THE FREE CONCERT SERIES RETURNS

Porchlight’s Free Neighborhood Concert Series Returns this Summer!

Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to announce the return of its free concert series Broadway in your Backyard, July 19 – September 6, as part of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Broadway in your Backyard is directed by Frankie Leo Bennett+ and music directed by Justin Akira Kono+.

Broadway in your Backyard will be performed at eight different parks in the Chicagoland area and features a rotating company starring Lydia Burke*, Caitlin Dobbins*, Nik Kmiecik+, Justin Akira Kono+, Jennifer Ledesma*, Bryan McCaffrey+, Brandon Pisano+/^, Lorenzo Rush Jr+ and David Fiorello+ performing favorite songs from RENT, Hello, Dolly!, The Music Man, Grease, Six, The Little Mermaid, Hair, West Side Story, Mamma Mia! and MORE.

The 2022 Broadway in your Backyard production team also includes PMT Producing Artistic Associate Frankie Leo Bennett+, Production & Operations Director Alex Rhyan+, Production Coordinator Matthew R. Chase+ and Technical Supervisor Johnnie Schleyer+.

Explore Our Show Program!

 

MEET THE 2022 COMPANY!

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

2022 SCHEDULE

Tuesday, July 19 at 6 PM

Wicker Park – 1425 N. Damen Ave, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, July 26 at 6 PM

Unity Park – 2636 N. Kimball Ave, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 6 PM

Portage Park – 4100 N. Long Ave, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 6 PM

Munroe Park – 2617 W. 105th St, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 6 PM

Washington Square Park – 901 N. Clark St, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 6 PM

Park No. 534 – 1300 S. St. Louis Ave, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 6 PM

Gill Park – 825 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 6 PM

Ellis Park – 3520 S. Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago
FREE and open to the public

*Note: Performances, performers and dates subject to change.


ABOUT NIGHT OUT IN THE PARKS

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Broadway in your Backyard is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Celebrating 10 years, the 2022 Night Out in the Parks program presents cultural events year-round in neighborhood parks throughout the city. The Chicago Park District in partnership with over 100 local artists and organizations, present engaging events and performances that enhance quality of life across Chicago and amplify the artistic and cultural vibrancy in every neighborhood. Through multiple disciplines, which include theater, music, movies, dance, site-specific work, nature programs, and community festivals, the series aims to support Chicago-based artists, facilitate community-based partnerships and programs, cultivate civic engagement and ensure equity in access to the arts for all Chicagoans.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Broadway in your Backyard?

Named one of “the most exciting Night Out in the Parks events this summer” by Time Out Chicago, Porchlight Music Theatre, as part of the city of Chicago’s Night Out in the Parks, brings some old and new favorites to your neighborhood park for a free 60 minute concert this summer at parks all over Chicago!

Should I bring my own chair, blanket or towel to Broadway in your Backyard?

Yes! Porchlight will be unable to provide chairs or blankets at these events. Please bring your own, pack a picnic and join us for some of Broadway’s best tunes.

How long is the concert?

Each performance of Broadway in your Backyard is one hour.

Will there be public restrooms available?

Patrons who plan on attending Broadway in your Backyard should read more about the facilities offered at each park on the Chicago Park District website.

Is the concert appropriate for all ages?

Broadway in your Backyard is perfect for the entire family!

Can I bring food?

Yes, you may bring coolers, non-alcoholic beverages and/or food to the park. Please follow all rules and regulations of the Chicago Park District, information found at their website. And be sure to place all trash at the end of the event in trash cans at the parks.

May I take photos?

Yes, please take photos and share on social media. Be sure to tag Porchlight and use the hashtags #BroadwayInYourBackard2022 , #NightOutInTheParks, #InTheParks, #MyChiParks.

What if it rains?

In the event of inclement weather, Broadway in your Backyard will not be rescheduled unless otherwise noted by Porchlight and the city of Chicago Park District.


DIRECTOR

Frankie Leo Bennett+ is Porchlight Music Theatre’s Producing Artistic Associate. He recently co-directed Porchlight Music Theatre’s Chicago Sings Stephen Sondheim, directed New Faces Sing Broadway 1971 and has appeared in its productions of In The Heights, New Faces Sing Broadway 1985 and Porchlight Revisits 1776.  Bennett is also a teaching artist for The School at Porchlight and was a guest contributor to Porchlight’s free virtual offerings including Movie Musical Mondays on several occasions and Sondheim @ 90 Roundtable. He serves as the chair of Porchlight’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. His regional credits include Punkass Pastry (Independent Workshop/director), The Golden Girls: The Lost Episodes (Hell in a Handbag Productions, assoc. director) and performing with Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Kokandy Productions and Hell in a Handbag Productions.  He is also the playwright/composer of the recent Resident Services: A Crossed-Up Animal Musical.


MUSIC DIRECTOR

Justin Akira Kono+ returns to Porchlight’s Broadway in your Backyard, where he was the music director during its inaugural season in 2021. He is also the current music director of Porchlight’s Spring Awakening, now playing through June 3 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. And has worked with Porchlight for Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, Chicago Sings: Rock and Roll Broadway, Billy Elliot the Musical and Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi. In Chicagoland, he has worked with All Shook Up and Freaky Friday (Williams Street Rep), Legends of the 50s & 60s (Chicago Music Theater Works) and Kiss Me Kate (Marriott Lincolnshire). A drummer, percussionist, keyboardist and orchestrator of a musically wide range, he is currently the music director at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Downers Grove. He also plays with several Chicago-area bands including Piano Man: a Tribute to Billy Joel and Elton John, Blue Sky: a Tribute to ELO, Prairie Station and his very own J-Pop project: Kitsune Kono.


