonderful world of Oz, a fantastical place full of munchkins, a cowardly lion, a tin man without a heart, a living scarecrow…and a wicked witch who will do whatever it takes to stop Dorothy.

Director Amber Mak absolutely dazzled audiences with Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She made kids of all ages believe in Santa again with Elf The Musical. Next she’s taking audiences over the rainbow in what is sure to be one of Paramount’s most talked about musicals yet.

Thousands of families come through the Paramount’s doors each holiday season, and with its two-story Christmas tree and fully-decorated lobby, everyone can celebrate the season by reliving their cherished memories of this classic movie, live on stage at the beautiful Paramount Theatre. Just remember, my pretties, The Wizard of Oz is rated PG for some scary moments.

The Producers
February 6 – March 17, 2019
Press opening Saturday, February 9 at 8 p.m.
Directed by Jim Corti
Music and Lyrics by Mel Brooks
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
A New Mel Brooks Musical

Under the right circumstances, a producer could make more money with a flop than he could with a hit. And so begins one of the most hilarious cons in musical theater history.

Max Bialystock used to be the king of Broadway, but after producing one too many flops, he’s now just a has-been forced into seducing little old ladies for money. After an off the cuff comment from his accountant Leo Bloom, dollar signs go off over his head (as well as “beautiful girls wearing nothing but pearls.”) With reluctant help from Bloom, Max goes in search of the worst musical ever. Will it be a flop? It better, or they might find themselves in prison.

Who doesn’t adore the original, uproariously funny 1967 film starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder? Or the 2001 live stage version starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, which got its start in Chicago and went on to win a record 12 Tony Awards? Or the 2005 major motion picture that had audiences laughing out loud? All three were the true definition of farce: “a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.”

Of course, nobody does comedy like Mel Brooks. And nobody does shows like the Paramount, particularly when helmed by Artistic Director Jim Corti, director of Chicago’s past three consecutive Jeff Award winners for Best Production-Musical-Large (Les Misérables, West Side Story and Sweeney Todd-The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), and Best Director of two (Les Misérables and Sweeney Todd.)

“Who doesn’t love a backstage musical comedy, and nowadays we all sure could use a laugh,” said Corti. “The Producers is outrageous and over the top. No stereotype is spared!”

Audiences can expect a really big show that looks spectacular, moving from the office, to the street, to the theater, and brings the hustle and bustle of Broadway New York right to the Paramount stage. Reminder to little old ladies: The Producers is rated PG-13 for strong language, sexual humor and adult content.

Subscribe now to Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway Series for as little as $18 per ticket

The rewards of subscribing to Paramount’s 2018-19 Broadway Series are ample – four amazing, Broadway-quality musicals at one of the most glamorous Art Deco theaters in the Midwest, all for less than the price and hassle of seeing just one show downtown.

In addition to the lowest major theater subscription prices in Illinois, exclusive benefits for Paramount Broadway subscribers are first choice of the same seats for all four shows, free ticket exchange privileges and first notice of added shows and special events, all delivered with a smile by Paramount’s Subscriber Services Staff. Broadway subscribers also receive first notice and exclusive pre-sale discounts of 10% off single tickets for Broadway performances and other select shows at the Paramount, including concerts by internationally acclaimed music artists, comedy, dance, holiday shows, movies and family presentations.

Look for an announcement of the balance of the Paramount’s 2018-19 season in the summer.

About The Paramount Theatre
The Paramount Theatre (, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora, is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in the second largest city in Illinois.

The Paramount opened on September 3, 1931. It was designed by renowned theater architects C.W. and George L. Rapp, and is graced with a beautiful Venetian decor with a strong 1930s Art Deco influence. It also was the first air-conditioned building outside of Chicago. From silent films to the first “Talkies,” from Vaudeville to Bobby Vinton, from Dionne to Donny and Marie, the Paramount Theatre has provided Aurora and the Fox Valley the best of entertainment for generations.

