TIFFANY LAWSON DANCE PRESENTS HARMONY, a live music and dance festival MARCH 7TH 8:30PM MARCH 8TH & 9TH 8PM FASSEAS WHITEBOX THEATRE

TIFFANY LAWSON DANCE PRESENTS HARMONY, a live music and dance festival  MARCH 7TH 8:30PM MARCH 8TH & 9TH 8PM  FASSEAS WHITEBOX THEATRE

On MARCH 7TH 8:30PM and MARCH 8TH & 9TH 8PM FASSEAS WHITEBOX THEATRE TIFFANY LAWSON DANCE PRESENTS HARMONY, a live music and dance festival

www.tiffanylawsondance.com

tiffanylawsondance@gmail.com

Tiffany Lawson Dance 501C3 non profit produces
HARMONY, a live music and dance
festival
. HARMONY brings choreographers and
musicians from across the nation and Chicagoland area for this unique, cutting
edge festival marrying together live music and dance.
theory of dance

Participating artists: Kristalyn Gill Early
(Oregon), Nitya Narasimhan (California), Sarvesh Kirthivasan (California), Ajay
Ravichandran (California), Sandeep Bharadwaj (California), Lucid Banter Project
(Chicago), Andrew Lawrence (Chicago), Mikayla Karis Smith (Ohio), Alysa Craigie
(Ohio), Paige Craigie (Ohio), Desueno Dance (Chicago), Octavia Reese (Chicago),
David Mero (Chicago), Cyenthia Vijayakumar Mahesh (Wisconsin), Manpreet Bedi
(Wisconsin), Jai Sovani (Wisconsin), Chetan (Wisconsin), Footprints Tap
Ensemble (Chicago), Theory of Dance (Chicago), Amy Brophy (Chicago),
Postcompany (California), Sam Horning (Chicago), Elise Ellen Ericksen
(Chicago), Brett Feral (Chicago), Tiffany Lawson (Chicago), Sixto Franco
(Chicago), Shayna Bjerke (Chicago), Brianna Bjerke (Tennessee), Bonnie
Christine Willis (Chicago), Scott Hargis (Chicago), Molly Jo Mathe (Wisconsin),
Alex Schildgen (Wisconsin), Stephanie Unger (California), Nick Davio (Chicago),
Juan Horie (Chicago)

 

The Irresponsible Mr. Prager

The Irresponsible Mr. Prager

Something happened yesterday on the radio that strikes at what I aspire to both as a responsible broadcaster and as an artist. I cover the Arts on a fast growing radio program, Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall, Sundays on AM1590 WCGO in Chicago. I have 5 published books including a War Memoir, had two plays that garnered critical and national attention, was a visual Artist, activist, relief worker and war photographer. As a broadcaster my focus is on building community not fracturing it for personal of political advantage.

Broadcasting is or was suppose to be a public trust. I’m a bit old school in that regard. The airwaves are in fact public, although your airwaves have been hijacked in the era of deregulation. Those public airwaves have become over-saturated with a single predatory political ideology which habitually parades garbage. Virtually anything that radio talk host Dennis Prager says on his syndicated radio show is a tragic case in point. A recent radio broadcast by Prager about Art only serves to underscore the point.

“…let’s tear down a mural of William Shakespeare,” Prager pontificated on his December 19th radio program, “to put up a picture of a Latina Lesbian Poet.”

Pager is perversely obsessed with a mural of Shakespeare at UPenn which was replaced with (Oh, god don’t let it be true) a woman. Nowhere and at no time on that show, nor any of the other programs he’s used a Poet Laureate as a whiffle bat to pummel the Left and Progressives was there any mention of Audre Lorde’s-the Latina Lesbian Poet-name. Nor was there any attempt by Prager to enlighten his audience on the merits, or lack thereof, of a woman whose Art and work resonated around the planet.

No offense to Shakespeare, whose brilliance is undisputed, but Prager alludes or ignores the fact that Shakespeare is part of the English curriculum at UPenn and every university, virtually on the planet. He also seems to be disquieted by the reality that literature and theatre did not end with Shakespeare. In fact, despite Prager, literature and Art has continued to evolve in the ensuing four hundred years. Whoa unto the abandonment of “Western” civilization that Prager decries daily, but this year, covering Chicago’s Theatre scene, I attended three Shakespeare plays by largely Millennial theatre companies. That was but a fraction of the actual number staged in Chicago.