CONDUCTOR

Bryan McCaffrey+ is thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with this incredible group of creatives and Porchlight Music Theatre! Originally from Scotland, he has worked as a music director across Chicagoland. Select credits include: Christmas Karol (Pride Arts), The Addams Family (Williams Street Repertory), Spring Awakening and Something Rotten (Theatre Nebula) and Company (Wheaton).

 

 

 

 


PERFORMER

Lydia Burke* returns to Porchlight where she was seen as “the Danseuse” in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, New Faces Sing Broadway 1956 and Chicago Sings Rock and Roll Broadway. Other recent Chicago credits include Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Sister Act (Mercury Theater Chicago), The Sound of Music and Junie B. Jones the Musical (Marriott Theatre), “Sarah” in Ragtime (Music Theater Works), Groundhog Day and Kinky Boots (Paramount Theatre), Roald Dahl’s Matilda (Drury Lane Theatre), and Ghost: The Musical (Theatre at the Center).

 

 

 


PERFORMER

Caitlin Dobbins* is originally from Tennessee and graduated from Columbia College Chicago in Musical Theatre. Caitlin is represented by Gray Talent Group. Recent Chicago credits are: “Rhetta/Prudie” Swing, Pump Boys and Dinettes at Porchlight Music Theatre; “Nora,” Notes and Letters and “Luci,” Wife Material (Underscore Theatre); “Audra U/S,” Laced (About Face Theatre); “Olivia U/S,” Fireflies (Northlight), “Nora” U/S, A Doll’s House (Raven Theatre); “The Witch,” Big Fish (Boho Theatre), “Ensemble/Pamela U/S,” Head Over Heels (Kokandy Productions at Underscore Theatre) and “Tina Turner/Gina,” Beehive The Musical (Metropolis Theatre).

 


PERFORMER

David Fiorello+ is a music director, performer, director, composer & arranger who’s no stranger to Porchlight. He has served as music director for Porchlight’s Blues in the Night, Gypsy, Do Re Mi, Woman of the Year, several seasons of New Faces Sing Broadway 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 & 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. For more information on Fiorello’s background, visit www.thebeautifulcityproject.com and www.fiorellostudios.com.


PERFORMER

Nik Kmiecik+ has been seen at Porchlight Music Theatre in Broadway in your Backyard, Chicago Sings Rock and Roll Broadway, Chicago Sings Stephen Sondheim, “Kenneth” in Porchlight Revisits Call Me Madam, “Chico Marx” in Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys, “Boris” in Porchlight Revisits Can-Can and a 2017 New Faces. Other Chicago credits include: Once (Paramount Theater), Twelfth Night (Writers Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare), A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane), The Hundred Dresses (Chicago Children’s), Hello Again (Theo Ubique), Pinocchio, Edward Tulane (Filament Theatre) and Skates the Musical (Royal George).

 


PERFORMER

Jennifer Ledesma* is thrilled to spend the summer back at Porchlight, after performing in New Faces Sing Broadway 1956. Originally a California native, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre from Columbia College Chicago and is represented by Big Mouth Talent. Favorite Chicago credits include: Bright Star (Boho Theatre), Grand Hotel (Kokandy Productions), The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Little Mermaid (Music Theatre Works), If/Then (Brown Paper Box Company), Hello Again (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) and Almost Heaven (Theatre at the Center). Regional credits: American Mariachi (TheatreSquared). Jennifer is a board member at Chicago Arts Access, an organization that strives to make theatre more accessible to all communities in Chicago.

 


PERFORMER

Brandon Pisano+/^ is a Chicago based performing artist, recording artist, producer, director and teacher. Recent theatre credits include: Monty Python’s Spamalot (Ensemble, U/S Patsy & Sir Robin) at Mercury Theater Chicago, The Producers (Ensemble) at Paramount Theatre and South Pacific (Ensemble) at Drury Lane. Brandon also independently writes and produces original music which can be found on all music streaming platforms. Recent singles include “All Night” (2022) and “Houdini” (2021). Brandon graduated with a BA in Musical Theatre from Elmhurst University. They would like to thank the creative team for the opportunity to perform, as well as their family and friends for all of their guidance and support. Instagram: @brandonpisano

 


PERFORMER

Lorenzo Rush Jr+ performed in the critically acclaimed Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies and at PorchlightPalooza, Porchlight Music Theatre’s 2021 virtual gala and was part of the inaugural company of Broadway in your Backyard. Other Porchlight credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Memphis and Ain’t Misbehavin’. Other credits include Little Shop of Horrors at Drury Lane Theater; Jesus Christ Superstar at Paramount Theater and Five Guys Named Moe at Court Theater. Rush graduated with his BFA in musical theater from Western Illinois University and he is a proud member of AEA and represented by Gray Talent Group.

 

 


Broadway in your Backyard is part of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series, supported by the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is partially sponsored by Byline Bank and the Unity Park Advisory Council.

Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from Actors’ Equity Foundation; Allstate; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Chapman | Spingola, LLP; Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation; Gen Ops Plus; Elegant Event Lighting; Glimpse Vision; James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation; Hearty Boys; A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation; The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity and the Arts at Prince; the Pritzker Traubert Foundation; Ryan and Spaeth, Inc.; Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation; The Saints and Dr. Scholl Foundation.

The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

The 2022 Broadway in your Backyard backdrop was donated by R&S Marching Arts. The 2022 Broadway in your Backyard shirts for staff and volunteers were donated by The Screen Machine Co.

Porchlight Music Theatre wishes to thank members of the Matching Gift Corporate Program including Abbvie; Allstate; Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; Peoples Gas; Pepsico; Polk Bros Foundation and The Saints.