In 1976, the Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA) restored the Paramount to its original grandeur. The Paramount Arts Centre reopened in 1978, offering a variety of touring theatrical, musical, comedy, dance and family programming. In 2006, a 12,000-square-foot, two-story Grand Gallery lobby was added including a Grand Staircase, new box office, café and art gallery.

In 2010, ACCA hired Tim Rater as President and CEO of the Paramount Theatre. Rater’s mission was to boost the theater’s programming and audience base by transforming the Paramount into one of Chicago’s top self-producing, professional Equity musical theaters. Rater hired award-winning Chicago director Jim Corti as the Paramount’s first-ever artistic director. In 2011, the Paramount introduced its inaugural four-play Broadway Musical Series with Corti’s critically acclaimed production of My Fair Lady.

In just six blockbuster seasons since, Paramount has leapt to the top of Chicago’s musical theater scene, winning unanimous audience and critical acclaim, and an unprecedented number of Joseph Jefferson nominations and awards, including Best Musical-Large for the past three seasons.

Today, the 1,888-seat Paramount Theatre remains nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, historic beauty and superb acoustics. More than 36,000 subscribers from throughout the city and suburbs enjoy Paramount’s Broadway-quality productions at highly affordable prices, making Paramount the third largest subscription house in the nation.

In addition to its Broadway series, Paramount continues to present an eclectic array of internationally known comedians, music stars, dance events and family shows, and on most Mondays, screens a classic movie for just $1.

The Paramount Theatre is one of three live performance venues programmed and managed by the ACCA, which also oversees the Paramount’s “sister” stage, the intimate, 173-seat Copley Theatre located directly across the street from the Paramount at
8 E. Galena Blvd., as well as RiverEdge Park, downtown Aurora’s summer outdoor concert venue at 360 N. Broadway.

Additionally, Rater and his team are preparing to open the new Paramount School of Performing Arts in the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, now under construction directly adjacent to the Paramount. Registration opens in the fall for a full roster of classes, private lessons and camps in acting, music and dance to launch in early 2019. Courses for children as young as six months will be offered with opportunities for adults and seniors, as well. Paramount’s new school will encourage and train young actors, dancers and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurture the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and add to the excitement, cultural and economic activity in downtown Aurora.

The Paramount Theatre continues to expand its artistic and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Tim Rater, President and CEO, Aurora Civic Center Authority; Jim Corti, Artistic Director, Paramount Theatre; a dedicated Board of Trustees and a devoted staff of live theater and music professionals.

For more, visit or call (630) 896-6666.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

REVIEW: Near Death Experience starring Neil Tobin, Necromancer Select Dates Through May 6, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Near Death Experience starring Neil Tobin, Necromancer
By Catherine Hellmann, guest writer 

Photos by Jonathan Cohon, Prism Studios, unless otherwise noted

“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.”

As Neil Tobin opens his fascinating one-man show with this line, he poses the question, ”You were expecting light, escapist entertainment? Did you read the program?” Immediately, the audience expects a theater-going experience unlike any other.

The location for this limited-run show certainly sets the stage, literally. Held at the beautiful Rosehill Cemetery, the largest cemetery in Chicago at 350 acres, many prominent Chicagoans are laid to rest here. (My friend and I also saw six deer among the tombstones on our walk prior to the show.)

Performances are presented at Rosehill Cemetery in historic May Chapel, built by noted architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee in 1899 and rarely open to the public. (Photo: Jonathan Cohon)

While this may sound morbid, well, okay, it kind of is, Tobin’s point is to celebrate the life we have and make the most of our time here on earth. By having his performance truly “close to death,” the audience is reminded that we can be whisked away from this world at any time; we must appreciate this life and make a resolution to live it fully.

The unusual locale for this unique show is a treat. The May Chapel
is exquisite and rarely opened to the public. Built in 1899, the mosaic floors, carved oak-beam ceilings, and glorious sun streaming through the lovely stained-glass windows remind us that there are so many undiscovered places to explore in our beloved city. Go just to see the Chapel and the “bonus time” is a show. (Tobin has a curious routine that encourages us to make the most of our “bonus time” in this world.)

