Cast and Creative Team Announced for CABARET at the Porchlight Music Theater

Porchlight Music Theater will present the Tony Award-winning musical cabaret at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., from January 14 to February 12, 2023. Based on the 1951 play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten and the novel “Goodbye to Berlin” by Christopher Isherwood, the production of Porchlight is directed by artistic director Michael Weber, directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier and music directed by Linda Madonia.

Previews are Saturday, January 14 at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, January 15 at 2 and 6 p.m., Wednesday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, January 19 at 1:30 p.m. with press opening on Thursday, January 19 2023 at 7:30 p.m. The regular performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with a weekday matinee Thursday, February 2 at 1 p.m. p.m. After-show discussions are scheduled for Friday, January 27 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, February 2 at 1:30 p.m. and closed-captioned performances on Saturday, January 28 at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 4 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for Cabaret are on sale now starting at $25 and can be purchased at the box office by calling 773.777.9884 or visiting PorchlightMusicTheatre.org.

Bold and provocative, this winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, shines a light on late 1920s Berlin and the colourful, gritty and hedonistic lives found there. Filled with iconic songs and electrifying dance, Cabaret tells the story of American writer Clifford Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret artist Sally Bowles on the eve of the Nazi Party’s rise to power. Overseen by an ominous host at the legendary Kit Kat Club, Cabaret is a cautionary tale that has found resonance in today’s political climate.

The Cabaret cast, in alphabetical order, includes Neala Barron* (Fraulein “Fritzie” Kost); Frankie Leo Bennett + (pending The Emcee and Max); Jordan Beyeler* (swing). Morgan DiFonzo* (Texas/together); Julia Fleckenstein* (Helga/set); Tim Foszcz+ (Herman/set); Haley Gustafson*/^ (Frenchie/set); Josiah Haugen+ (Ernst Ludwig); Natalie Henry* (Rosie/set); Samuel B. Jackson+ (Clifford Bradshaw); Mark David Kaplan+ (M. Schultz); Shane Roberie+ (Max/set); Mary Robin Roth* (Fraulein Schneider); Lance Spencer+ (Victor/together); Erica Stephan* (Sally Bowles); TJ Tapp* (Lulu/set); Cam Turner+ (swing/dance captain); Josh Walker + (the emcee); Shaun White+ (Bobby/set) and Evan Wilhelm+(Hans/set).

Cabaret’s production team includes Michael Weber+ (director); Brenda Didier* (associate director/choreographer); Linda Madonia* (music director); Angela Weber Miller* (stage design); Bill Morey+ (costume design); Patrick Chan+ (lighting design); Matthew R. Chase+ (sound design), Johnnie Schleyer+ (stage supervisor); Rachel West* (lighting supervisor); Madeline M. Scott* (production manager), Kathy Logelin* (dialect coach), Sheryl Williams* (intimacy choreographer), Nate Cohen+ (playwright/cultural consultant) and Frankie Leo Bennett+ (artistic associate producer.)

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

ABOUT MICHAEL WEBER, director

Michael Weber is the Artistic Director of Porchlight Music Theater and recently directed Sunset Boulevard and Gypsy for the Porchlight Music Theater as well as the Porchlight Revisits production of 1776 and Broadway by the Decade for PorchlightOnline. His productions of Gypsy, End of the Rainbow, Side Show, …Forum, Sweeney Todd, Pal Joey and Assassins at Porchlight, Grand Hotel at Drury Lane Theater Water Tower Place and She Loves Me at Theater at the Center have each been nominated for the Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Musical Production. Other directing credits include “Living the History-125 Years of the Auditorium Theatre” (featuring Patti Lupone, John Mahoney and stars from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and others), Fifth of July and Talley’s Folly at Oak Park Festival Theatre, The Petrified Forest at Theater at the Center, Beauty and the Beast at Marriott Theatre, Over the River and Through the Woods at Mercury Theater and Cirque du Symphony at Sears Center Arena . The recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards, Weber’s regional acting credits include The Merry Widow and The Sound of Music at Lyric Opera, 42nd Street at Paramount, Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy (both with Patti LuPone) at Ravinia, Disney’s My Son Pinocchio at First Stage Milwaukee, Around the World in 80 Days at the Cleveland Playhouse, The Winter’s Tale and Henry V at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Angel Street at the First Folio Shakespeare and The Gifts of the Magi at the Indiana Repertory. Previously, he was Artistic Director of Drury Lane Theater Water Tower Place (now The Broadway Playhouse) and Theater at the Center. Weber is proud to serve as a Promise Host with WTTW, Channel 11.

