Jan. 15 - Feb. 27, 2022

Conceived by Sheldon Epps

With the music of Bessie SmithJohnny MercerHarold ArlenVernon DukeGordon Jenkins, and Alberta Hunter and others

Directed and Choreographed by Kenny Ingram+
Music Director David Fiorello+
Associate Music Director and Conductor Maulty Jewell IV+
Assistant Choreographer Ariel Dorsey*

The Blues is one of America’s original art forms and Chicago was the home to some of the greatest Blues performers ever. Set in a history-filled hotel on Chicago’s south side one fateful night in the late 1930s, this Tony Award-nominated celebration interweaves the stories of three women who share their highs and lows of romance through the iconic songs of Bessie SmithDuke EllingtonJohnny MercerHarold ArlenAlberta HunterJimmy CoxIda Cox and others.

The Blues in the Night cast includes Felicia P. Fields* (“The Lady from the Road”) in her Porchlight Mainstage debut;  Donica Lynn* (“The Woman of the World”) last seen by Porchlight audiences in her Jeff-Award nominated role in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated LadiesClare Kennedy* (“The Girl with a Date”) a follow up to her performance in Porchlight’s New Faces Sing Broadway 1961Evan Tyrone Martin+ (“The Man in the Saloon) last seen in Porchlight’s Jeff Award-winning Dreamgirls and Terrell Armstrong+ (“The Dancing Man”) last seen in Porchlight’s  A Chorus Line.

Blues in the Night’s production team includes: Kenny Ingram+, (director & choreographer); David Fiorello+, (music director);  Ariel M Dorsey*, (assistant choreographer) and Maulty Jewell IV+ (associate music director/conductor), Alden Vasquez+ (production stage manager); Ruben Echoles+ (costume and wig designer), Brandon Wardell+ (lighting designer), Eric Backus+ (sound designer), Angela Weber Miller* (scenic designer), Caitlin McCarthy* (properties designer), Matthew Chase+ (audio engineer), Rachel West* (lighting supervisor), Jennifer Aparicio* (production manager), Henry Wilkinson+ (technical director), Rashaad A. Bond+, (producing artistic associate); Alex Rhyan+, (production and operations director) and Michael Weber+, (artistic director).


Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs);  = (any with respect)

Cast

Terrell Armstrong+

Terrell Armstrong+

"The Dancing Man"

TERRELL ARMSTRONG (he/him/his) Porchlight: “Richie Walters” in A Chorus Line. Chicago: An American in Paris (Drury Lane) and Sweet Charity (Columbia College Chicago). Armstrong is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago with his BA in Musical Theatre/Dance. Prior to moving to Chicago in fall of 2017, he attended Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and danced with Modas Dance, New Mexico, for two years. “do everything with love.”

Felicia P. Fields*

Felicia P. Fields*

"The Lady from the Road"

Felicia P. Fields* (she/her/hers) is Porchlight Music Theatre’s 2021 Guy Adkins Award For Excellence in the Advancement Of Music Theatre Recipient. Fields is an acclaimed and renowned actress, director and playwright with credits around the country. In Chicago, Fields has participated in many productions with the Goodman Theatre including Crowns; The Rose Tattoo; The Amen Corner; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as well as being the first African-American female to portray “The Ghost of Christmas Present” in A Christmas Carol. Fields’ other Chicago credits include pro­ductions at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire; Chicago Shakespeare Theater; The Court Theater; Northlight Theatre; Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace; Theatre at the Center and Apple Tree Theatre; among others. Fields’ has also received a Black Theatre Alliance Award and nominations, multiple Jeff Award nominations and the award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Sophisticated Ladies. In addition, Governor Pat Quinn declared July 24, 2007 “Felicia P. Fields Day.”

On Broadway, Fields earned a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of “Sofia” in The Color Purple; she also was a member of the first national tour. Fields’ performance as “Sofia” also garnered her a 2006 Theatre World Award, a Clarence Derwent Award, two Broadway.com awards, an NAACP nomination, a Denver Post Ovation Award and she was a 2006 Drama League honoree.

Field’s other production credits include Hairspray; the first cycle of the tour of Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Nunsense; Sunset Boulevard; Swinging on a Star; Some Like It Hot; Richard II; It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues; Low Down Dirty Blues; A Civil War Christmas; Hot Mikado; Show Boat; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Dreamgirls; Little Shop of Horrors; 7 Guitars and Hello Dolly! And associate director for 5 Guys Named Moe, among others. Fields’ television and film credits include “Early Edition,” “Save the Last Dance,” “The Knights of Prosperity,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD,” “Who gets the Dog?,” “Slice” and many commercials and voice-overs.”  