Just what the heck is a “necromancer”? According to Merriam-Webster,
it is the “conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events.” Don’t worry---it is not a creepy seance you will be witnessing. No Ouija Boards are involved in the making of this show, either.

Tobin has routines on every day cultural references to death, like the kids’ game “Hangman,” horror movies, ghost-hunter stories on television, and the ubiquitous fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants which can predict our futures. (Tobin addresses the fortunes in cookies with gravitas, but we know how silly they can be. For instance, my favorite was my teen daughter recently had the hilarious fortune: “Keep your expectations reasonable.” While I told her this
is true, she felt ripped off by her lame future.) 

Tobin raises very thought-provoking observations on society, and our denial of death. In Victorian times, cemeteries were treated like parks, with families having picnics while honoring their ancestors. (Imagine telling your kids today that instead of Montrose Beach, you are taking them to Graceland…there is so much great Chicago history just north of Wrigley Field.) People began to fear death instead of accepting it; hence, the striking change in grave markers from monuments to flat headstones. Tobin also asked how many audience members have a will. There was a small scattering of hands, and he said that was typical of most Americans to not be prepared about the inevitable.

Being a magician, Tobin does have some tricks up his sleeve. (ba dum ching!) It doesn’t seem fair to reveal all of his material and ruin the surprises. While the subject matter and locale may suggest morbidity, Tobin’s message is to be life-affirming. 

Near Death Experience starring Neil Tobin, Necromancer is recommended.

Neil Tobin’s Near Death Experience has a limited run (as do all of us!) at May Chapel: Sunday March 11, Saturday April 14, Sunday April 15, Saturday May 5, and Sunday May 6. All shows begin at 3:00 and last an hour. Tickets are $25-$30 and are available at

Carpe Diem! 
(“This message brought to you by Latin, the official language of death.”--Neil Toban.) 

"RECOMMENDED ... Neil Tobin weaves magic into the show as he guides us on a journey to understanding our views on death and what could come from reshaping them. Most of the magic will leave even the most skeptical among us pondering what they just experienced ... Near Death Experience is perfect for adults who love interactive and site-specific theatre that makes you think. " — Picture This Post

"Tobin doesn't give us The Answers, but perhaps better questions ... meanwhile, we get to marvel at sleight of hand and sleight of mind, delivered with appropriately dark humor. Recommended ... your bravery will be rewarded." — Plays With John And Wendy

SAVE THE DATES: Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s 2018-2019 Season

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, in its 22nd Season, will present three stories that explore the fears preventing us from reaching out, the infinite mystery of the mind, and the heartbreaking love that spans space and time. 

Producing Artistic Director Nick Sandys speaks to the exciting and diverse lineup of the upcoming season: “This season we are thrilled to present three Chicago premieres that travel the length and breadth of style and substance, yet all examine the divisions and dualities within us in uniquely theatrical ways—a chilling science- fiction classic told from a startlingly new viewpoint, an award-winning mystery that takes you inside a crumbling mind, and a charming Irish-American literary romance that plays with time.” 

From October 11 to November 11, 2018, Remy Bumppo will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s famous novel, Frankenstein, in a fresh, new adaptation by Nick Dear directed by Remy Bumppo Artistic Assistant Ian Frank. As in the Royal National Theatre’s premiere, the duality of human nature will be embodied by two actors who will alternate the roles of the creator and his creature every other performance. Producing Artistic Director Nick Sandys and Core Ensemble Member Greg Matthew Anderson will tackle this thrilling feat this fall, alongside Core Ensemble Member Eliza Stoughton. 

The Father, a multi-award-winning hit from Paris, London, and New York, comes to Chicago for the first time from January 31 – March 3, 2019. Directed by Kay Martinovich and featuring Core Ensemble Members David Darlow and Linda Gillum, Florian Zeller’s tragi-comic mystery is a deeply poignant, unsentimental look at the cruelties of love, the limits of patience and the unsettling process of mental decay. 

