Porchlight's Free Summer Concert Series Returns

60 Minutes per concert

Appropriate for all ages.


Free! See dates for details.

Porchlight’s Free Neighborhood Concert Series Is Back!

Pack a picnic, bring your friends and family and join Porchlight Music Theatre for the return of its free concert series Broadway in your Backyard! This 60-minute concert, held in parks throughout Chicago, is part of Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series with lead sponsors Free for All, Comcast and Xfinity.

With a rotating company including Chicago’s best-loved artists, Broadway in your Backyard features some of the best loved hits from the Broadway songbook including songs from Funny Girl, Mary Poppins, Grease, RENT, Hairspray, Wicked, Beauty and the Beast and others.

Broadway in your Backyard is directed by Frankie Leo Bennett+ and music directed by Linda Madonia*.

All concerts begin at 6PM except for Welles Park which begins at 6:30PM.


Dates, park locations and performers subject to change.


NEW PERFORMANCE ADDED: Porchlight will perform at Millennium Park’s 20th Anniversary Celebration at the North Promenade Tent in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street, on Sunday, July 21 at 1PM.

Washington Park at DuSable Museum has been rescheduled for Monday, July 22.


The rotating cast includes Missy Aguilar*, Lydia Burke*, Tafadzwa Diener*, Michael Earvin Martin+, Nik Kmiecik+, Juwon Tyrel Perry= and Bethany Thomas* with musicians Kevin Disch, Heidi Joosten* and Justin Kono+.

The production team of Broadway in your Backyard includes Heather Lynn Gervasi* (production manager); John McTaggart+ (technical director); Kayne Bowling+ (technical supervisor); Morgan Dudaryk*/^ (sound supervisor); Miranda Hernandez* (assistant production manager), Dylan Kintner+ (audio engineer), Jake Dowell+ (stagehand), Garvin van Dernoot+ (stagehand), Jillian (Ziva) Armstrong-Baker* (stagehand), Elliot Foster+ (stagehand) and Majel Cuza* (director of production).

Previously at Porchlight: In The HeightsNunsenseBabes in Arms and City of Angels.

Missy Aguilar (she/her) has been seen in previous Porchlight productions of In The HeightsNunsenseBabes in Arms and City of Angels. She has also been seen across Chicago-land at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Drury Lane and the Paramount. Missy can be seen these days chasing around her toddler.  Thank you for supporting Porchlight and live theatre!


Previously at Porchlight: Broadway in your BackyardNew Faces Sing Broadway 1956 and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies

Lydia Burke is elated being back at Porchlight Music Theatre! Her other Porchlight credits include two previous seasons of Broadway in your BackyardNew Faces Sing Broadway 1956 and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies. Other Chicago credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Billy Elliot, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little Shop of Horrors, Groundhog Day, Kinky Boots (Paramount Theatre), Elf, Matilda (Drury Lane Theatre), Damn Yankees, Big Fish, Sound of Music (Marriott Theatre). IG: @lydialburke


Previously at Porchlight: Anything Goes

Rachael Dec (she/her) is delighted to sing again with Porchlight Music Theatre after performing in Porchlight’s Anything Goes as one of Reno’s Angels, ‘Charity.’ Rachael is a proud Northwestern University graduate (class of 2023, music theatre), where her previous credits include Lyle the Crocodile, As You Like It (by Shaina Taub) and The 91st Annual Waa-Mu Show. She also enjoyed participating in several student-produced musicals as an actor, dance captain, and choreographer. Rachael looks forward to continuing her professional theatre career this year with some exciting opportunities – stay tuned! “To my family and friends: all my love, always.” WEB: rachaeldec.com


Previously at Porchlight: Chicago Sings Broadway Pop II, Anything Goes

Tafadzwa Diener is so excited to be joining Porchlight Music Theatre again! You may have recently seen her in Anything Goes and Chicago Sings Broadway Pop II with Porchlight. Other Chicago credits: A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre); Rock of Ages (Mercury Theater); 1919 (Steppenwolf Theatre); Sound of Music, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Marriott Theatre); An Educated Guess (Definition Theatre); MotherFreakingHood (Venus Cabaret). Regional: Ragtime, Pirates of Penzance (Utah Shakespeare Festival) TV: “Chicago PD.” She is represented by Big Mouth Talent. IG: @tafadzwadiener


Previously at Porchlight: Broadway in your Backyard, Chicago Sings Series; Broadway Pop II, Rock & Roll and Sondheim, Revisits Series;  “Kenneth” in Call Me Madam, “Chico Marx” in Minnie’s Boys, “Boris” in Can-Can, and a 2017 New Face.