The problem here is, apart from Prager’s skewing the mundane and everyday into some obtuse partisan argument, that Prager is deeply ridiculous and thoughtless, while posturing as an authority. Prager is in fact an authority, but only on his own hubris and insipidness.

Yesterday’s meltdown had to do with appointment of Kaywin Feldman to head the National Gallery of Art. Kaywin transformed and modernized the Minneapolis Institute of Art. “Kaywin Feldman is a dynamic and highly principled leader,” said Frederick W. Beinecke, President of the National Gallery of Art, in a statement, “a gracious collaborator, and an innovator with the skills and vision to lead the National Gallery of Art in the 21st century,”

But Prager used a celebratory announcement of a highly qualified woman as part of his tirade against anyone who dares disagree with his over-privileged top down view of American society. Thanks to the “Left,” he says, “noteriety became the chief goal of Art.” Perhaps he’s never heard of Albrecht Dürer, the 15th Century master who created the notion of “personality” by brazenly signing his own work and even rendering himself in the role of Jesus. Prager told his audience that the appointment of Feldman would “turn the Art museum into a Leftist institution.”

A news flash for the good if twisted Dennis Prager- ART IS LEFTIST! Art is humanistic by definition, nowtpower and privilege centered. His definition of Art as “excellence, greatness and beauty” is as simplistic as a 2nd Grade teacher asking 7 year olds for a definite and concise definition of liberty. Art is all of these things and none of them, as well as much, much more. Art, at its core, eschews and questions power. It transcends, not merely and often without, unyielding and purposeful structure and convention. It is, by its very essence, revolutionary. Prager’s Taliban-style views on Art reflect a deeply flawed intellect and a broken moral compass. He is part of the reason that here in the great and glorious West we immediately recognize Titian, da Vinci and Botticelli but not master female artists of the Renaissance like Plautilla Nelli or Sofonisba Anguissola.

In 1994, travelling alone as an Artist through Bosnian Serb-held territory and through combat zones, I was treated by regular folks as some sort of vagabond royalty. I travelled places where journalists were barred from going. The reason being, that in the former Yugoslavia, as well as other Eastern European and former Communist countries journalists were viewed as a function of oppressive government. Artists, by contrast were heroic dissenters and champions of the moral and ethical soul essential to universal human liberty and true.

The sad part is that Prager’s ignorance, like his sexism and racism, is so thinly veiled that I am forever astounded that his listeners fail to see through it. Then again, perhaps it reflects their own, or perhaps Prager’s success as part of a broader Rightwing effort to undermine the value of information and education in favor of doctrine.

 

October is the Month of Theater in the BTD!!!

October is the Month of Theater in the BTD!!!
OCTOBER IS HERE! And you all know what that means … the Belmont Theater District Month of Theater! Check out all the amazing programming, ticket discounts, drinks deals and FREE ENTRY to select BTD Theaters throughout October.

Overview of all the amazing offers is below – visit BTDChicago.com/Event/BTD-MOT-2018 for all details, and how to redeem your tickets. If you give us a look, the Belmont Theater District will give you a reason to go to the theater in October!

AMAZING DISCOUNTS & DEALS
• American Blues Theater offering half-price tix to FLYIN’ WEST throughout October;
• Annoyance continues 30-year fan-favorite SPLATTER THEATER, and offers $5 tix to their newest Teen-Gore-Fest ANGELA OF DEATH;
• Save 25% on the spectacle that is BLUE MAN GROUP. Dare To Live In Full Color!
• COMEDY SPORTZ offers $15 tickets to their flagship all-ages improv comedy show and improvised show tune extravanza BUZZED BROADWAY;
• Eclectic Full Contact Theatre offering $10 tix to all Thursdays for DEAR BRUTUS;
• LAUGH FACTORY offering free entry to (11) shows throughout October!!
• Otherworld Theatre offers BTD fans a free drink at their sci-fi themed bar, at the Midwest premier of their pay-what-you-can superhero comedy, ALL I WANT IS ONE MORE MEANWHILE…
• TTHE PLAYGROUND THEATER offering discounts to (4) spooky comedy shows;
• Saint Sebastian Players offering $10 tickets to 10/26-10/28 Opening Weekend of MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD;
• Join Timeline Theatre for post-show discussions and discounted ticket offers, as they double up in October with A SHAYNA MAIDEL (Now Extended!) and MASTER CLASS, starring Janet Ulrich Brooks;

