Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE'S
NEW FACES SING BROADWAY NOW,
MONDAY, FEB. 24 AT EVANSTON SPACE
AND TUESDAY, FEB. 25 AT THE ARTS CLUB OF CHICAGO
The Star of Freaky Friday The Musical Cory Goodrich Takes Audiences on A Tour of Broadway’s Current Season with a Cast of New Talent
All Photos by Austin Packard
The cast of NEW FACES SING BROADWAY NOW with host Cory Goodrich from Porchlight Music Theatre at Evanston SPACE
by Catherine Hellmann
From the familiar Hamilton and The Lion King to new(er) musicals like Jagged Little Pill (music by Alanis Morissette) and Ain’t Too Proud, The Life and Times of the Temptations, the “New Faces Sing Broadway Now” by Porchlight Music Theatre is a delightful evening of amazing talent. Held at Evanston Space on Chicago Avenue, this is a really cool venue for cabaret seating and enjoying a cocktail during the show (and before and after??). Space has hosted such acts as Dr. John, The Lumineers, and Alabama Shakes. There is also a recording studio in the venue and a pizza restaurant with a beer garden called Union Squared attached. It has everything!! A second show was held at The Arts Club of Chicago at 201 E. Ontario.
Hosted by the talented--and funny---Jeff-winner Cory Goodrich, she introduced the dazzling cast and joined in some of the routines herself. My companion (and former 7th grade student who is now a teacher herself! Life is cool...) and I really liked when Miss Goodrich tuned her guitar and made a crack about her “g-string being out of tune.” Ms. Goodrich can be seen in the upcoming production of Freaky Friday at Porchlight. That should be a hoot. It opens on April 10.
(L to R) Emily Agy, Jayla Williams-Craig and Alli Atkenson in NEW FACES SING BROADWAY NOW from Porchlight Music Theatre at Evanston SPACE
The entire cast each brought something special to the performance. It would be futile to pick a “favorite.” But I will mention some standouts. I loved “Girl Scout” from Beetlejuice by Rebecca Keeshin. The “Bad Guy Medley” featured songs of the villains in shows: characters from Phantom of the Opera, Hadestown, Beetlejuice, and the king in Hamilton. The gentlemen singing were: Barry DeBois, Laz Estrada, and Michael E. Martin. Emily Agy electrified the place with “River Deep” from Tina.
The show Six, about the half dozen unfortunate wives of King Henry VIII, had its North American debut at Chicago Shakespeare Theater last year and has gone on to Broadway as a huge hit. (It will be touring this summer and back in Chicago at Broadway Playhouse. I hear it is a must-see. You’re welcome.) The song “Ex Wives” features all of the women in the cast belting it out. The other ladies in the show were: Alli Atkenson, Nina Jayashankar, and Jayla Williams Craig. Curiously, Chicago boasts four of the stars in Six currently running in New York---they were all in past “New Faces Sing Broadway” shows. So you could be enjoying theTony-award winners of tomorrow.
There was a trivia contest based on Jerry Herman shows, the beloved composer of Mame and Hello, Dolly! There were audience sing-alongs for “Hakuna Matata” and “All That Jazz” from Chicago. A fun evening all around.
Porchlight will be hosting a “New Faces Sing Broadway: 1987” on April 27 at Evanston Space and April 28 at The Arts Club of Chicago. The musicals featured will be from 1987, so get ready to hear Les Miserables, Into the Woods, and Me and My Girl, plus others.
Catherine Hellmann is a teacher and lover of musicals. She is way excited to finally see Dear Evan Hansen this summer.
Jayla Williams-Craig in NEW FACES SING BROADWAY NOW from Porchlight Music Theatre
at Evanston SPACE
The cast of New Faces Sing Broadway NOW is Emily Agy, Alli Atkenson, Barry DeBois, Laz Estrada, Nina Jayashankar, Becky Keeshin, Christopher Kelley, Michael E. Martin, Sam Shankman and Jayla Wlliams-Craig. The stage manager is Sean Michael Mohler and sound board operator at The Arts Club is Warren “Levon” Jackson.
Goodrich hosts the latest New Faces Sing Broadway and was recently announced as the lead in Porchlight Music Theatre’s spring Mainstage production, the Chicago premiere of Disney’s Freaky Friday, April 10 - May 24, 2020 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Disney’s Freaky Friday is the newest musical comedy for the whole family and is based on the hit book and beloved films. Freaky Friday comes from the combined talents who created Once Upon a Mattress, Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Next to Normal, American Idiot, High Fidelity, If/Then and Bring it On.