Clare Kennedy*

Clare Kennedy*

"The Girl with a Date"

CLARE KENNEDY (she/her/hers) is delighted to be returning to Porchlight after making her debut in “New Faces Sing: Broadway 1962”. Educational theatre: Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, Alice in Bright Star, Susan in Tick, Tick.. Boom! (Northwestern University). She is a 2020 graduate from Northwestern University and represented by Stewart Talent. This one’s for Deej- “Yo!” clarekennedy.me

Donica Lynn*

Donica Lynn*

"The Woman of the World"

DONICA LYNN* (she/her/hers) Porchlight: “Effie” in Dreamgirls (Jeff Award, Time Out Chicago Award, Black Theater Alliance Award, African American Arts Alliance nomination, Broadway World Award nomination), Porchlight Revisits Call Me Madam, Gatecrashers, Chicago Sings: Disney, Motown, Beatles & 25th Anniversary. Chicago: Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Jeff Award nomination—Best Actress), 42nd Street, Aida, Rock of Ages, Hairspray, Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, James & the Giant Peach (Drury Lane Oakbrook); Confessions of P.I.M.P. w/Andre de Shields, A Wonder In My Soul (Victory Gardens Theater); Barnum, The Color Purple (Mercury Theater Chicago); Caroline or Change (Court Theatre); Lady In Denmark (Goodman); Fiorello! (Timeline Theater); Queenie Pie (Chicago Opera Theatre); Black Nativity, Sanctified (Congo Square); Ghost (Jeff Award), Footloose (Theatre at the Center). TV/Radio: Chicago Fire (NBC), Sears Craftsman Tools. Alumnus of Walt Whitman and The Soul Children of Chicago, back-up singer for artists from Mariah Carey to Natalie Cole, and the Chicago Tribune’s 2016 Person of the Year in Theatre. Donica is a wife, brain cancer survivor, LGBTQ advocate, supporter of brain tumor & cancer awareness & research, and ambassador for Chicago Actors Call to Action, though her biggest role thus far has been being a mother to her three children. She thanks this creative team—including her mentor and dear friend, Brenda Didier—for including her in their vision. Represented by Stewart Talent & proud member of AEA & SAG/AFTRA. Love to Kippy and Sahm.

Evan Tyrone Martin+

Evan Tyrone Martin+

"The Man in the Saloon"

Artistic Team

Kenny Ingram+

Kenny Ingram+

Director & Choreographer

KENNY INGRAM+ (he/him/his) is Grateful to be on the team of Porchlight Theatre’s production of Blues in the Night. Mr Ingram last directed and choreographed “Triple Threat” A play that moves and sings starring James T. Lane ahh The Zeiders American Dream Theatre in Virginia Beach. He received the White Nights Film Festival Diploma for his Direction and Choreography for Chicago Performing Theatrical production of “The Moment” in Russia. Kenny pioneered as a directed and choreographed for Chicago Shakes first summer musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at navy Pier. He choreographed New York Times Critics Pick re -mount of Emojiland Off Broadway at The Duke on 42nd, and Till, The Musical based on the story of Emmett Till Off Broadway at Signature Theatre for the New York Musical Festival. Kenny won outstanding Choreography for his moves in Emojiland in 2018 at NYMF. Although Kenny lives in Harlem, He is excited to return home to Chicago where he began his career at Lou Conte Dance Studio on Scholarship, taught jazz dance here at Ruth Page Center and Choreographed at many Chicago Legendary Theatre’s including Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Organic Theatre, Hasted Street Theatre and now to cap it off Porchlight. He looks forward to staging the reading of CLEAR here at Porchlight.