EXCITING SPECIAL EVENTS
• Explore the “FACES OF FRANKENSTEIN” with Remy Bumppo at Chicago’s favorite friendly neighborhood Music Box Theatre, Mon. October 15th
Belmont Theater District and Open House Chicago, Sat-Sun Oct 13-14
Living and Laughing Out Loud: An Improv Workshop for those over 50, Mon. October 29 at Annoyance

PRE/POST-SHOW EVENTS
• American Blues Theatre’s offers their popular Sunday post-show Town Halls
• TimeLine Theatre’s offers their popular post-show discussions
• Check out Remy Bumppo’s comprehensive “Field Guide” to their production of FRANKENSTEIN.
• Shattered Globe Theatre’s popular Global Perspectives post-show discussions following Sunday matinees

ONGOING PROGRAMMING
• LINCOLN LODGE hosts the nation’s longest running independent comedy showcase, $10 tickets, Fridays & Saturdays
• Music Box Theatre offers the best of London’s West End Theater with AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: THE MUSICAL
• Remy Bumppo shocks into life Nick Dear’s adaptation of the revolutionary horror classic FRANKENSTEIN
• Shattered Globe Theatre offers an illuminating adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s classic CRIME & PUNISHMENT
• STORYTOWN CHILDREN’S IMPROV performs every Sat 10.30am at Stage 773 – tickets only $10
• MAGIC & MIRACLES show at Trickery Chicago on Halsted, Fridays & Saturdays – tickets only $20

                                  

Look … this is A LOT of theater. We can help!
Use our What’s Playing Now calendar page to find the perfect show from the 150 shows on offer EVERY WEEK in the Belmont Theater District.

BTDChicago.com is Your Ultimate Guide to Chicago’s Largest Theater District!


Look for BTD Partner Theaters and Businesses displaying our “Proud Partner of the BTD” badge!
BTDChicago.com is Your Ultimate Guide to Chicago’s Largest Theater District!. We are a collaboration between the Lakeview and Lakeview East Chambers of Commerce, local partners, and the 50+ theaters & theater companies all located within a 1 mile radius in Chicago’s vibrant Lakeview and Lakeview East areas, with over 100 bars, restaurants, hotels & shops. Theater lovers can use the Belmont Theater District website to find the perfect show and redeem BTD Deals (discounts from neighborhood businesses).

If all this great theater proves too much for your In Box, no hard feelings if you unsubscribe here.

Copyright © 2018, Belmont Theater District, All rights reserved.

ARE YOU READY FOR A REVOLUTION?!

ARE YOU READY FOR A REVOLUTION?!
PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE’S PORCHLIGHT REVISITS,“LOST” MUSICALS IN STAGED CONCERT SERIES, BEGINS ITS SIXTH SEASON WITH 1776,
AT RUTH PAGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS, NOVEMBER 14 – 15

 

Porchlight Revisits Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Tony Award-winner About the Founding of the United States of America with the Largest Cast in Porchlight Revisits History.

 

CHICAGO – Porchlight Music Theatre begins its sixth season of Chicago’s “lost” musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits 1776, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and book by Peter Stone with direction by Artistic Director Michael Weber, musical direction by Jeremy Ramey and musical staging by Michelle Lauto. Porchlight Revisits 1776 is presented for only three performances Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 15 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets for 1776 are available now for $37, subscriptions to the three performance series including 1776, Can-Can, March 6 and 7, 2019 and Minnie’s Boys, May 22 and 23, 2019 are $90/per person and available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.

 

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.

 

With special permission from the rights holders, the approach to this production, which has been frequently presented with a primarily Caucasian and male identified cast playing the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the congressional staff, will be an inclusive company of actors, expanding the casting potential both in ethnic and gender identities, in modern dress. 

 

Every Porchlight Revisits begins with Behind the Show Backstory, an entertaining and informative multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Artistic Director Michael Weber, introducing the evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and much more.
 
