Porchlight Music Theatre honored Donna McKechnie with The ICON Award and Dan Ratner & the Ratner Foundation were presented with the Luminary Award at the 2022 ICONS Gala.
Chaired by Joe Higgins+ and Scott Hoesman+ and honoring ICON Donna McKechnie*, who received a Tony Award for her performance as “Cassie” in the original company of A Chorus Line, “the most entertaining gala in town” welcomes performing arts lovers and advocates from across the region to gather in the Ritz-Carlton’s beautiful 12th-floor ballroom overlooking the city.
Join us for a memorable evening celebrating Porchlight’s past and looking to the future. The evening includes:
- Cocktail reception and three-course wine dinner
- Presentation of the Luminary Award to Dan Ratner+ and The Ratner Foundation
- A live auction with enticing items
- Presentation of the ICON Award to Donna McKechnie*!
- Unforgettable entertainment celebrating Porchlight’s history and the impressive career of our legendary ICON, including performances from Ms. McKechnie* and Porchlight favorites!
- An exclusive interview between Ms. McKechnie* and WGN’s Paul Lisnek+
Cortney Hall* and Matthew Rodrigues+, hosts of “Chicago Today” on NBC 5 will also emcee the ICONS Gala!
Tables and single tickets are on sale now starting at $500! Make sure you secure your seat for a special evening with Porchlight!
CREATIVE TEAM AND CAST
Honoring this year’s ICONS Award Recipient Donna McKechnie*
with Luminary Award recipient Dan Ratner+
Directed by Artistic Director Michael Weber+
Co-directed and choreographed by Jenna Schoppe*
Additional choreography by Christopher Chase Carter+, Kelly Felthous* and Reneisha Jenkins*
Music Directed by Linda Madonia*
With performances from Donna McKechnie*, Christopher Chase Carter+, Gilbert Domally+, Kelly Felthous*, Reneisha Jenkins*, Hanah Rose Nardone* and Will Skrip+
The ICONS band includes Linda Madonia* on keyboard, Marcel Reimão Bonfim+ on bass, Justin Akira Kono+ on drums and Jonathan Golko+ on reeds.
Our 2022 ICON Recipient
Porchlight Music Theatre is thrilled to honor Donna McKechnie*, who received a Tony Award for her performance as “Cassie” in the original company of A Chorus Line, with the ICON Award for Renowned Contributions to the Art of Music Theatre in America.
Donna McKechnie*, who received a Tony Award for her performance in the original company of A Chorus Line, is regarded internationally as one of Broadway’s foremost singing and dancing leading ladies. Donna has starred in and choreographed productions in London’s West End, along with theatrical productions in Tokyo and Paris.
Some of Ms. McKechnie’s Broadway credits include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Education of Hyman Kaplan, Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (which she also choreographed), Promises-Promises, Company, On the Town and State Fair (Fred Astaire Award) and The Visit.
She has starred in and/or choreographed numerous regional plays and musicals, including Follies, Mack and Mabel, Gypsy, The Glass Menagerie, Sweet Charity, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Guys and Dolls, and can be seen in concert with Symphony Orchestras as well as TV Specials and dramatic series including Fame, Cheers, and Dark Shadows. She was featured in the film Every Little Step and played the Rose in the film The Little Prince.
Donna will be opening and performing her one woman show Take Me to the World – The Songs of Stephen Sondheim starting in 2022.
Ms. McKechnie’s memoir Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life was published by Simon and Schuster. Donna was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2019. www.donnamckechnie.com
About the ICON Award
The ICON Gala was launched in 2012 and many ICONS have been honored including Hal Prince+, Elaine Stritch*, Bob Fosse+, Ethel Merman* and Fred Astaire+ among others. In 2020, The ICON Award was established and presented to living legends Joel Grey+ and, most recently, Chita Rivera*.