Remy Bumppo’s 22nd season will conclude with the heartfelt, wistful (and might we add, very Irish) Bloomsday, directed by J.R. Sullivan and starring Remy Bumppo Core Ensemble Members Annabel Armour and Shawn Douglass, from May 16 and closing on Bloomsday itself, June 16, 2019. Steven Dietz’s lyrical new love story, set against the backdrop of Joyce’s groundbreaking Ulysses, transports us into a compassionate world of history, humor, and heartache, in a magical celebration of the present and nostalgic acceptance of the past. 
“As our world becomes more polarized, it is crucial for each of us to examine the faultlines within our own characters and the fears that prevent us from reaching out to each other,” explains Sandys, “The collaborative crucible of theatre, dares us to take an imaginative journey towards greater empathy. These three stories will thrill, chill and cheer our hearts through the intrepid questioning of these amazing characters, and help us to understand the dualities that all of us battle every day.” 

All productions in Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s 2018-2019 season will be performed at the Greenhouse Theater Center at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago. Visit for more information on subscription and single ticket sales. 


Frankenstein adapted by Nick Dear based on the novel by Mary Shelley October 11 – November 11, 2018 

The Father by Florian Zeller January 31 – March 3, 2019 

Bloomsday by Steven Dietz May 16 – June 16, 2019 

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company is an ensemble based theatre company that believes in the power and beauty of language, and we know that conversation is an agent of change. As our motto think theatre suggests, the plays we produce will make you think - actively - about the complex issues we face as people, as a community, and as humankind. 

Since its inception in 1996, the Company has been in residence at the Greenhouse Theater Center in Lincoln Park (formerly Victory Gardens Theater). Remy Bumppo currently serves 1,200 subscribers, plus thousands of single ticket buyers, who come to the theatre from all over Chicago and its suburbs. 

OPENING: U.S. Premiere of Hang Via Remy Bumppo 3/21-4/29/18

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

Remy Bumppo Presents the U.S. Premiere of hang by debbie tucker green 

Three people. One room. One woman’s unspeakable decision in the balance. As words break down in the face of human suffering, an unnamed woman is ushered into a strange government office in order to make a devastating decision in the U.S. Premiere of debbie tucker green’s hang at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company. The show runs from March 21 through April 29, 2018. Press Opening is Monday, March 26, 2018 at 7:00 pm at the Greenhouse Theater Center and stars Patrese D. McClain, Eleni Pappageorge, and Remy Bumppo Core Ensemble Member Annabel Armour. 

This darkly humorous and shatteringly poetic 2015 hit from London’s Royal Court places us on the raw knife-edge between justice and retribution, and will make you ask, “what will she do?” 

Armour speaks to her excitement on her role in this production: “As an actor, I would say I am about as excited as I am scared to work on this, more than I ever have been. The dialogue has short, sharp shocks, and it is a very complicated through line for each character.” 

Tackling the playwright’s poetic language was one of the reasons that Producing Artistic Director Nick Sandys was also drawn to the script: “debbie tucker green is one of those rising playwrights who not only deep dives into our current culture to emotionally investigate painful psychological truths with a clear gaze but also employs some of the most gorgeous, muscular, poetic language. Her plays – born bad, dirty butterfly, truth and reconciliation—have all seared me when I read them and stuck in my mind, intense, oblique, unwavering, topical; and hang is no different.” 

“I am so excited that Remy Bumppo is producing the U.S. premiere of this play by this important black British voice, and am excited to see this cast and director, Keira Fromm, dig into this rich, dark play that promises to stick in your mind long after,” says Sandys. 

The U.S. Premiere of hang by debbie tucker green will be performed March 21 through April 29, 2018 at the Greenhouse Theater Center at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave in Chicago. Single tickets are now on sale at or by calling the Greenhouse at 773.404.7336. 

Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s 2017/2018 Season Sponsors are Geoffrey A. Anderson, Nancy and Gene DeSombre, and Brenda and James Grusecki. 
Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s Executive Sponsor for hang is Martin Treu. 