Featuring a cast of 26, the largest ever for a Porchlight Revisits production, the 1776 company includes: Micha Astala, “Dr. Josiah Bartlett;” Frankie Leo Bennett, “George Reed;” Jeff Bouthiette, “Samuel Chase;” Erica Chinn, “Col. Thomas McKean;” Cynthia Clarey, “Rev. John Witherspoon;” Jazmín Corona, “Andrew McNair;” Richard Costes, “Leather Apron;” Ryan Dooley, “James Wilson;” William Dwyer,“Edward Rutledge;” Joseph Foronda, “Dr. Benjamin Franklin;” Kim Fukawa, “Charles Thomson;” Lucy Godinez, “Martha Jefferson;” Randolph Johnson, “Stephen Hopkins;” Christopher W. Jones, “Lewis Morris;” Teressa LaGamba,“, “Richard Henry Lee;” Michelle Lauto, “Abigail Adams,” Anne Marie Lewis, “Joseph Hewes;” Cari Meixner, “Dr. Lyman Hall;” Robert Quintanilla,“Thomas Jefferson;” Nolan Robinson, “Courier;” Kelvin Roston Jr., “John Adams;” Jenny Rudnick, “Caesar Rodney;” Peter Ruger, “Robert Livingston;” Heather Townsend, “John Dickinson;” Jessica Vann,  “Roger Sherman” and Nancy Wagner,  “John Hancock.”

 

ABOUT MICHAEL WEBER, director
Michael Weber is the artistic director of Porchlight Music Theatre where, under his leadership, the company has received the Best Production Equity Jeff Award for the past five consecutive years. He previously served as artistic director for the inaugural season of Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place (now The Broadway Playhouse) and at Theatre at the Center (1998 – 2004).  Weber recently made his Porchlight stage debut in Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi this past spring. His productions of End of the Rainbow, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pal Joey, Assassins and Side Show at Porchlight Music Theatre, Grand Hotel at Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place and She Loves Me at Theatre at the Center were each nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Directing credits include Living the History-125 Years of The Auditorium Theatre starring Patti LuPone and John Mahoney, Fifth of July and Talley’s Folly at the Oak Park Festival Theatre, The Petrified Forest at Theatre at the Center, Beauty and the Beast at Marriott Theatre, Over the River and Through the Woods at The Mercury Theater, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Pheasant Run Theatre and Cirque du Symphony at Sears Center Arena. The recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards, he has written and directed the past twelve Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremonies. Weber’s regional acting credits include Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy (both starring Patti LuPone) at Ravinia, Disney’s My Son Pinocchio at First Stage Milwaukee, Around the World in 80 Days at Cleveland Playhouse, The Winter’s Tale and Henry V at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, It Had To Be You (starring Cindy Williams and Eddie Mekka) at Little Theatre on the Square, Angel Street at First Folio Shakespeare and The Gifts of the Magi at Indiana Repertory. Weber is proud to serve as a pledge host on WTTW, Channel 11.

 

ABOUT JEREMY RAMEY, music director
Jeremy Ramey is a concert pianist, conductor and music director based in Chicago.  He was awarded the non-equity Jeff Award for music direction for his work on Theo Ubique’s Light in the Piazza in 2012 and again in 2013 for the company’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Some of his favorite music directing projects include Altar Boyz at Downtown Drury Lane, Hats! with Grammy award winner Melissa Manchester and Tony-nominated director Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Forever Plaid at Drury Lane Oakbrook and C’est la Vie at Light Opera Works. Ramey was also the music director for both the world premiere and Wisconsin premiere of Adding Machine. He received his training in piano performance at Rhodes College, Northwestern University and The Juilliard School of Music. He has taught at Northwestern University, Columbia College, Loyola University and the University of Memphis. He is also the music director at Unity Church on the Northshore in Evanston, Illinois.
 
ABOUT MICHELLE LAUTO, musical staging and “Abigail Adams”
Michelle Lauto is Porchlight Music Theatre’s education associate and starred in Porchlight’s hit In The Heights. Lauto is an award winning Chicago based actor, singer, writer and educator having grown up in the Jersey suburbs of New York and begun acting in and around the city at the age of 16. At 21, she moved to Chicago to study her other love: comedy. She is a 2014 graduate of The Second City Training Center’s Conservatory program. Since graduating, Lauto has worked at several prominent Chicago area theaters, including appearing in the Original Chicago Cast of Spamilton: An American Parody for which she won a 2017 Jeff Award for Best Actress in a Revue. She also enjoys working as a teaching artist and sharing her love of musical theatre with the next generation.

