PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE PRESENTS
BLUES IN THE NIGHT
DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY KENNY INGRAM+
AND MUSIC DIRECTED BY DAVID FIORELLO+
AT THE RUTH PAGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Now Extended Through March 20, 2022
Felicia P. Fields* All Photos by Anthony Robert La Penna
By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara
Every time I see a Porchlight Music Theatre I am stunned by the incredible performers we have here in Chicago. I'm convinced the second city is second to none when it comes to powerhouse vocals, snazzy choreography, and sheer talent. Blues in the night brings an award winning cast together for a sultry, stunning production that's truly a treat. The top notch musicians play on stage and are a joy to see in action, as are the actors. The stage chemistry is palpable and this show is sure to warm your winter weary heart. Highly recommended. Don't miss this!
Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theater critic, photographer, videographer, actress, artist and Mama. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: ChiILLiveShows.com (adult) & ChiILMama.com (family friendly).
Terrell Armstrong+ in BLUES IN THE NIGHT from Porchlight Music Theatre, Feb. 9 - March 20 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Photo by Anthony Robert La Penna
Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)
New dates for Porchlight Music Theatre productions:
Blues in the Night
Conceived by Sheldon Epps
Directed and Choreographed by Kenny Ingram+
Music Directed by David Fiorello+
Associate Music Director and Conductor Maulty Jewell IV+
Assistant Choreographer Ariel Dorsey*
NEW DATES: February 9 - March 20
The Blues is one of America’s original art forms and Chicago was the home to some of the greatest Blues performers ever. Set in a history-filled hotel on Chicago’s south side one fateful night in the late 1930s, this Tony Award-nominated celebration interweaves the stories of three women who share their highs and lows of romance through the iconic songs of Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Alberta Hunter, Jimmy Cox, Ida Cox and others.
Ticket Price: $25 – $74
MORE ABOUT BLUES IN THE NIGHT
The Blues in the Night cast includes Felicia P. Fields* ("The Lady from the Road”) in her Porchlight Mainstage debut; Donica Lynn* ("The Woman of the World") last seen by Porchlight audiences in her Jeff-Award nominated role in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, Clare Kennedy* ("The Girl with a Date”) a follow up to her performance in Porchlight’s New Faces Sing Broadway 1961; Evan Tyrone Martin+ ("The Man in the Saloon) last seen in Porchlight’s Jeff Award-winning Dreamgirls and Terrell Armstrong+ ("The Dancing Man”) last seen in Porchlight’s A Chorus Line.
Blues in the Night’s production team includes: Kenny Ingram+, (director & choreographer); David Fiorello+, (music director); Ariel M Dorsey*, (assistant choreographer) and Maulty Jewell IV+ (associate music director/conductor), Alden Vasquez+ (production stage manager); Ruben Echoles+ (costume and wig designer), Brandon Wardell+ (lighting designer), Eric Backus+ (sound designer), Angela Weber Miller* (scenic designer), Caitlin McCarthy* (properties designer), Matthew Chase+ (audio engineer), Rachel West* (lighting supervisor), Jennifer Aparicio* (production manager), Henry Wilkinson+ (technical director), Rashaad A. Bond+, (producing artistic associate); Alex Rhyan+, (production and operations director) and Michael Weber+, (artistic director).
Information about Porchlight Music Theatre’s COVID-19 Guidelines a its events may be found at: https://porchlightmusictheatre.org/visit/#covid-19-health-safety-guidelines.
ABOUT KENNY INGRAM +, director and choreographer
Kenny Ingram last directed and choreographed Triple Threat, a play that moves and sings starring James T. Lane ahh The Zeiders American Dream Theatre in Virginia Beach. He received the White Nights Film Festival Diploma for his direction and choreography for Chicago Performing Theatrical production of The Moment in Russia. Ingram directed and choreographed for Chicago Shakespeare’s first summer musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Navy Pier. He choreographed The New York Times Critics Pick re -mount of Emojiland, Off Broadway at The Duke on 42nd, and Till, The Musical based on the story of Emmett Till Off Broadway at Signature Theatre for the New York Musical Festival. Ingram won outstanding Choreography for his moves in Emojiland in 2018 at NYMF. Although he lives in Harlem, he is excited to return home to Chicago where he began his career at Lou Conte Dance Studio on Scholarship, taught jazz dance here at The Ruth Page Center and choreographed at many Chicago Legendary Theatre’s including Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Organic Theatre, Hasted Street Theatre and now to cap it off Porchlight.
ABOUT DAVID FIORELLO+, music director
David Fiorello is a music director, performer, director, composer and arranger who’s no stranger to Porchlight. He has served as music director for Porchlight’s Gypsy, Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi, Porchlight Revisits Woman of the Year, several seasons of the New Faces Sing Broadway series, as well as several Chicago Sings and ICONS GALA benefits. He also appeared onstage as Joe in Porchlight's mainstage production of Merrily We Roll Along. David currently serves as founder and artistic director of The Beautiful City Project, a theatre company committed to raising funds for local Chicago charities and nonprofits, using some of the city’s finest musical theatre talents. He’s music directed national and international tours, including John Doyle’s re-imagining of Sweeney Todd. He also served as music director for the Off-Broadway hit Danny & Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical. His orchestrations and arrangements have been heard across the nation, and on several albums. He’s taught and directed/music directed as part of the International Lyric Academy in Italy and is adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago. An in-demand vocal coach, Fiorello Studios has also provided unique cabaret programming featuring the music of The Indigo Girls, Jason Mraz, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Cassidy, Sara Bareilles and Colbie Caillat.
Evan Tyrone Martin+
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 In-Resident Organization. Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts’ programming is this 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.
Award-winning Porchlight Music Theatre announces the cast for Blues in the Night, conceived by Sheldon Epps+, with the music of Bessie Smith, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Gordon Jenkins, Alberta Hunter and others., January 15, 2022 - February 27, 2022 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St. The first mainstage production of 2022 is directed and choreographed by Kenny Ingram+, music directed by David Fiorello+, assistant choreographed by Ariel M. Dorsey and associate music director and conductor Maulty Jewell IV+. Blues in The Night’s previews are Saturday, Jan, 15 at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 16 at 2 and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 20 at 1:30 p.m. with the press opening Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 at 7 p.m. The regular run performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with weekday matinees Thursday, Jan. 27 and Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Single tickets are $25 - $74 and subscriptions to the entire 2021 - 2022 season are available at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office, 773.777.9884. (Please note: complete performance schedule is available at the end of this release.)
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.
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.”
All performances take place at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts at 1016 N. Dearborn Street.
Updated performance schedule:
CHICAGO THEATRE WEEK FEBRUARY 17 - 27
Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 26 at 3 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m.
Friday, March 4 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 5 at 3 p.m. (Open Caption Performance)
Sunday, March 6 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, March 10 at 7p.m.
Friday, March 11 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 12 at 3 p.m. (Open Caption Performance)
Sunday, March 13 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, March 17 at 7p.m.
Friday, March 18 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 19 at 3 p.m.
Sunday, March 20 at 2 p.m.
Ticket Price: $25 – 74
(L to R) Clare Kennedy* and Terrell Armstrong+ in BLUES IN THE NIGHT from Porchlight Music Theatre, Feb. 9 - March 20 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Photo by Anthony Robert La Penna