Porchlight Music Theatre Launches 18th Season With Chicago Premiere of ‘A CLASS ACT’
Porchlight Music Theatre launches its 18th season with the Chicago premiere of A Class Act, September 1 – October 7, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. A Class Act’s music and lyrics are by Edward Kleban and the book is by Linda Kline and Lonny Price. Porchlight’s production is directed and choreographed by Stacey Flaster with music direction by Beckie Menzie who will personally accompany at the grand piano. Porchlight Artistic Associate Doug Peck plays performances Sept 7, 8 & 9 and Oct 7. A Class Act previews are Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Monday, Sept 3 at 7:30 p.m. Opening/Press Night is Tuesday, September 4 at 7:30 pm. The regular run schedule is Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Please note: there is no 4 p.m. performance, Saturday, Sept. 8. Tickets are $30 for previews and $39 for all other performances. Subscriptions to the entire 18th Season, student, senior and group discounts are available. Purchase Season Subscriptions at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by phone at 773-777-9884. Single tickets for A Class Act may be purchased at theaterwit.org, or by phone at 773-975-8150 .
A Class Act, nominated for three Drama Desk Awards and five Tonys including “Best Musical,” is a “musical about musicals” based on the life of one of the award winning collaborators of A Chorus Line, Composer–Lyricist Edward Kleban, who died at the age of 48 in 1987. Kleban’s friends Linda Kline and Lonny Price created the story from Kleban’s work that was never produced and found after his death.
Providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how a musical is created and the forces behind its creation, A Class Act, uses flashbacks to retrace the high and low points of Kleban’s amazing career and explores how an artist’s personal life can inspire or interfere with professional pursuits. The show integrates songs, which Stephen Sondheim said he “wished he’d written,” from widely different Kleban projects into the narrative, with the topics ranging from the tricks of songwriting to personal/professional relationships to self-critical examination. Each number establishes a particular moment of insight creating a study of a lost era in show business.
A Class Act stars Bill Larkin as Ed Kleban with John Francisco, Bobby/Michael Bennett; Michael Glenn, Lehman Engel; Tina Gluschenko, Sophie; Sharriese Hamilton, Felicia; Jessica Joy, Mona;; Zach Spound, Charley/Marvin Hamlisch/Dr. Nodine/Jean-Claude Chevray; Dana Tretta, Lucy and understudies Eli Branson, Amanda Kayla Kahn, Alex Newkirk and Khaki Pixley.
The production team for A Class Act includes Bil Ingraham, assistant director; Doug Peck, music supervisor Patrick Fries, production manager; Christopher Tisone, stage manager; Bill Morey, costume designer; Dustin L. Derry, lighting designer, Julia Eberhardt, properties designer, Angela Miller, set designer and Victoria (Toy) Delorio, sound designer.
ABOUT STACEY FLASTER, director and choreographer
Stacey Flaster has directed and/or choreographed for Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theatre at the Center, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Light Opera Works, Paramount Theatre, Noble Fool Theatricals, among others. She has been nominated for two Jeff Awards for her choreography. Flaster graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign with a degree in dance. This is her first production with Porchlight Music Theatre.
ABOUT BECKIE MENZIE, music director
Beckie Menzie is best known for her cabaret appearances , regularly performing with Tom Michaels. She has appeared at some of the nation’s top nightclubs and concert venues including the legendary Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre and Park West, as well as at concert halls and art series across the country. Hailed by Chicago’s WGN Radio as “one of the city’s finest cabaret performers,” Menzie is a three time winner of Chicago’s After Dark Award for Outstanding Cabaret Artist Award. A staple of the Chicago music scene, she regularly performs at Davenport’s, Petterino’s, and Maxim’s. Menzie is also an award winning songwriter and also teaches in the musical theatre department of Northwestern University. This is her first production with Porchlight Music Theatre.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE
Porchlight Music Theatre, nationally recognized for developing innovative new works, reimagining classic productions and showcasing musical theatre’s rising stars, begins its 18th season as Chicago’s leader of music theatre productions. Porchlight elevates music theatre in Chicago within an intimate, close-up environment and provides a thoroughly modern and passionate experience, serving both audiences and artists alike. With the recent addition of new Artistic Director Michael Weber and a 2012-2013 season that includes the Chicago premiere of O. Henry’s American Christmas Carol, The Gifts of the Magi, November 17 – December 23, at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.; the musical biography of Billie Holiday, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, February 2 – March 10, 2013, at Stage 773 and the O’Hara, Rodgers and Hart classic, Pal Joey, April 20 – May 26 at Stage 773. Porchlight’s rich history includes the staging of more than 50 shows with five world premieres, among them, BEST MUSICAL! its most recent work developed through “Off the Porch,” Porchlight’s new works program, as well as eight Chicago premieres. The company has received a total of 40 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 12 Jeff Awards.
In 2011, Porchlight introduced the first annual Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre in Chicago, named in honor of the beloved actor, and presented it to L. Walter Stearns in recognition of his 14 years as artistic director of the company. In 2012, the Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre in Chicago was presented to one of Chicago’s leading actors, Hollis Resnik, during the The Icons Gala, Celebrating the Art of Michael Bennett.
Porchlight Music Theatre presents A Class Act, September 1 – October 7, at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Previews are Saturday, Sept. 1 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Monday, Sept 3 at 7:30 p.m. Opening/Press Night is Tuesday, September 4 at 7:30 pm. The regular run schedule is Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Please note: there is no 4 p.m. performance, Saturday, Sept. 8. Single tickets are $30 for previews and $39 for all other performances. Subscriptions to the entire 18th Season, student, senior and group discounts are available. Purchase Season Subscriptions at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by phone at 773-777-9884. Single tickets for A Class Act may be purchased at theaterwit.org, or by phone at 773-975-8150 .
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Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from the Actors’ Equity Foundation, A.R.T League, the Arts Work Fund at the Chicago Community Trust, Chase Bank, a City Arts Grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council (a state agency), the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the National Association of Realtors, Peoples Energy and the Saints