 

ABOUT KELVIN ROSTON JR., “John Adams”
A four-time Jeff Award nominee, three-time BTA Award winner and two-time Black Excellence Award winner, Kelvin Roston Jr. is the winner of the Light in the Darkness Public Education Award from NAMI for his play, Twisted Melodies, written and performed by himself. He is an artistic associate of Congo Square and has appeared at Court Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Northlight Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

 

ABOUT JOSEPH FORONDA, “Benjamin Franklin”
Joseph Foronda’s Broadway credits include Pacific Overtures, Miss Saigon and James Clavell’s Shogun: The Musical. His West End credits include Pacific Overtures (Donmar Warehouse). And Chicago credits include productions at Goodman Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Silk Road Rising, American Theater Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Victory Gardens Theater. Foronda’s regional credits include productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Weston Playhouse and more.

 

ABOUT LUCY GODINEZ, “Martha Jefferson”
Currently appearing as “Serena” in Legally Blonde at The Paramount Theatre, Lucy Godinez burst onto the Porchlight stage receiving rave reviews as “Nina” in In The Heights and in New Faces Sing Broadway 1969. She has appeared in Chicago in Hair at The Mercury Theatre, A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre and others.

 

ABOUT HEATHER TOWNSEND, “John Dickensen”
A Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Associate, Heather Townsend’s Chicago theatre credits includes productions with Mercury Theatre, Shattered Globe, Northlight, Remy Bumppo, Dog & Pony, Theatre Wit, Apple Tree, Next and readings with the Goodman and Steppenwolf.  

 

ABOUT CYNTHIA CLAREY, “The Reverend John Witherspoon”
In addition to her Porchlight debut in The Scottsboro Boys, Cynthia Clarey has sung leading roles in Thea Musgrave’s Voice of Ariadne, which was her New York City Opera debut, Anthony Davis’ Under the Double Moon, Minoru Miki’s Actor’s Revenge, Myron Fink’s Chinchilla and many more.  She has sung the role of “Carmen” throughout the world and toured in seven countries with Peter Brook’s innovative La Tragedie de Carmen.

 

ABOUT PORCHLIGHT REVISITS
One of Porchlight’s most popular offerings, Porchlight Revisits celebrates the lost musical gems of The Great White Way. Everyone knows Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hits Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. But have they ever had the chance to experience, live on stage, their rarely seen Broadway shows Allegro, Me and Juliet or Flower Drum Song? It’s here audiences get to discover the ‘lost musicals’ of Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Kander and Ebb and more when Chicago’s finest music theatre talent, with script in hand and fully staged, dust off these treasures and escort you to the world of Broadway’s past.

 

The experience begins with Behind the Show Backstory, an entertaining and informative multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Artistic Director Michael Weber, introducing the evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and much more.

 

Porchlight Revisits is the ticket to go behind the scenes with an introduction to the luminaries who created the greatest musicals of all time and an opportunity to discover a new ‘old’ favorite all in one big show—plus Porchlight Revisits subscribers are invited to influence the choosing of future titles in the series.

 

Previous Porchlight Revisits productions include:
(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 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 Chicago’s home for music theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre enters its 24th season and its second as an Artist In-Residence at the historic Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago’s Gold Coast. 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.” 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 a youth summer “Make Your Own Musical” camp and a Saturday morning youth program. The company’s many accolades include 28 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and seven awards, as well as a total of 151 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 begins its sixth season of Chicago’s “lost” musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits 1776, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and book by Peter Stone with direction by Artistic Director Michael Weber, musical direction by Jeremy Ramey and musical staging by Michelle Lauto. Porchlight Revisits 1776 is presented for two-nights-only Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 15  at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets for 1776 are available now for $37, subscriptions to the three performance series including 1776, Can-Can, March 6 and 7, 2019 and Minnie’s Boys, May 22 and 23, 2019 are $90/per person and available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
# # #
The Honorable Julian Frazin and Rhona Frazin and Charles and Diane Laff sponsor Porchlight Revisits 1776.
Porchlight Music Theatre is supported by generous contributions from the Actors’ Equity Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Chapman | Spingola, Attorneys at Law, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Elegant Events Lighting, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, the Morgan Stanley Foundation, Q Chicago, The Saints and the Topfer Family 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.