David Fiorello+

David Fiorello+

Music Director

DAVID FIORELLO+ (he/him/his) is a Music Director, Performer, Director, Composer & Arranger who’s no stranger to Porchlight. He has served as Music Director for Porchlight’s GYPSY, DO RE MI, WOMAN OF THE YEAR, several seasons of the New Faces Sing Broadway series, as well as several CHICAGO SINGS & ICONS GALA benefits. He also appeared onstage as Joe in MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. David currently serves as Founder & Artistic Director of THE BEAUTIFUL CITY PROJECT, a theatre company committed to raising funds for local Chicago charities & non-profits, using some of the city’s finest musical theatre talents. He’s Music Directed National & International Tours, including John Doyle’s re-imagining of SWEENEY TODD. He also served as Music Director for the Off-Broadway hit DANNY & SYLVIA: THE DANNY KAYE MUSICAL. His orchestrations and arrangements have been heard across the nation, and on several albums. He’s taught and Directed/Music Directed as part of the International Lyric Academy in Italy, and is adjunct faculty at Columbia College Chicago. An in-demand Vocal Coach, Fiorello Studios has also provided unique cabaret programming featuring the music of The Indigo Girls, Jason Mraz, Kelly Clarkson, Eva Cassidy, Sara Bareilles & Colbie Caillat. Visit www.thebeautifulcityproject.com & www.fiorellostudios.com

Maulty Jewell IV+

Maulty Jewell IV+

Assistant Music Director & Conductor

MAULTY JEWELL IV+ (Associate Music Director/Conductor) a native of Gary, IN, began playing the piano at an early age under the tutelage of his father, renowned musician Maulty Jewell III. It was at the Clark Road Baptist Church, during services and his father’s choir rehearsals, where Maulty was introduced to the rich heritage of gospel music. By the age of 3 he showed an aptitude for hearing melodies and began to pick out cartoon songs and commercials on his father’s piano.

In 1982, he auditioned for and was accepted into the Emerson School for Visual And Performing Arts in Gary, IN as part of the inaugural group of students selected. It was there where he learned music theory as well as music history, and was exposed to classical music, jazz, and musical theater. He performed in many of the school’s productions, such as Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Guys And Dolls, Flower Drum Song, West Side Story, Your Arms Too Short To Box With God, Dreamgirls, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and many others. Already capable of playing by ear, he began studying private classical piano lessons with instructor Thelma Blumenthal as a sixth grader. Through his studies with Mrs. Blumenthal, he would learn many compositions by great composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, and many others.

Ariel M. Dorsey*

Ariel M. Dorsey*

Assistant Choreographer

ARIEL M DORSEY* (she/her/hers) is a Chicago native, she began her formal training at Chicago Academy for the Arts under the direction of Ana Peskevska and Randy Duncan. Ariel went on to further her studies at SUNY Purchase College in New York where she graduated with a BFA in dance. Mrs. Dorsey’s credits include Winifred Haun and Dancers,Hot Crowd, Banks Performance Project (guest artist),Moonwater dance project, Porchlight music theatre production of “Memphis” (ensemble) and “Sophisticated Ladies”(female swing).  

Production Staff

Jennifer Aparicio*

Production Manager

JENNIFER APARICIO (she/her/hers) has been working in the Chicago theater scene for the past several years as a freelance production manager and stage manager. Select production management credits include work with Teatro Vista, Sideshow Theatre Company, Oak Park Festival Theatre, and 16th Street Theater. As a stage manager, credits include work with The Goodman Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Oak Park Festival Theatre, 16th Street Theater, and Lifeline Theatre. Jennifer is an Artistic Associate with Teatro Vista and 16th Street Theater and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Eric Backus+

Sound Designer

Eric Backus (he/him/his) is a composer and sound designer based in Chicago. Previous collaborations with Porchlight include the streaming productions Chicago Sings Rock & Roll and Broadway by the Decade. Off-Broadway: Hollow/Wave (United Solo Festival), Churchill (SoloChicago Theatre); Regional: Mark Twain’s River of Song, The All Night Strut (Milwaukee Rep.), Shakespeare in Love, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (TheatreSquared), Legally Blonde (Northern Stage), Working: A Musical, Murder for Two (Merry Go Round Playhouse), Rock of Ages (Lake Dillon Theatre Co.). Recent Chicago credits include Plano (First Floor Theater, Steppenwolf LookOut Series), Short Shakes! Comedy of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Every Brilliant Thing (Windy City Playhouse), Wolf Play (Gift Theatre, Jeff Nomination), and The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (American Blues Theater, Jeff Nomination). In addition to theatre, Eric has composed and sound designed for podcasts and film. To hear some of his music, please visit ericbackus.com.