Many artists who have been part of the New Faces Sing Broadway series have continued their careers on television and local and national stages including Dawn Bless (Waitress-national tour), Katherine Bourne (Heartbreak Hotel), Kyrie Courter (Jeff nominee-Next to Normal), Gilbert Domally (Jeff nominee-The Total Bent), Andres Enriquez (Jeff nominee-A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder), Theo Germaine (Showtime’s “Work in Progress”), Lucy Godinez (Marriott Theatre’s Oliver), Emily Goldberg (Jeff nominee-A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder), Nicole Michelle Haskins (The Goodman’s The Music Man), Michelle Lauto (Jeff winner-Spamilton), Yando Lopez (Jeff nominee-Spamilton), Henry McGinniss (Book of Mormon-national tour), Anthony Norman (The Prom-Broadway), Patrick Rooney (Les Miserables-national tour), Aalon Smith (Porchlight’s Gypsy), Katherine Thomas (Jeff winner-Ragtime), Aeriel Williams (Court’s Oedipus Rex) and Nicole Lambert, Courtney Mack, Mallory Maedke and Samantha Pauly (all heading to Broadway with Six).
ABOUT CORY GOODRICH, New Faces Sing Broadway NOW, host
Cory Goodrich is making her Porchlight Music Theatre debut in Freaky Friday, A New Musical. Goodrich is a Jeff Award-winning actress for her roles as “Mother” in Ragtime (Drury Lane Oakbrook) and as “June Carter Cash” in Ring of Fire, (Mercury Theater Chicago). A five-time Jeff nominee, Goodrich is also a writer, artist and mother of two, a children’s composer with her two award-winning CDs, “Hush” and “Wiggly Toes,” and singer/songwriter with two albums: “W.O.M.A.N” and “Wildwood Flower” and producer of six volumes of “Season of Carols, Holiday Music to Benefit Season of Concern.”
ABOUT JOHANNA MCKENZIE MILLER, New Faces Sing Broadway NOW, director
Since directing last years New Faces Sing Broadway 1941 with Porchlight Music Theatre, Johanna McKenzie Miller has directed both Junie B. Jones and Madagascar-A Musical Adventure for The Marriott Theatres TYA series. In addition to directing, she also appeared as “Vi” in Footloose at The Marriott Theatre, and in Mamma Mia and Mary Poppins at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace. This year, Miller will be directing Kiss Me Kate at The Marriott Theatre and Steel Magnolias at Drury Lane Oakbrook.
ABOUT TOM VENDAFREDDO, New Faces Sing Broadway NOW, music director
Tom Vendafreddo has music directed most of the Paramount Theatre’s Broadway Series since the fall of 2013, including Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, for which he won the 2017 Joseph Jefferson Award for outstanding music direction. Other Chicago credits include productions at Writers Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Marriott Theatre and Bohemian Ensemble (Jeff Nominee for The Spitfire Grill and A Little Night Music). Select regional credits include Billy Elliott (Signature Theatre, DC), The Who’s Tommy (Music Theatre Heritage), Murder for Two (Mason Street Warehouse) and Rent (San Diego Musical Theatre). He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Eastman School of Music and his Master of Fine Arts degree from San Diego State University.
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 the home for music theatre in Chicago now in its 25th 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 70 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 summer “Make Your Own Musical” Camp in 2017. The company’s many accolades include 30 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and 12 awards, as well as a total of 167 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 announces the star of Porchlight’s spring production, the Chicago premiere of Disney’s Freaky Friday, A New Musical Cory Goodrich as the host of New Faces Sing Broadway NOW, directed by Johanna McKenzie Miller and music directed by Tom Vendafreddo; at Evanston at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Monday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and at The Arts Club of Chicago, 201 E. Ontario Street, Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Single tickets to each New Faces are $37 at SPACE and $60 at The Arts Club. The Arts Club performances include a pre-performance cocktail hour starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884.
The 2019 – 2020 25th Anniversary Season is dedicated to the memory of long-time Board Member George K. “Kim” Sargent.
The Bayless Family Foundation is a 2019 – 2020 25th Anniversary Season Sponsor.
The New Faces Sing Broadway series is generously sponsored by Elaine Cohen and Arlen D. Rubin.
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 Prince, 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.