Our 2022 Luminary Award Recipient
Dan Ratner / The Ratner Foundation
Dan Ratner+ is an entrepreneur, technologist and writer. He’s co-founder and CEO of Public Good, the leader in connecting the news with actions people can take to make a difference in the world. Dan loves explaining technical topics to nontechnical audiences and is the co-author of two bestselling books on nanotechnology, a white paper on the importance of social causes to brands, two peer-reviewed academic papers on artificial intelligence, and is flying solo on an upcoming novel about Marco Polo. His writing has been published globally in six languages in outlets ranging from USA Today to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Dan is also a board member of Cure Violence Global, America’s #1 anti-violence NGO. Previously, he was the Director of Technology at Obama for America 2012 and CTO of Sittercity, America’s first and largest service dedicated to finding quality care online. He personally extends his generosity through the Ratner Foundation. Dan is passionate about using technology to make the world a better place by empowering everyone to make a difference.
About the Luminary Award
The Luminary Award recognizes an outstanding individual, family or family foundation with a history of philanthropic and volunteer leadership on behalf of Porchlight Music Theatre and music theatre in Chicago, and whose generosity inspires others to philanthropic action. Past recipients include The Bayless Family Foundation, Jim Jensen+, Jean Klingensten* and Elaine Cohen* & Arlen Rubin+.
Cortney Hall* and Matthew Rodrigues+, hosts of “Chicago Today” on NBC 5 will also emcee the ICONS Gala!
Host – NBC’s Cortney Hall
Cortney Hall* is the Emmy-nominated host of NBC Chicago’s lifestyle show “Chicago Today.” She and her co-host, Matthew Rodrigues, enjoy taking viewers on a journey through the vibrant neighborhoods and suburbs of Chicago. They explore the latest hotspots, chat with celebrities and dig into trends in beauty, fashion, food and entertainment. Born and raised in Chicago, Hall previously worked as an anchor for nearly a decade at WGN Morning News and CLTV. Before making her way back home, Cortney was a news anchor and a feature reporter in Orlando, Florida. She’s worked as a producer at Bloomberg News in New York City and she started her reporting career at WCIA news in Champaign, Illinois. She has also served as the in-arena host for the Chicago Bulls for four seasons, entertaining an audience of 21,000 basketball fans at the United Center. Hall earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business in 2003, but she learned the art of storytelling from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where she earned her Masters degree.
Host – NBC’s Matthew Rodrigues
Matthew Rodrigues+ is the Emmy-nominated host of “Chicago Today” with Cortney Hall, now in its fourth season, which airs on NBC5. This vibrant show highlights the very best Chicago has to offer in food, fashion, entertainment, adventure, parenting and more. In addition, he has traveled the world discovering, hosting and producing engaging video content for HotelTonight, Airbnb and Tastemade Travel. Whether sipping on the newest top-selling wine produced in Valle de Guadalupe, paddling in a 2000 lbs pumpkin turned boat in Portland, OR or searching for the origin of the hamburger in Germany, Rodrigues‘s energy and expertise has helped millions of viewers uncover the fun in all adventures. For five years, he was known as the lead anchor and producer at the top independent media company for women, POPSUGAR. While there, he jetted to over 36 locations for the Hilton travel series “Find Your Happy” and served as anchor of the celebrity and lifestyle TV program, “POPSUGAR Now.” During that time he interviewed A-List Hollywood stars and hosted live broadcasts from the Academy Awards red carpet. He’s worked with leading names in the industry such as NBC, Tastemade Travel, HotelTonight, Hilton, Cirque du Soleil, CBS’s The Talk, Wanderlust, ABC’s “The View” and FOX.
Guest Interviewer – WGN’s Paul Lisnek
Journalist Paul Lisnek+ will be joining ICON Donna McKechnie* for an intimate on-stage conversation at Porchlight’s signature fundraising event.
Paul Lisnek+ is a multi Emmy, Beacon, Telly, Cablefax and Communicator award-winning television personality. He anchors WGN-TV Political Report and is the political analyst for WGN-TV appearing on all of WGN’s # 1 rated newscasts. He hosts the WGN Podcast “Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain,” featuring interviews with entertainment figures like Joel Grey, Lucie Arnaz, Anthony Michael Hall, Richard Thomas and Beth Leavel. He anchors “Newsmakers” and “Broadway in Chicago Backstage” for the Comcast Network where he sits with the casts of leading Broadway shows like Hamilton, Wicked, Paradise Square, Moulin Rouge and, most recently, The Devil Wears Prada. The Museum of Broadcast Communications is home to The Paul M. Lisnek Gallery, a permanent tribute to Paul’s work in television and radio. He has written 15 books, including two works of fiction, Assume Guilt and Assume Treason, which was named an Indie Award Best Mystery of the Year finalist.