Annabel Armour*+ Patrese D. McClain* Eleni Pappageorge 

Production Team: 
Direction by Keira Fromm++
Assistant Direction by Matt Dominguez
Stage Management by Mara Filler*
Scenic Design by Linda Buchanan
Costume Design by Christine Pascual
Lighting Design by Chris Binder
Assistant Lighting Design by Andrei Borges
Sound Design and Original Music by Christopher Kriz Properties Design by Amanda Herrmann Dramaturgy by Danielle Taylor
Dialect Coaching by Eva Breneman
Assistant Dialect Coaching by Vahishta Vafadari 
+Denotes Remy Bumppo Theatre Company Core Ensemble Member
*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional Actors and Stage Managers ++Denotes a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society 

Greenhouse Theater Center Box Office, 773.404.7336 or Online at Previews: $32.50 - $37.50
Opening Night: $57.50
Regular Run: Wed-Fri $42.50 - $47.50, Sat-Sun $47.50 - $52.50 
Between the Lines: $57.50
AD/TT Tickets: $27.00
Industry Tickets: $15.00 all performances except Opening Night Student Tickets: $10.00 all performances except Opening Night
Group Discounts: Available for parties of 10 or more, call 773.404.7336 

The Greenhouse Theater Center is fully accessible with automatic exterior doors, elevator access to the second floor, and reserved ADA seating in each theatre upon request. To request ADA seating, please contact the Box Office at 773.404.7336. 

Parking and Transportation: 
Accessible via the CTA Red, Purple, and Brown Lines from the Fullerton Stop and the #8 Halsted, #74 Fullerton, and #73 Armitage Bus lines. 
The Former Children's Memorial Hospital Parking Garage, Now the Lincoln Garage
. The new parking costs for the Lincoln Garage are based on an hourly rate. Do not park in spaces that are designated for DePaul, or your car will be towed. The current cost is $10 for 2- 4 hours. 

ATTENTION: Please read all signs in the garage carefully. You must display your parking receipt in the dashboard at all times, otherwise your car may be subject to towing. Helpful Tip - Because construction has started, construction workers will be using the parking garage. While the garage will still be accessible to the public at any time of day, the garage may be especially crowded until after 6:00 pm. 

Street Parking 
There is zoned parking (and 2” snow restriction) on most streets surrounding the theatre. There is NO PARKING on Lincoln Avenue on Friday or Saturday nights after 10pm. There is FREE parking on Webster and Larrabee Streets, along Oz Park, and on Orchard north of Belden. Always read and follow the instructions on posted street signs to ensure that your car will not be towed. 

SE Corner of Webster and Lincoln
There is a LAZ parking lot located on the SE corner of Webster and Lincoln. (555 West Webster Ave.). Parking prices do change based on events in the area. To reserve your spot or check parking costs, please visit LAZ website here. Payment is by Credit Card only. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:


Michael Weber, artistic director of Porchlight Music Theatre, is proud to announce Porchlight Music Theatre’s 24th season that includes the 2018 – 2019 Mainstage, Porchlight Revisits and New Faces Sing Broadway seasons. Porchlight’s Mainstage and Porchlight Revisits return to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street.  

A variety of subscriptions for the Mainstage and Porchlight Revisits are on sale to the general public beginning Friday, March 9 at 10 a.m. at or by phone at 773.777.9884. Single tickets for all performances go on sale Friday, June 1 at 10 a.m.

The 2018 – 2019 Mainstage Season

Gypsy, starring E. Faye Butler as “Rose,” is the legendary musical telling the heart wrenching story of a mother who raises her daughters to assume the heights, whether they want to or not, and featuring one of the gold-standard musical scores, October 12 – November 25;

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, starring Matt Crowle as “The D’Ysquith Family” and winner of the 2014 Best Musical Tony Award, is the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way, January 25 – March 10, 2019 and

A Chorus Line, directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier, is the winner of nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, is the story of Broadway dancers who put their lives on the line for the opportunity to do what they have always dreamed of doing, April 10 – May 26, 2019. 

The 2018 – 2019 Porchlight Revisits Season

Porchlight Music Theatre continues Porchlight Revisits in its 2018 – 2019 season. This hugely popular “lost musicals” in fully staged concert series offers classic productions that have been rarely seen in Chicago and includes a fun, fact-filled multmedia “Behind the Scenes Backstory” presentation before each performance created and hosted by Weber.

