Just the thing for spring

Such a pleasure

Cook has created new orchestrations (in his spare time, presumably) for a little orchestra in the balcony. It's hard to overstate Cook's talents — which have been evident since he emerged at the Theo Ubique Theatre — when it comes to Sondheim. Cook has a splendid voice, can play piano with an ebullient flare and he even looks like his man, in his younger years, of course. Porchlight previously put all that in play with Cook at the core of "Sondheim on Sondheim" and it does much the same with this quieter show, conjuring up a young composer at his piano in his apartment, putting down on paper the troubles of his heart.

A big personality in her own right, and an actress who has developed a whole new complexity, Thomas more than holds her own in her little apartment (the twain do meet on Jeff Kmiec's witty set) and offers up some very fine renditions of the oeuvre, including "Happily Ever After" from "Company," a song that she delivers with all the ambiguity it needs.

You won't regret securing a place on the expedition.

Chicago Sun-Times - Hedy Weiss


But trust me, you have not really seen “Marry Me a Little” until you’ve caught up with the ideally updated and re-imagined version of the show that opened Tuesday night at Porchlight Music Theatre. Particular credit goes to the two dazzling talents involved: Austin Cook, the pianist, singer, actor and musical director, and Bethany Thomas, who has long been known for her clarion voice, which spans so many octaves you might easily lose count, and who here finally has the chance to demonstrate the full range of her dramatic gifts, too.

Each of the performers also has knockout solo turns, with Cook delivering an angry “If You Can Find Me, I’m Here” from “Primrose,” and a subtly ironic take on one of my personal favorites, “You Are the Best Thing That Ever Has Happened” from “Road Show,” and Thomas bringing a wonderfully zany, multi-voiced, texting-infused spin to “Can That Boy Foxtrot.”

“Marry Me a Little” runs just 70 minutes, but Porchlight has turned it into a full-fledged, heart-piercingly beautiful musical. Not to be missed.



Porchlight Music Theatre revamps a revue of Sondheim trunk songs to hugely affecting effect.

Director Jess McLeod and Porchlight Music Theatre, with Sondheim’s permission, have updated the show to intriguing effect.

Two of Chicago’s most talented actor-musicians getting to sink their teeth into a rollercoaster of a story arc

But what a pleasure it is to see Thomas, with her uniquely broad and powerful vocal range, make a comic meal out of playing the Follies cut song “Can That Boy Foxtrot” as a he-said/she-said while swiping on Tinder. Ditto seeing Cook, best known as a music director who occasionally acts, really dig into a meaty role. You’re bound to find yourself rooting for these two types who you too rarely see matched up onstage to make it. – Katy Walsh


Entertain me a lot!

The tight 70 minute is a unique spring outing for musical lovers. At times, it’s light and lusty as the pair playfully come together. Then later, the songs shift with the-honeymoon-is-over realism.

Cook pulls an impressive trifecta serving as piano player, music director and leading man. … He doesn’t so much tickle the ivories as dances with them. 

Cook and Thomas are established Chicago musical icons. Pairing them in MARRY ME A LITTLE is a dynamic marriage of convenience!  Well done, Porchlight, you are quite the matchmaker! - Alan Bresloff


The man is played by Austin Cook, a great musician, singer who as we see from this show is also a powerful actor. The woman by the always wonderful Bethany Thomas, who for the most part has wowed us with “character roles”, but in this production shows us the “romantic side/leading lady” quality we had not seen before. One could not ask for a better cast for this 70 minute production

The talent in this production is worthy of awards for the perfection we were able to witness. - Amy Muncie


If it weren’t for the thrilling vocal range of Bethany Thomas coupled with Austin Cook’s velvet voice, this show probably wouldn’t be the incredible musical treat that it is.

This is one production that more than merits your return visit to the Windy City.

This is one helluva treat! – Larry Bommer


Porchlight Music Theatre’s wonderful one-act seamlessly interweaves a score of stunning showpieces.

Marry Me a Little is also a riveting showcase for Cook as a crooner and for Chicago favorite Bethany Thomas, a belter with a ton of heart.

The condensed intimacy of Thomas and Cook’s ill-fated urban coupling is a love(lorn) lesson well worth feeling. – Robert Bullen


Porchlight Music Theatre, which has a long history of doing Sondheim proud, has revisited the material and interpolated new pieces and some of the master’s rarest and most recent work – think cut songs from out-of-town tryouts – working in partnership with the genius himself. Furthermore, Austin Cook, a megawatt talented music director who also stars in this production alongside the blazing Bethany Thomas, developed smart, new orchestrations for a tight quartet of performers who accompany Cook when he’s not banging out a tricky atonal Sondheim vamp on the on-stage baby grand.

Director Jess McLeod has overcome the tired trope of a couple formulating, flaring up, fizzling out and fading away by casting it with the dynamic Thomas and arresting Cook, whose singular talents breathe life into these sketches of characters.

Splash Magazine - Debra Davy

The quality of the material is staggering; it’s amazing to recall that these songs were “rejects” or leftovers from both classic and rare shows. The virtuoso singing, solo and together is worth twice the price of admission.

Cook , a dab hand at Sondheim, is an amazingly skilled pianist, who is fully immersed, swiveling in and away, tapping his toes on and off the pedals. He’s also a very ardent lover! When he holds the lovely Thomas in his arms, and their lips meet, he’s irresistible. Thomas herself, a Jeff award- winning actress, by turns arch and coy, has a voice composed of strength and honey. To watch her strut and hear her sing “Can That Boy Foxtrot” is to partake of intimate musical theater at it’s best.

NewCity - Aaron Hunt


A piece with this cast would be a highlight of any city’s theatrical season.

Cook plays brilliantly from the stage with a nice sense of phrasing.

Thomas has been becoming a star right before our eyes since before she could order a cocktail. What was always a powerhouse voice now whispers as well as shouts. The transits between the registers have become seamless and Thomas’ performance here shows her to be the finest dramatic-soprano-bass-baritone in the city. Astonishingly, she is even more breathtaking in silence.