Michael Weber+ is the Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theatre. Previously served as Artistic Director for the inaugural season of Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place (now The Broadway Playhouse) and at Theatre at the Center (1998-2004). His productions of Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pal Joey, Assassins and Side Show here, as well as Grand Hotel at Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place and She Loves Me at Theatre at the Center were each nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production-Musical. Directing credits include Living the History-125 Years of The Auditorium Theatre starring Patti LuPone and John Mahoney, Fifth of July and Talley’s Folly at the Oak Park Festival Theatre, The Petrified Forest at Theatre at the Center, Beauty and the Beast at Marriott Theatre, Over the River and Through the Woods at The Mercury Theater, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Pheasant Run Theatre, and Cirque du Symphony at Sears Center Arena. The recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards, he wrote and directed nine Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremonies (2009-2018). Weber’s regional acting credits include Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy (both starring Patti LuPone) at Ravinia, Disney’s My Son Pinocchio at First Stage Milwaukee, Around the World in 80 Days at Cleveland Playhouse, The Winter’s Tale and Henry V at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, It Had To Be You (starring Cindy Williams and Eddie Mekka) at Little Theatre on the Square, Angel Street at First Folio Shakespeare, and The Gifts of the Magi at Indiana Repertory. Weber is proud to serve as a pledge host on WTTW, Channel 11, and is author of the play, WAR of the WELLeS.
Co-Director & Choreographer
Jenna Schoppe* is back for Porchlight’s 2022 ICONS Gala, after choreographing Porchlight Revisits Nunsense, Porchlight Revisits Call Me Madam and Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi. On the Porchlight mainstage, she has appeared in Sophisticated Ladies, End of the Rainbow, Mack and Mabel, and Pal Joey. Other performance credits include Miracle (Royal George Theatre), Dames At Sea (TATC), The Baltimore Waltz (Brown Paper Box Co.), Bye Bye Birdie (Drury Lane Oakbrook), and Hey! Dancin!, Hey! Musical! (Factory Theater). As a choreographer, her work was featured in Yank: a WW2 Love Story (Pride Films and Plays – Jeff Award, Best Choreography 2018), Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre), and The Producers (Nightblue Performing Arts- Jeff Nomination).
Linda Madonia* has been serving as a Music Director at Porchlight Music Theatre for many years. Projects include Billy Elliott, A Chorus Line, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Other Chicago area projects include Mamma Mia, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Pirates of Penzance, and the upcoming Camelot at Music Theater Works. Holiday Inn at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Persuasion at Chamber Opera Chicago, as well as serving as Conductor/Keyboards at The Mercury Theatre Chicago, and Theatre at the Center. Linda also serves as the CFM Union Contractor at Porchlight Music Theatre, Music Theater Works and Cabaret Zazou. Linda is the vocal coach for the Music Theatre Vocal Masters Degree program at Carthage College and owns American Eagle Productions, which has been at the forefront of Theatre Education in the Chicago area for 30 years.
Performer & Additional Choreography
Christopher Chase Carter+ is the Artistic Director of Mercury Theater Chicago and has been recognized for his outstanding work as a director and choreographer in the Chicagoland area and the midwest. In 2019, Carter directed the pilot production of The Scottsboro Boys working closely with Musical Theater International (MTI) and Susan Stroman before directing a record-breaking production of Legally Blonde at Northwestern University. Carter earned his Bachelor of Arts from Grand Valley State University, while also studying at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and abroad at Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica.
Gilbert Domally+ is thrilled to perform at this year’s ICONS Gala. Credits include: “Gator”, Memphis; “C.C”, Dreamgirls (Porchlight Music Theatre); “Bobby”, Choir Boy (Steppenwolf Theater); “Harpo”, The Color Purple (Drury Lane Theatre/The Muny); “Marty Roy”, The Total Bent (Haven Theatre); ; “Seaweed”, Hairspray; “Peter”, Jesus Christ Superstar (Paramount Theatre); “Marty”, Madagascar (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); “Gabe”, Next to Normal (Boho Theatre); Dessa Rose; The Wild Party (Bailiwick Theatre). Gilbert is grateful to God for every opportunity to do what he loves, and to his family and friends for their unending support!