The sixth season of Porchlight Revisits includes: 

1776 (1969) 
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards, Book by Peter Stone 
Wednesday, Nov. 14 and Thursday, Nov. 15
This 50th Anniversary production of the story of America’s birth includes Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others brought to life with their eternal challenges, impassioned arguments and world-changing vision fought over in Philadelphia in those sweltering days of summer nearly 250 years ago.

Can-Can (1953)
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter, Book by Abe Burrows 
Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7, 2019 
Set in Paris in 1893, it’s the story of La Môme Pistache, a café owner who decides to feature the then-scandalous and illicit dance, the Can-Can, on the stage of her establishment. Such an action in defiance of the law could result in disaster for both her business and her love life 

Minnie’s Boys (1970)
Book by Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher, Music by Larry Grossman and Lyrics by Hal Hackady
Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23, 2019
A joyful and loving look at the young Marx Brothers as they chart their journey from vaudeville toward Hollywood and their invention of the greasepaint mustache, the honking horn and the tickling of those famous piano keys.
The 2018 – 2019 New Faces Sing Broadway Season

New Faces Sings Broadway takes you in a musical time machine from the start to the finish of one full season on Broadway. A celebrity host introduces audiences to the next generation of music theatre artists while serving as guide to the stars, songs and stories of that season. Peppered with photos and films of the era in an exciting multimedia presentation, trivia games with prizes, sing-alongs and more, the 2018 – 2019 season will be performed at locations to be announced and features:

New Faces Sing Broadway 1964, hosted by WGN’s Paul Lisnek
Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30
Songs from Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof and other productions from 1964 are included in this New Faces Sing Broadway.

New Faces Sing Broadway 1941 
Monday, Feb. 25 – Wednesday, Feb 27, 2019
Songs from Lady in the Dark, Pal Joey, Cabin in the Sky and other productions from 1941 are included in this New Faces Sing Broadway.

New Faces Sing Broadway NOW 
Monday, June 3 – Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Songs from Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, The Band’s Visit and other productions from Broadway’s current season. 
New Faces Sing Broadway is generously sponsored by Elaine Cohen and Arlen Rubin.

Full production artistic leadership, actors, and location will be released at a future date.

Porchlight Music Theatre’s 2018 – 2019 season includes, in chronological order:

Starring E. Faye Butler
October 12 – November 25
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Arthur Laurents
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: Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Run: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m.
and Sundays at 4 p.m. 
Weekday Matinee: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 1:30 p.m.
Chicago’s E. Faye Butler adopts the mantle of Broadway’s legendary “stage mother” in this heart wrenching story of a woman who raises her daughters to assume the heights, whether they want to or not, and featuring one of the gold-standard musical scores including “Let Me Entertain You,” “Together (Wherever We Go),” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and others.

Ms. Butler’s performance is sponsored by Michael and Mona Heath.

New Faces Sings Broadway – 1964
Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30 
Hosted by WGN’s Paul Lisnek, featuring songs from the shows Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof and others.
New Faces Sings Broadway takes you in a musical time machine from the start to the finish of the 1964 Broadway season. Peppered with photos and films of the era in an exciting multimedia presentation, trivia games with prizes, sing-alongs and more, a celebrity host introduces you to the next generation of music theatre artists while serving as your guide to the stars, songs and stories of a season past on the Great White Way. Location TBA. 

Porchlight Revisits
1776 (1969)
Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 and Thursday, Nov. 15 at 1:30 and 7:30
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone 

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Tony Award-winner, Porchlight Music Theatre brings to Chicago the impassioned arguments and world-changing visions that were fought over in those sweltering summer days in Philadelphia nearly 250 years ago. The historic players will be present in the characterizations of Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others, showcasing the compelling debate of what are we willing to compromise to build a new country will ring out louder than the toll of the Liberty Bell.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Starring Matt Crowle
January 25 – March 10, 2019
Music by Steven Lutvak
Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak
Book by Robert L. Freedman
Previews: Friday, Jan. 25 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 27 at
2 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. 
Opening Night: Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular Run: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. 
Weekday Matinee: Thursday, Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m.

