Porchlight Announces 25th Season, Including “Sunset Boulevard”

Porchlight Announces 25th Season, Including “Sunset Boulevard”

Pictured: Hollis Resnik

by Jason Epperson

Porchlight Music Theatre has announced its 25th Anniversary season, kicking off in October with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting “Sunset Boulevard” starring Hollis Resnik. Following is “Sophisticated Ladies,” a revue of Duke Ellington music opening next January. Closing out the season is the Chicago premiere of the Disney musical based on the mother-daughter-body-swap film “Freaky Friday” in April of 2020.

The company will also honor the Irving Berlin musical “Call Me Madam” as part of its “Porchlight Revisits” series, along with three “New Faces Sing Broadway” concerts, a holiday presentation of The Ruffians’ “Burning Bluebeard” and a host of special activities and events to celebrate the company’s 25th Anniversary.

Porchlight Music Theatre’s 2019 – 2020 Season (descriptions from the press release):

Hollis Resnik in
“Sunset Boulevard”
October 11 – November 24, 2019
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book and Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton
Based on the Billy Wilder film
Directed by Michael Weber
Music Directed by Aaron Benham
Choreographed by Shanna VanDerwerker

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. When impoverished screenwriter Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive domain he is persuaded to work on Norma’s “masterpiece,” a screenplay that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras. Seduced by Norma and her luxurious lifestyle, he finds himself trapped in her clutches until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with shattering consequences. This Tony Award-winning masterpiece of obsession, romance and the Golden Age of Hollywood stars one of Chicago Theatre’s most celebrated leading ladies: Hollis Resnik, making her Porchlight Music Theatre Mainstage debut.

New Faces Sing Broadway 1956
Fall 2019
Featuring hit songs from the 1956 Broadway shows: “My Fair Lady,” “The Most Happy Fella,” “Bells Are Ringing” and others.

“Call Me Madam”
November 20 and November 21
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Directed by Christopher Pazdernik

From the combined talents who created Annie Get Your Gun and The Sound of Music and created for the original “The Hostess with the Mostess’ on the Ball,” Ethel Merman, here is one of the Golden Age of Broadway’s biggest musical comedy hits. All the more timely today, it’s a satire on politics and foreign policy that spoofs America’s penchant for lending billions of dollars to needy countries and centers on Sally Adams, a well-meaning but ill-informed socialite who is appointed United States Ambassador to the fictional European country of Lichtenburg who charms the local gentry and, of course, falls in love.

Featuring the hit songs: “It’s a Lovely Day Today,” “The Best Thing for You (Would Be Me)” and “You’re Just in Love.”

The Ruffians’ “Burning Bluebeard”
December 13 – 28

Porchlight Music Theatre plays host to the fast-growing Chicago theatrical phenomenon for a strictly limited engagement! “Burning Bluebeard,” created and performed by the critically-acclaimed theatre troupe The Ruffians, has been touted as “a show you won’t quickly forget and that you could only see in Chicago” by the Chicago Tribune, and Newcity says the production is “filled to the brim with irreverent humor, riveting dance sequences and enough charm to fill a bucket …” Told with music, clowning, tumbling, acrobatics and dance, “Burning Bluebeard” is inspired by the true story of Chicago’s former Iroquois Theatre and the unforgettable events that resulted in tragedy for 600 theatergoers at Christmastime in 1903. An immediate holiday tradition for many since its debut in 2011, each performance is a vaudevillian delight with a story and music that excavates the poetic and poignant remains of a piece of Chicago’s rich history and leaves the audiences with an unforgettable holiday experience.

Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies”
January 24 – March 7, 2020
Music by Duke Ellington
Concept by Donald McKayle
Directed and Choreographed by Brenda Didier and Florence Walker Harris
Music Directed by Jermaine Hill

A celebration of the artist many consider “the most important composer in the history of jazz,” this stylish salute to “The Duke” will transport audiences on a high-stepping, dynamic journey through the life and times of one of America’s greatest showmen. From his early days at Harlem’s legendary Cotton Club through growing successes at Carnegie Hall, on Broadway, in Hollywood and around the world, this elegant, Tony Award-nominated entertainment features a treasure trove of Ellington’s biggest hits, including “Mood Indigo,” “Take the “A” Train,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,”, “Hit Me With a Hot Note and Watch Me Bounce,” “Perdido,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Satin Doll” among many others.

New Faces Sing Broadway 1987
Winter 2020
Featuring hit songs from the 1987 Broadway shows: Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Me and My Girl and others.

Chicago Premiere
Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” A New Musical
April 10 – May 24, 2020
Book by Bridget Carpenter
Music by Tom Kitt
Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Based on the Novel “Freaky Friday” by Mary Rodgers and the Disney films
Directed by Brenda Didier
Choreographed by Shanna VanDerwerker
Music Directed by Linda Madonia

Porchlight Music Theatre is excited to present the Chicago premiere of Disney’s newest musical comedy for the whole family! Based on the hit book and beloved films, and 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,” this is the modern story of an overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies and, with hilarious results, have only one day to put things right again before Mom’s big wedding. Featuring a fresh, fun and high-energy musical score, this NEW Disney musical is a heartfelt, comedic and unexpectedly emotional take on an American classic for the young and young in heart.

New Faces Sing Broadway NOW
Spring 2020
Featuring hit songs from today’s Broadway shows: “Tootsie,” “Beetlejuice,” “Hamilton” and others.

Porchlight’s Mainstage and Porchlight Revisits will perform at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Subscriptions will go on sale soon at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by phone at 773.777.9884. Single tickets for all performances go on sale Monday, June 3 at 10 a.m. 

About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.