Matthew R. Chase+

Audio Supervisor

Matthew R. Chase (he/him/his) is a Chicago-based Theatrical Sound Designer and Audio Engineer. Recent credits include: Sound Design of Anyone Can Whistle, Cooking with Bubbie & Veronica’s Room (Skokie Theatre) Gigi’s Party (Yellow Rose Theatre) Urinetown & Xanadu (Columbia College Chicago), 9 to 5 & Mama Mia (Golden Ticket Productions), Assistant Sound Designer for Sophisticated Ladies, Sunset Boulevard, A Chorus Line & A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Porchlight Musical Theatre) Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Theo Ubique), The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe (Underscore Theatre Company), Production Manager for Theater Wit.

Reuben D. Echoles+

Costume & Wig Designer

(he/him/his) Mr. Echoles is an accomplished playwright, director, choreographer, and designer. He is an Associate Artistic Director for Black Ensemble Theater and has been since from 2005. Rueben has had the pleasure of working with many theater companies across the country and in the Chicagoland area such as ETA creative Arts Foundation (Director/Choreographer/Costume designer Showfolk TYA, Co playwright with Euseni Eugene Perkins ‘Voices of HIV’) Congo Square, Refuge, Porchlight Music Theater (costume designer), Paramount (asst. wig designer) and Studio One Dance Theater (playwright, director creative consultant 2003 – present), just to name a few. His most recent projects include Call Me Madam (costume design PMT) “A New Attitude, In Tribute to Patti Labelle“, “My Brothers Keeper: The story of the Nicholas Brothers” and “The last Dancer Standing” (playwright/director/Choreographer Black Ensemble Theater) Rueben is thrilled to be a part of this amazing project!

Caitlyn McCarthy*

Properties Designer

Caitlin (she/her/hers) is a multi-disciplinary theatre and film artist who works in prop, costume, and production design. Chicago: prop design for Sophisticated Ladies (Porchlight Music Theater), The Last Pair of Earlies, A Doll’s House (Raven Theatre), A Recipe for Disaster, Every Brilliant Thing, The Recommendation (Windy City Playhouse); costume/prop design for The Gulf (About Face Theatre). Film: production design for The Care and Keeping of You; production/costume design for Trading Hearts with Victor Shaw, CLAMBAKE (upcoming); costume design for The Last Stand of Bobby Coe (upcoming). Caitlin is the Director of Production at First Floor Theater.  www.caitlinmccarthy.net

Brandon Wardell+

Lighting Designer

Brandon Wardell (he/him/his) is a Lighting and Scenic Designer based in Chicago.  He is an Ensemble Member at Steep Theatre Company, an Artistic Associate with Griffin Theatre Company, and Associate Professor of Lighting Design at Northern Illinois University.  Recent designs include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Steppenwolf); A Number (Writers); The Father (Remy Bumppo); Birdland, Lela & Co., and Earthquakes in London (Steep); Cardboard Piano and The Vibrator Play (TimeLine); Men On Boats (American Theatre Company);  Titanic, London Wall, and Men Should Weep (Griffin); The Game of Love and Chance (American Players); and Million Dollar Quartet (Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival).  Other designs include The Sleepy Hollow Experience, the Little Mermaid Cocktail Experience, and The Hubbard Inn Christmas Pop-Up.  Brandon earned his MFA from Northwestern University.  Brandonwardelldesign.com

Angie Weber Miller*

Scenic Designer

(she/her/hers) Angie is back at Porchlight for her fourth show, having designed Sophisticated Ladies, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and A Class Act. Other recent productions include Cinderella (Paramount Theater), Who’s Holiday (Theater Wit), Sister Act (Mercury Theater), and The Jigsaw Bride at First Folio Theater, where is an artistic associate and has designed many sets. Upcoming shows include The Secret Council and Emma at First Folio, The 2022 Bar Show for the Chicago Bar Association, Women of Soul at The Mercury Theater, and Steel Magnolias at Drury Lane Theater. Angie has been nominated for some Jeff Awards, won one, and is a proud member of United Scenic Artists 829.  www.angelawebermiller.com

Rachel West*

Lighting Designer

Rachel West (she/her/hers) has been serving as the lighting supervisor for Porchlight since the 2016. She has designed the Porchlight Revisits productions of 1776, Can-Can, Minnie’s Boys and Call Me Madam and more recently the Porchlight Palooza virtual fundraiser. She is a Chicago-area native and a graduate of Boston University. Rachel proudly volunteers for the Maine-Niles Association for Special Recreation, teaching theatre for individuals with special needs. 

Henry Wilkinson+

Technical Director

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