Winner of the 2014 Tony Award as BEST MUSICAL, it’s the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by—you guessed it—eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way. All the while, Monty has to juggle his mistress (she’s after more than just love), his fiancée (she’s his cousin but who’s keeping track?), and the constant threat of landing behind bars! Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance…and be done in time for tea. Here’s a show that will have you dying with laughter which the The New York Times called “Among the most inspired and entertaining new musicals."

New Faces Sing Broadway – 1941
Monday, Feb. 25 – Wednesday, Feb.  27, 2019 
Featuring songs from the shows Funny Girl, Hello, Dolly!, Fiddler on the Roof and others.
New Faces Sings Broadway takes you in a musical time machine from the start to the finish of the 1941 Broadway season. Peppered with photos and films of the era in an exciting multimedia presentation, trivia games with prizes, sing-alongs and more, a celebrity host introduces you to the next generation of music theatre artists while serving as your guide to the stars, songs and stories of a season past on the Great White Way. Location TBA.

Porchlight Revisits 
Can-Can (1953)
Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, March 7 at 1:30 p.m. and 
7:30 p.m., 
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Abe Burrows                  
Set in Paris in 1893, it’s the story of Pistache, a café owner who decides to feature the then-scandalous and illicit dance, the Can-Can, on the stage of her establishment. Meanwhile, Aristide Forestier, a young, newly-appointed and over-zealous magistrate, decides to undertake a reform movement and sets his sights to clean up the city, starting with a prohibition of the titillating dance. Will Pistache’s defiance of the law end her business—and her love life? Featuring the hit Cole Porter songs “I Love Paris,” “C’est Magnifique” and “It’s All Right with Me,” Can-Can is a romantic, dancing, musical classic.

A Chorus Line
Directed and Choreographed by Brenda Didier
April 10 – May 26, 2019
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante
Previews: Wednesday April 10 at 7 p.m.; Thursday April 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday April 12 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 13 at 8 p.m.
Opening Night: Sunday, April 14 at 6 p.m.
Regular Run: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. 
Weekday Matinee: Thursday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m.
Winner of nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, this landmark work has electrified audiences around the world. In an empty theatre, on a bare stage, casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. For seventeen dancers, this audition is the chance of a lifetime. It's what they've worked for with every drop of sweat and every hour of training, putting their lives on the line for the opportunity to do what they've always dreamed of doing: to dance. Featuring an incomparable score including “What I Did for Love,” “One” and “Dance Ten, Looks Three,” you won't want to miss this singular sensation!

Porchlight Revisits
Minnie’s Boys (1970)
Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 23 at 1:30 p.m. and 
7:30 p.m.
Book by Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher
Music by Larry Grossman
Lyrics by Hal Hackady
Before they became Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo and Gummo, they were simply Julius, Leonard, Adolph, Herbert and Milton—The Marx Brothers of 110th Street in New York City. Their rise to stardom became legendary and their famous stage mother, Minnie Marx, was driving them every step of the way. Originally a starring vehicle for the great Shelley Winters, Minnie’s Boys is a joyful and loving look at one of the craziest families in American show business as they chart their journey from vaudeville toward Hollywood and their invention of the greasepaint mustache, the honking horn and the tickling of those famous piano keys.

New Faces Sing Broadway NOW
Monday, June 3 – Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Featuring songs from the shows Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, The Band’s Visit and others.
New Faces Sings Broadway takes you in a musical time machine from the start to the finish of this year’s Broadway season. Peppered with photos and films of today in an exciting multimedia presentation, trivia games with prizes, sing-alongs and more, a favorite Chicago theatre host introduces you to the next generation of music theatre artists while serving as your guide to the stars, songs and stories of the current season on the Great White Way. Location TBA.

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. 

As the home for music theatre in Chicago entering its 24th season, 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.” 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 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 the launch of a youth “Write Your Own Musical” Summer Camp in 2017. The company’s many accolades include 22 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and seven awards, as well as a total of 139 Joseph Jefferson Awards.

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