Porchlight Young Professionals
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 Kellie Buffington, Porchlight Young Professionals member and Development & Administration Associate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 more. Experience the magic of Porchlight!
Coming up next for PYP!
Anything Goes Happy Hour & A Hit
Friday, February 2 – The Ruth Page Center
Join Porchlight Young Professionals for a pre-show reception with refreshments, raffle and a behind-the-scenes Q&A with a member of the creative team of Porchlight’s Mainstage production of Anything Goes, starring international powerhouse Meghan Murphy as “Reno Sweeney.”
Tickets for this event will be available soon!
Happy Hour & A Hit
Happy Hour and A Hit (HH+AH) is PYP’s signature networking event coinciding with each of Porchlight’s Mainstage shows. HH+AH access includes an exclusive pre-show reception with refreshments, raffles and a behind-the-scenes Q&A with a member of the creative team followed by a performance of the show.
The PYP Experience at Events
PYP offers exclusive ticket prices with unique benefits including after-party access, raffle opportunities, and reserved seating at all of Porchlight’s signature events.
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 Member Services for the International Interior Design Association based in Chicago, IL. 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 puppy, Twiggy.
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.
Jesse Scheinbart +, Member
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Jesse is a recent transplant to Chicago. He currently serves as a voting member of the Jeff Committee. While pursuing a degree Vocal Performance at Syracuse University, he was able to participate in a number of musical productions as well as serve as Music Director & Pit conductor for several musicals including Carrie & Big Fish. He is also an alumnus of the College Light Opera Company (CLOC), where he performed in 9 fully staged musicals in 9 weeks over the Summer of 2016. Prior to living in Chicago, Jesse spent time living in San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Cape Cod.
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
Becca Sheehan is a lifelong lover of the arts and is proud to be a founding member of Porchlight Young Professionals. She is excited to watch the group and our events continue to grow. Becca has been a fan and friend of Porchlight since she was an intern in the summer of 2014 and later was a part of the gala committee, joined PYP and became a subscriber. Becca works in the nonprofit sector for The Rotary Foundation and lives in the Lincoln Square community with her husband, dog and cat.
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.
Alexander Wells+, Member
Alex feels incredibly fortunate to be a part of the Porchlight Young Professionals, having loved the arts since childhood. He is currently a tech professional based in Chicago with a background in both general dentistry (The Ohio State University) and English literature (John Carroll University). As a lifelong supporter of musical theatre, Alex is grateful for the opportunity to engage with the Chicago theatre community and to welcome the next generation of patrons. In his free time, Alex enjoys exploring new restaurants in the city, tackling HIIT workouts, and streaming Broadway’s best belters.
Adam Zaucha+, Member
Adam has been a fan of theater for as long as he can remember. He graduated from Northern Illinois University in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Since graduating he has enjoyed the opportunity to see many of Porchlight’s varied offerings as well as live theater all across Chicago. He is excited to be a part of the Porchlight Young Professional board and help secure and grow Porchlight’s future for future theatergoers.
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