The Porchlight Young Professionals (PYP) is an ensemble of young professionals who share a passion for advancing music theatre in Chicago as well as the innovative and transformative art happening at Porchlight.

The PYP inspires the next generation of Porchlight’s theatre patrons and serves as ambassadors through fundraising, event planning, and committee involvement.

PYP Members receive exclusive behind-the-scenes access, enjoy a variety of networking opportunities  with arts enthusiasts, and receive invitations to exciting events, as well as being instrumental in the growth of Chicago’s Home for Music Theatre.

Join the Porchlight Young Professionals! If you are a Chicago area young professional, aged 21-40, looking for a unique and fun way to network with other young professionals, join our new and dynamic group!

To learn more, contact August Compton, Porchlight Young Professionals member and Audience Services Director at

Photo credit: J.C. Brooks in “Chicago Sings 25 Years of Porchlight” (2019). Photo by Michael Courier.

Porchlight Young Professionals hosts a variety of exciting events throughout Porchlight’s performance season. Join us at Happy Hour and a Hit, Chicago Sings, Broadway in Your Backyard, the ICONS Gala, and experience the magic of Porchlight!

A Romantic Musical Comedy
In association with Skylight Music Theatre
May 6, 2023 — June 1, 2023

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, directed by Michael Unger+ and music directed by Eric Svejcar+, is the critically acclaimed new musical comedy with a tongue-in-cheek script by Tony Award-winner Joe DiPietro+ (Diana, Memphis, All Shook Up). In this wildly inventive and romantic adventure, a sleep-deprived single mom who makes her living as a video game music composer is contacted across space and time, via a crossed connection on her cell phone, by the famous early 20th century polar explorer Ernest Shackleton+ while he is stranded on an iceberg in the Antarctic in the early 1900s. Inspired by her music, he shares his epic journey with her and, together, they overcome the odds in a timeless, and very funny, musical romance for the ages. In 2017, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me was named the Best New Musical by the Off Broadway Alliance.

Cody Czmyr+, Chair

Cody is thrilled to have found his way back to the stage, albeit in a different capacity with PYP. He currently serves as the Director of Marketing, Communications and Membership for the Restaurant Technology Network, an affiliate of EnsembleIQ. Cody also serves as the Secretary for the Eastern Illinois University Alumni Association Board of Directors as well as volunteers with several other Chicago area organizations. He is a 2010 graduate of EIU having received a BA in Hospitality Management. Cody resides in the Lakeview neighborhood with his husband, John, and their bunny Cadeau.



Nate Groonwald+, Vice Chair

Nate is currently a Philanthropy Officer at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He has worked in the non-profit arts space for over ten years, starting his career at Porchlight Music Theatre. Nate has worked at prominent arts organizations across the country including Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre (Washington DC), and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, where he co-created Bravo, the Milwaukee Symphony’s young professionals donor and affinity program. Nate received his Bachelor’s of Music from Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts. A former actor and director, Nate has directed multiple acclaimed productions including Into the Woods, Mamma Mia, Mary Poppins, Bonnie and Clyde, Legally Blonde, and others at various theatre companies in Wisconsin. @natecgroon


Rosie Schultz*, Secretary

Rosie Schultz has been part of the Porchlight family since 2016 and is a founding member of the Porchlight Young Professionals. She moved to Chicago from Durango, Colorado in 2013 to attend Columbia College and immerse herself in everything the city has to offer. She loves supporting Chicago’s theatre community in her career and free time, she is currently the Director of Donor Engagement at TimeLine Theatre Company. Outside of the theatre Rosie can be found throwing dinner parties, hanging out with her cat, Lemon, or enjoying one of the city’s lovely parks! 



Lynn Barlow*, Member

After graduating from Loyola University Chicago with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Asian Studies, Lynn has worked in social services and early childhood education for nonprofits in the Chicagoland area. As a lifelong theatre lover, she is excited to support Porchlight’s excellent productions and programming. Lynn looks forward to connecting with members of the vibrant Chicago theatre community and introducing more theatre enthusiasts to Porchlight. In addition to her appreciation for the performing arts, Lynn enjoys baking, long-distance running, and traveling.



Lanie Bayless*, Member

Lanie is thrilled to be a part of the Porchlight Young Professions! She has loved theater from a young age; Lanie was raised in a family that saw theater almost every Sunday and listened to showtunes instead of classic rock. She turned her love into a true focus and attended the Chicago Academy for the Arts in the Musical Theater department, followed by NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts to where she continued her studies at CAP21.  Lanie moved back to Chicago to join her family’s restaurant business (Frontera Grill) in 2016, but her passion for musical theater still lives on through her work with PYP… and the occasional showtune singalong! Lanie lives in the Bucktown neighborhood with her husband, Kevin, and daughter Charlie (2), to whom she hopes to pass on her love of musicals.


Yessenia Sosa*, Member

Yessenia has been a lover of fine arts, particularly music theater, for as long as she can remember. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin and moved to Chicago to work as a Strategy Consultant at a major accounting firm. Porchlight and the PYP community represent Yessenia’s creative outlet to engage with a community of fellow arts lovers and continue to explore the incredible theater scene Chicago has to offer.



Becca Sheehan*, Member


Lisa Villani-Gale*, Member

Lisa is a nonprofit professional with more than a decade of experience in fundraising and communications. She currently serves as a Major Gifts Officer at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Lisa holds a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance from Clark University before moving to Chicago in 2013. A lifelong musical theatre enthusiast, she is thrilled to combine her passions and help to bring in new young patrons to the Porchlight community. In her free time, Lisa enjoys weightlifting, hosting poker games for her friends, and playing violin.

Join us! The Porchlight Young Professional Board a crucial part of the Porchlight community, providing philanthropic and volunteer support, while guiding the strategic direction of the organization. Board Members inspire the next generation of theatre audiences and serve as ambassadors for fundraising, event planning and committee involvement.

PYP Board Members:

  • Contribute a minimum annual gift of $100 or more to support PMT
  • Attend monthly board and committee meetings
  • Serve on at least one committee: Membership, Marketing, or Events and Fundraising
  • Volunteer at one major fundraising event per year 
  • Attend PYP-hosted events

Member benefits include:

  • Discounts to Porchlight performances and events
  • Invitations to exclusive donor events such as opening night receptions, cast meet & greets and holiday parties
  • Networking opportunities with other young professionals
  • Donor benefits such as PMT merchandise, recognition in show programs, etc.
  • Volunteer opportunities

With our Young Professionals packages, the choice is yours! 

By offering a variety of options for you to consider, you can create the perfect season for you! Select from Mainstage, Porchlight Revisits, or New Faces Sing Broadway performances, attend all of our Mainstage productions, or mix and match between your favorites. 

The Aficionado – $125: 5 tickets to be used for Mainstage, Porchlight Revisits or New Faces Sing Broadway performances. 

The Enthusiast – $100: 4 tickets to be used for Mainstage, Porchlight Revisits or New Faces Sing Broadway performances.

The Admirer – $75: 3 tickets to be used for Mainstage, Porchlight Revisits or New Faces Sing Broadway performances.

Tickets must be reserved in advance by contacting the Porchlight Music Theatre Box Office.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a member of the Porchlight Young Professionals Board, please contact August Compton, Porchlight Young Professionals member and Audience Services Director at