Master Magician And Mentalist Dennis Watkins Performs Mysterious New One-Night-Only Production To Celebrate National Magic Week On October 26

Master Magician And Mentalist Dennis Watkins Performs Mysterious New   One-Night-Only Production To Celebrate National Magic Week On October 26

Third-generation magician to conjure playful spirits from the beyond during his original adaptation of The Spirit Cabinet and more during exclusive performance

 
 
CHICAGO, Ill. – August 1, 2018 –Chicago’s top magician and mentalist, Dennis Watkins, will perform his original adaptation of magic’s most intriguing spiritual mystery, The Spirit Cabinet, and more in a one-night-only event at The Palmer House on Friday, October 26 to celebrate National Magic Week. The annual holiday was founded in honor of the late, great American magician Harry Houdini, who Watkins has portrayed on numerous occasions. With help from the beyond, Watkins promises to look into the minds of his audience to see what they see during his exclusive performance of Dennis Watkins’ Magic, Mysteries, and Spirits, produced by The House Theatre of Chicago.

“We know that human beings are mysterious creatures who communicate in mysterious ways,” says Watkins who has performed nearly 1,000 shows in his weekly production, The Magic Parlour.While we all understand that human beings cannot teleport or fly, we secretly hope that it might be possible to be psychic,” he adds.

As a lifelong magician, Watkins recalls watching the legendary Frances Willard and Glen Falkenstein perform the Spirit Cabinet as it had been passed to Frances by her father, the legendary Willard the Wizard.  On this very special night, Watkins will perform his version of this spiritualist spectacular and harness the collective mental energy of everyone in the room.

A cocktail hour inside a stunning Palmer House Hilton ballroom welcomes guests before the third-generation magician takes the stage for a 90-minute premiere performance. Watkins will call upon ghosts to make themselves known to the gathered crowd, inspiring wonder as guests participate in revealing the playful connections to the beyond.

Facts: Dennis Watkins’ Magic, Mysteries, and Spirits

Date: Friday, Oct. 26 from 8 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Details: Cocktail reception with open bar and light bites followed by a 90-minute performance
Address: Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St, Chicago
Cost: VIP Front Row table seats are $200; Regular seating is $125 – $150
Tickets: Visit TheMagicParlourChicago.com or call 773-769-3832
 
Those unable to attend can enjoy Watkins’ performance during his signature show, The Magic Parlour, scheduled five times weekly inside an elegant salon at the Palmer House Hilton.

ABOUT THE MAGIC PARLOUR, PRODUCED BY THE HOUSE THEATRE OF CHICAGO
The Magic Parlour is an intimate evening of classic magic and mind-reading starring third-generation magician Dennis Watkins. Guests to this intimate, magic-packed evening gather at Potter’s in the Palmer House lobby before Watkins personally escorts them to the performance space. Once inside, the audience participates in much of the performance as Watkins wows the room with classic sleight of hand, unbelievable mind-reading and magical wisdom passed down from his grandfather.

Since opening at The Palmer House on New Year’s Eve of 2011, Dennis Watkins’ performance of The Magic Parlour has enjoyed phenomenal success and unimagined growth.  With only 44 seats available per show, The Magic Parlour has entertained over 20,000 guests in its seven-year run.  Additionally, it has hosted more than 800 ticketed audiences and dozens of private groups, facilitated three truly magical wedding proposals, and has been featured in two books (Chicago Magic: A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle and 100 Things to do in Chicago Before You Die).

ABOUT THE HOUSE THEATRE OF CHICAGO, PRODUCER OF DENNIS WATKINS’ MAGIC, MYSTERY, AND SPIRITS
The House is Chicago’s premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded in 2001, led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen, and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular art form.

Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards (22 wins), became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards.  The House Theatre of Chicago is thrilled to partner with The Palmer House for a seventh year in bringing one of the country’s most exciting magical entertainers to audiences in Chicago.

REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT BEGINS ITS 2018 – 2019 SEASON WITH THE LAST SESSION, OCTOBER 26 – DECEMBER 2, AT ATLAS ARTS STUDIO A Group of Friends Gather to Record One Final Record in this Poignant Musical

REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT BEGINS ITS 2018 – 2019 SEASON WITH THE LAST SESSION, OCTOBER 26 – DECEMBER 2,  AT ATLAS ARTS STUDIO A Group of Friends Gather to Record One Final Record in this Poignant Musical
CHICAGORefuge Theater Project is proud to announce the cast and production team for its first production in its 2018 – 2019 season, The Last Session, October 26 – December 2, book by Jim Brochu, with music and lyrics by Steve Schalchlin, additional lyrics by John Bettis and Marie Cain directed by Refuge Theatre Project’s Artistic Director Christopher Pazdernik and music directed by Erik Pearson. The Last Session runs  Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. at Atlas Art Studio, 4809 N Ravenswood Ave. Previews are Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. with opening/press night Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. There are two additional performances Monday, Nov. 12 and 26 at 8 p.m. Preview tickets are $15, regular run tickets are $30 each and available at RefugeTheatre.com.

