About Porchlight Music Theatre
As Chicago’s music theatre center for almost 25 years, Porchlight Music Theatre has earned a growing and die-hard audience base, as well as national critical acclaim. Porchlight is known for its bold, edgy and intimate style, offering audiences the drama, song and dance “up close” with Chicago and Broadway’s brightest music theatre talents.
Porchlight Music Theatre is a proud member of:
(ABOVE: Angela Ingersoll in “End of the Rainbow.” Photo by Kelsey Jorissen)
Over the years, Porchlight Music Theatre has staged more than 70 productions, including many Chicago and world premieres, and has been honored to receive an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 151 Jeff Award nominations, 28 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and 12 BTA awards, among other recognition. We are especially proud to have received five consecutive Best Production Jeff Awards for A Class Act (2013), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2014), Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Dreamgirls (2016) and The Scottsboro Boys (2017).
Porchlight Revisits: Lost Musicals in Staged Concert
Our mainstage series is just one way to enjoy Porchlight’s commitment to the great American genre of music theatre. Our hugely popular Porchlight Revisits series of “lost” musicals in staged concert gives the community a rare opportunity to explore three “forgotten” Broadway musicals each season, with each production running three nights.
New Faces Sing Broadway: Ten Local Up-and-Comers Presenting One Season from Broadway’s Past
Our New Faces Sing Broadway revue series is presented one night at The Arts Club of Chicago and one night at SPACE Evanston. This series presents the ‘hits and misses’ of a given year on Broadway, emceed by a local theatre luminary, and showcasing 10 up-and-coming local music theatre stars.
The ICONS Gala & Chicago Sings
The School at Porchlight: Immersion in Music Theatre for Youth and Adults
Our commitment to the music theatre genre includes celebrating not only the past and present state of the art form, but also in nurturing its future. The School at Porchlight offers children and professional artists an opportunity to pursue training in performance (singing, dancing, acting) and writing, offers enthusiasts unique appreciation and scholarship events. It connects Chicago Public School students and area youth with the art form through our “Make Your Own Musical” summer camps and school-year programming from the area’s top teaching artists.
The community outreach partnership program welcomes youth from underrepresented communities as guests to mainstage productions and special post-show conversations with the cast.
Off the Porch: The New-Work Development Program at Porchlight
We continue our forward-thinking commitment with our Off The Porch program of new musicals where we nurture new works in various stages of development. Recent projects we’ve helped move along include Miracle The Musical, Bran Castle, Everly Yours, Emptynesterhood and The Gatecrashers.
We welcome you to explore our site, get connected and become more involved with the Porchlight Music Theatre community; where artists, supporters, audiences and friends shine the light on passionate, innovative and relevant works that celebrate the past, present, and future of music theatre. We look forward to seeing you at the show!
A nationally recognized cultural institution in Chicago, Porchlight brings people together to explore the human experience through the art of music theatre fostering community, inclusion and empathy.
Porchlight, Chicago’s home for music theatre, illuminates the past, present and future of this American art form through live performance, youth education and outreach programs that positively impact and connect us to the community.
- We believe that all voices and life experiences are essential to portraying on stage a complete picture of the human experience.
- We are firmly committed to the music theatre genre presented in an intimate experience.
- We treat artists, staff, volunteers and audiences with respect and dignity, inviting all into our artistic home.
- We strive to be inclusive with representation in all aspects of our organization.
- We invest in the future of music theatre through nurturing and mentoring the next generation of artists and audiences.
- We ensure long-term organizational stability through prudent collaborations, strategic alliances and sound fiscal planning.
Porchlight embraces the diversity of our community and strives to be an inclusive organization, artistically and administratively. Throughout all aspects of our work, we welcome and support diversity, encompassing, but not limited to, age, gender, ethnicity, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation and economic status. This is key to our success as the home for music theatre in Chicago.
The History of Porchlight Music Theatre
Porchlight Music Theatre was incorporated in 1995 by founding Artistic Director Jill Moore and a close group of artists and friends who aimed to create a company that would feel like home to artists and audiences alike. Porchlight came to symbolize creativity, comfort and community and for nearly 25 years the company has kept that light shining brightly.
Under L. Walter Stearns’ artistic leadership from 1998-2011, the company took on more ambitious works and added its first Equity contracts in 2004. Porchlight’s wildly successful production of Ragtime during the 2006-2007 season was a turning point for the theatre when it enjoyed an extended run at Chicago’s Apollo Theater.
In 2010, veteran actor/director/artistic director Michael Weber took the artistic helm at Porchlight and the company continues to wow audiences with first-class, sophisticated and engaging music theatre, performed by the finest veteran and emerging actors, dancers and singers, with inventive direction, and arresting design innovations.
The 2016-2017 season for Porchlight was yet another key turning point in the company’s evolution. In The Heights, the season opener, attracted record attendance, critical acclaim and four extensions for an all-time high of 78 performances. This hit musical changed the face of the company and provided the capacity and economic stability for Porchlight to make the big move to its new performance venue, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, in Chicago’s Gold Coast in fall 2017.
Mainstage Production History
*Denotes Equity Jeff Award for Best Production
Billy Elliot the Musical / Merrily We Roll Along / Memphis
In The Heights / End of the Rainbow (Chicago Premiere) / The Scottsboro Boys* (Chicago Premiere) / Marry Me A Little
Side Show / Ain’t Misbehavin’ / Far From Heaven (Chicago Premiere) / Dreamgirls*
Sweeney Todd / Sondheim on Sondheim* (Chicago Premiere) / A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Double Trouble (Chicago Premiere) / Ain’t Misbehavin’* / How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
A Class Act* (Chicago Premiere) / Gifts of the Magi (Chicago Premiere) / Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill / Pal Joey
Putting it Together / A Catered Affair (Chicago Premiere) / tick, tick…BOOM!
Sunday in the Park with George / Miracle on 34th St. / Meet John Doe (Regional Premiere) / The King & I
The Fanstasticks / Macabaret / Miracle on 34th St. / Into the Woods
Candide / Pacific Overtures / Once On This Island
Phantom / A Wonderful Life / Nine
A Wonderful Life / Assassins / The Teapot Scandals (World Premiere) / Ragtime
Gypsy / Macabaret / The Secret Garden
2004–2005 Season (10th Anniversary Season)
Sweeney Todd / Closer than Ever / Finn Fest (nation’s first-ever William Finn festival) including In Trousers/Falsettos/A New Brain/Elegies (Chicago Premiere)
Cabaret / Amadeus
Promises, Promises / Company
A Little Night Music / Children of Eden (City of Chicago Premiere) / A New Brain (City of Chicago Premiere)
Into the Woods / Passion
Colette Collage (Chicago Premiere) / Merrily We Roll Along
Ruthless! / Falsettos (City of Chicago Premiere)
Macabaret / The Vanishing Point (World Premiere)
The Still Time (World Premiere) / Macabaret / Hereafter (World Premiere)
Women Who Love Science Too Much (World Premiere) / Macabaret (Chicago Premiere) / Family Album (Chicago Premiere) / Three Sisters