Performer & Additional Choreography
Kelly Felthous* is excited to perform at this year’s ICONS Gala. Chicago area credits include “Roxie”, Chicago (Drury Lane); “Sally Bowles”, Cabaret (Paramount Theatre); “Audrey”, Little Shop of Horrors (Drury Lane), “Zaneeta”, The Music Man (Goodman); “Gertrude”, Seussical (Marriott Theatre), “Meghan”, Skates the Musical (The Studebaker Theatre); “Ruby”, Dames at Sea (TATC); “Charlotte”, Oliver! (Marriott) and “Gladys”, The Pajama Game (TATC). TV: Law and Order SVU, Night Sky, and numerous commercials. Kelly is an NYU/CAP21 grad and proud AEA / SAG member!
Performer & Additional Choreography
Reneisha J. Jenkins* is excited to return to Porchlight for this year’s ICONS Gala. She most recently worked at Porchlight Music Theatre as Director for Paul Oakley Stovall’s Clear and Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange, as well as Assistant Choreographing for Memphis and performing in their production of Dreamgirls. Some of her recent production credits include director for Sister Act at Mercury Theater Chicago and co-director for Working at Theo Ubique. Some of her recent performance credits include “Urchin Swing” in Little Shop of Horrors (Mercury Theater), “Soul Girl” in Jesus Christ Superstar (Paramount Theatre) and “Ella” in Annie Warbucks (Theatre at the Center).
Reneisha has also performed regionally at Drury Lane Theatre, Writers Theatre, Pheasant Run and many others.
Hanah Rose Nardone* is thrilled to be performing again with Porchlight! Chicago credits include Sweet Charity, Mamma Mia (The Marriott Theatre); Crazy For You, Bye Bye Birdie, White Christmas (Drury Lane Theatre); The Little Mermaid, Madagascar the Musical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Xanadu (American Theater Co.); Grand Hotel (Kokandy Productions). She would like to thank Lukas, her mom, Ezra, and pup, Rizzo, for their constant love and support. @haner.rose.bananer
Will Skrip+ appeared in Porchlight Revisits Babes in Arms in 2015. Other credits include Tony in West Side Story (Paramount Theatre), Henri Baurel in An American in Paris (Drury Lane) and Sam Wheat in Ghost (Peninsula Players in Door County, WI) as well as various productions at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Writers Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Marriott Theatre. He currently works in Paramount Theatre’s administrative office and teaches musical theatre performance to 6-12 graders at Paramount School of the Arts. Proud Northwestern alum.
Marcel Reimão Bonfim+ returns to Porchlight for this year’s ICONS Gala! Previous Porchlight credits include: Spring Awakening, Porchlight Revisits Passing Strange, Sophisticated Ladies, Sunset Boulevard, Memphis, Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi, Merrily We Roll Along, Porchlight Revisits Woman of the Year and multiple editions of Chicago Sings. Education: BM from Unicamp (Brazil) and a MM from DePaul University in Chicago. He has studied with renowned bass players in Brazil and the US, including Dennis Caroll, Sizão Machado, and Clark Somers. As music director and arranger, he led the acclaimed music theater production The Heartbeat of Brazil in 2018. Broadway Brazil credits The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Addams Family and others.
Justin Akira Kono+ returns to Porchlight for this year’s ICONS Gala! He has also most recently directed the music of Porchlight’s Broadway in your Backyard and Spring Awakening. He 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.
Jonathan Golko+ attended Berklee College of Music in Boston after being the first saxophonist admitted to GRAMMY Camp in L.A. receiving masterclasses from industry veterans such as Dave Koz, Rickey Minor, and Earth, Wind & Fire, and performing in a tribute concert for Qunicy Jones at the Grammy Foundation’s “Starry Night” Gala. Golko then traveled all seven continents as a woodwind multi-instrumentalist and headliner on cruise ships. Recently, Golko has performed in Teatro ZinZanni. @jgolko.live
Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs). = (any with respect)
All photos are from Porchlight’s ICONS Gala 2021 at Galleria Marchetti, with Icon Chita Rivera.