Nominated for Best Musical by the New York Drama League and the New York Outer Critics Circle and written as musical therapy, in real time, to songwriter Schalchlin’s own AIDS diagnosis and subsequent battle on the deathbed, The Last Session, an off-Broadway hit in its original run in 1997, reunites a group of singers, friends and band mates to record one final album, except for the unexpected arrival of a guest singer who spoils what was supposed to be a nice, quiet goodbye party. All of them are deeply connected, yet, unaware that their host carries a big secret: he plans to end his struggle with AIDS after the session. 

The New York Times called this gospel/rock/pop infused musical “Exquisite” and The Los Angeles Times named it a “Critics Choice” and raved, “screamingly funny, yet love is everywhere. Written from the heart, Schalchlin’s gospel tinged pop tunes exert a rare emotional pull and Brochu‘s story telling allows them to emerge realistically out of the action. Again and again, a fierce drive takes overtakes the tunes melodic strains. It’s life taking hold again – hope rising on powerful wings.”

“As an artist living with HIV, I feel compelled to share stories from the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic” Artistic Director Pazdernik said. “We have to make sure we don’t lose the stories of those who fought and died so today’s generation of HIV patients could live longer. It’s too easy to take modern medicine for granted–we need to also honor the debt we owe to those who were on the front lines of this unfathomable plague.”

Refuge Theatre Project will be partnering with several Chicago social service agencies during the run of the production to bring awareness and support to organizations that continue the fight against HIV/AIDS in our communities today including AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Howard Brown Health and Season of Concern.

The cast of The Last Session includes Ryan Armstrong, “Buddy;” Erik Pearson, “Gideon;” Benjamin Baylon, “Jim;” Darilyn Burtley, “Tryshia;” Elizabeth Bollar, “Vicki;” Britain Gebhardt and Josiah Haugen, swings.

The production team includes Chris Pazdernik*, director; Erik Pearson, music director; Rueben Echoles, assistant director; Lewis Rawlinson*, assistant music director; Collin Helou*, lighting designer; Jeremy Hollis, production manager; Leslie Halverson, stage manager; Evan Frank*, set dressing/props coordinator; Isaac Mandel, sound designer/audio engineer and Amanda Vander Byl, costume designer.

*Denotes Refuge Theatre Project company member

ABOUT CHRISTOPHER PAZDERNIK, DIRECTOR
Christopher Pazdernik is a director/choreographer with “a near encyclopedic knowledge of musicals” (Newcity).  He is best known for the critically acclaimed production of High Fidelity (Jeff Awards for Best Director and Best Production of a Musical) at Refuge Theatre Project, where he also serves as artistic director. With Porchlight Music Theatre, Pazdernik is a proud artistic associate, and serves as company manager and casting associate. He has directed and choreographed many Porchlight Revisits productions including The Rink, Anyone Can Whistle, City of Angels, Applause and Do Re Mi; served as associate director for Porchlight’s Merrily We Roll Along and has co-curated the Porchlight New Faces Sing Broadway series.  Recent other credits include Carrie (Ohio Northern University), Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), Planted (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival), Make Me a Song (Eclectic Theatre Co.) and Story of A Story (The Untold Story) (Underscore Theater Co.). He is also a frequent cabaret director and curator including Broadway’s Cult Classics at Davenport’s Piano Bar and the His & His series at Pride Films & Plays. An openly HIV+ artist, Pazdernik was a 2016 Windy City Times 30-Under-30 honoree for his contributions to Chicago’s LGBTQ community. He currently serves on the Ambassador Committee for the AIDS Run/Walk Chicago and as chairperson on the Community Advisory Board for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ organizations.