Meet Nik Kmiecik! Nik’s Chicago credits include: Grease, A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane), Once (Paramount Theater), Twelfth Night (Writers Theatre), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare), The Hundred Dresses (Chicago Children’s), Hello Again (Theo Ubique), Pinocchio, Edward Tulane (Filament Theatre), Skates the Musical (Royal George).


Previously at Porchlight: New Faces Sing Broadway Now (2020)

Michael Earvin Martin is so excited to be back with Porchlight Music Theatre after previously performing in New Faces Sing Broadway Now in 2020. Chicago credits include: The Music Man, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Marriott Theatre); The Comedy of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Billy Elliot, Groundhog Day (Paramount Theatre); United Flight 232 (The House Theatre of Chicago, Jeff Award – Best Ensemble); Kentucky (The Gift Theatre). Regional: Rocky Mountain Repertory, Little Theatre on the Square, Sight & Sound Theatres, Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre. TV: “Chicago Fire” (NBC). Oklahoma City University (MM), Murray State University (BM). Represented by Paonessa Talent. IG: @michaelearvinmartin


Previously at Porchlight: Chicago Sings Broadway Pop II, Spring Awakening, New Faces Sing Broadway 1941, Chicago Sings Broadway Pop 

Juwon Tyrel Perry is a dynamic and versatile multidisciplinary artist with a passion for storytelling through various mediums. His southern roots make way for a range of musical influences that help him blend gospel, blues, rock and jazz with the perfect splash of theatricality into one individual sound that is so uniquely him. Juwon has left an indelible mark on numerous renowned theaters across the country including the Tony Award -winning Court Theatre, Paramount Theatre, North Carolina Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare and many more. IG: @juwontyrelperryW: JuwonTyrelPerry.com Jeremiah 29:11

Previously at Porchlight: Broadway in your Backyard, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies

Lorenzo Rush Jr. (he/him) is proud to be back hanging out with you all in Chicago’s Backyard! Lorenzo is an accomplished actor, singer and director born and raised in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood. He has been blessedto perform on some of Chicago’s top stages including: Court Theater, Marriott Theater and
Chicago Shakespeare Theater. He attributes all his success to God and his daughter Phoebe for being his motivation. Please enjoy the show and please SING ALONG!!


Previously at Porchlight: numerous Chicago Sings, Marry Me A Little

Bethany Thomas is an award-winning Chicago actress, singer and writer recently seen at Northlight Theater as “Sister Rosetta Tharpe” in Marie and Rosetta and in the one-woman show Songs For Nobodies as “Judy Garland,” “Patsy Cline,” “Edith Piaf,” “Billie Holiday” and “Maria Callas.” Other credits include A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theater); Once, Into the Woods, A Moon for the Misbegotten (Writers Theater); Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ragtime, The Color Purple (Milwaukee Rep); The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare); Marry Me a Little (Porchlight Music Theatre); Porgy and Bess (Court Theater) and a season as “Madame Z” in Teatro ZinZanni. She’s also frequently entangled with Grelley Duvall, The Fly Honeys, Jon Langford, The Neo Futurists, Steppenwolf, The Paper Machete and The Hideout. Bethany’s original music is available on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Spotify and everywhere else.

Previously at Porchlight: Merrily We Roll Along, Can Can (Revisits), In The Heights, New Faces Sing Broadway 2001 and New Faces Sing Broadway 1964

Keely Vasquez (she/her) is a Chicago-based actor, singer, voice-over artist. Porchlight Music Theater credits include: Merrily We Roll Along, Can Can (Revisits), In The Heights, New Faces Sing Broadway 2001 (host) and New Faces Sing Broadway 1964 (director). Most recently she was on the First National tour of Dear Evan Hansen, Writers Theatre’s production of Next to Normal, The Mercury Theater Chicago’s Spamalot. Other Chicago theatrical credits include shows at Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, and The Broadway Playhouse. For nearly a decade, she toured the US and Europe singing with Barry Manilow and was featured on more than twenty television shows as well as seven DVD specials. She is represented by Stewart Talent.


Since 2022, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Broadway in your Backyard has been 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. The Chicago Park District, in partnership with over 100 local artists and organizations, presents 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.


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 each 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 #BroadwayInYourBackyard, #NightOutInTheParks, #InTheParks, #MyChiParks.

What if it rains?

In the event of inclement weather, Broadway in your Backyard will be moved indoors unless otherwise noted by Porchlight and the city of Chicago Park District.

Broadway in your Backyard is sponsored by our lead series sponsors, Free for All, Comcast and Xfinity, in part by the Chicago Park District, Mayor’s Office, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Unity Park Advisory Council and Trader Joe’s.

Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from Allstate; Comcast/Xfinity; Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation; Glimpse Vision; James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation; Hearty Boys; A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation; 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.

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