ABOUT LINDA MADONIA, Musical Director/Conductor

Linda Madonia has been the musical direction in the Chicago area for over 25 years, including Porchlight’s recent New Faces Sing Broadway 1979 as well as Chicago Sings Rock & Roll Broadway and the critically acclaimed 2019 production of A Chorus Line . Other credits include Pirates of Penzance and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for Music Theater Works and Forbidden Broadway: SVU at the Royal George Theatre. Other credits include Grand Hotel and Nunsensations at Drury Lane Water Tower Place and Gigi, She Loves Me and Me and My Girl at Theater at the Center. Madonia was also the musical director of Chicago’s Equity and non-union Joseph Jefferson Awards at various times. She owns American Eagle Productions, an educational theater that has presented 300 shows and workshops a year to Chicago-area schools for the past 28 years.

ABOUT BRENDA DIDIER, director/associate choreographer

Brenda Didier returns to Porchlight where she most recently directed the Spring 2022 production of Spring Awakening. She has also co-directed and co-choreographed Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies of Porchlight with Florence Walker Harris, directed A Chorus Line, and directed and choreographed Billy Elliot, The Musical, In The Heights and Dreamgirls, among others. Didier is the recipient of several Jeff Awards in Direction and Choreography, and a recipient of After Dark Awards, BroadwayWorld Awards and the National Youth Theater Award. She is the proud owner and artistic director of the Lincolnshire Academy of Dance, which is celebrating its 24th season. Other credits include work at the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Second City, Marriott Theatre, The Paramount, Theater at the Center, BoHo, Mercury Theater Chicago, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Studebaker Theatre, Stage Left, Six Flags Great America, Busch Gardens Virginia, Circus Shanghai at Navy Pier, T-Mobile’s national “Home for the Holidays” ad, Kenny Rogers Christmas Tour, and the University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, and Carthage College.

ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATER AS AN ORGANIZATION IN RESIDENCE RUTH PAGE

The Porchlight Music Theater is proud to be a member of the vibrant Ruth Page Center for the Arts community and organization-in-residence. Central to Ruth Page Center for the Arts programming is this program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they develop or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and supporting dance and other performing artists, allowing exchange and collaborative relationships to grow within the artistic community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a quality performing arts destination accessible to a broad community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability. An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts continues the vision of its founder, legendary dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform to develop great artists and connect them with the public and the community.

ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSICAL THEATER

Porchlight Music Theater is Chicago’s award-winning musical theater center. Through live performances, youth education and community outreach, we impact thousands of lives each season, bringing the magic of musicals to our theater at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in the Gold Coast and in the city districts. Porchlight has earned a national reputation for boldly reinventing classic musicals, supporting new work and young performers, and showcasing Chicago’s most notable musical theater artists, all through the lens intimate and powerful theatrical “Chicago Style”.

Porchlight’s history, over the past 27 years, includes more than 70 major works with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Porchlight’s commitment to the past, present and future of musical theater has led the company to develop the Porchlight Revisits and New Faces Sing Broadway series of programs, which have quickly become audience favourites.

Porchlight’s education and outreach programs target schools, youth of all ages and skill levels, and community organizations, including the ongoing collaboration with Chicago Youth Centers. Porchlight awards dozens of full scholarships and hundreds of free tickets each year to ensure accessibility and genuine engagement with this uniquely American art form.

The company’s many accolades include 184 Joseph Jefferson (Jeff) Award nominations and 45 Jeff Awards, as well as 44 Black Theater Alliance (BTA) nominations and 12 BTA awards. In 2019, Porchlight graduated from the Large Theater Tier of the Equity Jeff Awards, and was honored with eight nominations in the Technical and Artistic categories and won three awards in her first year at this Tier, including Best Ensemble for Sophisticated Ladies by Duke Ellington.

During the global pandemic, Porchlight has become one of the leaders in virtual programming in Chicago, quickly launching a slew of free offerings such as Sondheim @ 90 Roundtables, Movie Musical Mondays, Porchlight by Request: Command Performances, and WPMT: Classic Musicals from the Golden Age of Radio. . Porchlight launched its annual summer series in 2021, Broadway in your Backyard, performing at parks and venues around the city.

Porchlight Music Theater presents the Tony Award-winning musical cabaret at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., January 14-February 12, 2023. Based on the 1951 play I Am a Camera by John Van Druten and the novel “Goodbye to Berlin” by Christopher Isherwood, the production of Porchlight is directed by artistic director Michael Weber+, the music directed by Linda Madonia* and the associate directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier*. Previews are Saturday January 14 at 3:30 p.m. Sunday January 15 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Wednesday January 18 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday January 19 at 1:30 p.m. with the opening Thursday January 19, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. with a weekday matinee on Thursday, February 2 at 1:30 p.m. Friday, January 27 at 8 p.m. and Thursday, February 2 at 1:30 p.m. and subtitled performances on Saturday, January 28 at 3:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 4. at 3:30 p.m. Tickets for Cabaret are on sale now starting at $25 and can be purchased at the box office by calling 773.777.9884 or visiting PorchlightMusicTheatre.org.

About Marco C. Nichols

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