 

ABOUT ERIK PEARSON, MUSICAL DIRECTOR/ “Gideon”
Erik Pearson most recently appeared in Underscore’s hit production of Haymarket as “Albert Parsons.” A Minnesota native now living in Chicago, he has spent the past four seasons with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, including performing “Malvolio” in Twelfth Night. Other favorite theatre credits include “Prof. Walling”  in Citadel’s The Explorers Club; “The Prince,” Children’s Theatre Company’s Cinderella;  “Tulsa,” in Theater Latte Da’s Gypsy; “Baby John” in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ West Side Story; “The Soldier/Alex” in Sunday in the Park with George and “Marvin in Falsettos. He has also performed with the Guthrie Theater, Aspen Opera Theater Center and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others. As a teaching artist, he has worked with Minnesota high schools on projects including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Into the Woods, Les Misérables, Evita and Sunday in the Park with George. Pearson studied at St. Olaf College and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

 

ABOUT REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT
Refuge Theatre Project strives to foster a broader, more accessible theatre community. They promote the production of under-produced, under-appreciated musical theatre in traditional and non-traditional theatrical spaces creating a unique, affordable, only-in-Chicago theatrical experience.

 

REFUGE THEATRE PROJECT’S 2018 – 2019 SEASON CONTINUES WITH…
Hands on a Hardbody
CHICAGO PREMIERE
Based on S.R. Bindler’s documentary film “Hands on a Hardbody
Book by Doug Wright
Music by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green
Lyrics by Amanda Green
Directed by Refuge Theatre Project Artistic Director Christopher Pazdernik
Music Directed by Jon Schneidman
March – May, 2019
Tickets: Previews: $15 Regular Performances: $30

 

Nominated for Best Musical by the New York Drama League and inspired by true events, the hilarious and hopeful Hands on a Hardbody features a book by Doug Wright (Pulitzer Prize winner, I Am My Own Wife), lyrics by Amanda Green (Bring it On: The Musical) and music by Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Green and is based on the acclaimed 1997 documentary of the same name by S.R. Bindler, produced by Kevin Morris and Bindler. Only one winner can drive home the American Dream and 10 hard-luck Texans all want the keys. Under a scorching sun for days on end, they will each fight to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck in order to win it.

 

Hands marks the third collaboration between Director Pazdernik and Music Director Schneidman at Refuge. They previously worked together on the Jeff-Award winning High Fidelity and last season’s Jeff-Award nominated Spitfire Grill.

 

New York Magazine said Hands on a Hardbody is “Hands down … musical theater heaven!” and The New York Times said, “You can hear the voice of America singing in this daring new musical.”

 

Community Partner Organizations:

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago mobilizes communities to create equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV and related chronic diseases. AFC envisions a world in which people living with HIV and related chronic diseases will thrive, and new HIV infections will be rare. Learn more at aidschicago.org.

Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. Howard Brown is the largest LGBTQ organization in the Midwest, providing primary and specialty healthcare, social services, and infectious disease screenings to more than 34,000 people each year.  Our 10 clinics span the City of Chicago, from Englewood to Rogers Park.  For more information, visit howardbrown.org.

Season of Concern is the Chicagoland theatre community’s fundraising effort in providing compassionate care to those in our community who are experiencing the effects of incapacitating illness, injury or circumstance. Artists helping artists; family helping family. seasonofconcern.org.

Refuge Theater Project is proud to announce the cast and production team for its first production in its 2018 – 2019 season, The Last Session, October 265 – December 2, book by Jim Brochu, with music and lyrics by Steve Schalchlin, additional lyrics by John Bettis and Marie Cain directed by Refuge Theatre Project’s Artistic Director Christopher Pazdernik and music directed by Erik Pearson. The Last Session runs  Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. at Atlas Art Studio, 4809 N Ravenswood Ave. Previews are Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. with opening/press night Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. There are two additional performances Monday, Nov. 12 and 26 at 8 p.m. Preview tickets are $15, regular run tickets are $30 each and available at RefugeTheatre.com.

 

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LISTING INFORMATION:

 

The Last Session
Book by Jim Brochu 
Music and lyrics by Steve Schalchlin, with additional lyrics by John Bettis and Marie Cain
Directed by Refuge Theatre Project Artistic Director Christopher Pazdernik
Music Directed by Erik Pearson
October 26 – December 2
Location: Atlas Arts Studio, 4809 N Ravenswood Ave.
Previews: Friday, Oct. 26 and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m.
Opening Night: Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.
Schedule: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. with two additional Monday performances: November 12 and 26 at 8 p.m.
Tickets: Previews: $15 Regular Performances: $30
Tickets on sale at RefugeTheatre.com.