Articles tagged with: Porchlight Music Theatre
Review: By now I have seen the gritty and electrifying musical “Memphis” – about the pre-dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, the modulation of black music into the white mainstream in the early 1950s – in three different stagings: the original Broadway production, the national tour and the current version mounted by Porchlight Music Theatre in its new home at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. This one feels, breathes, rips like the “Memphis” I’ve been waiting for. ★★★★★
Seventh in a series of season previews: Michael Weber, the artistic director at Porchlight Music Theatre, makes no bones about his company being a brash urban Chicago enterprise. That, he says, is why Porchlight’s 2015-16 season opener, a revamped version of the 1997 musical “Side Show,” is going to be special. Then, as if to underscore this true grit, it’s on to another earthy evening with an encore of the company’s Jefferson Award-winning Fats Waller revue “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”
Review: The demon barber of Fleet Street is a bad one, that’s for sure; and Porchlight Music Theatre has a good one in David Girolmo. But the crucial ingredient of Stephen Sondheim’s macabre musical is that demonic purveyor of meat pies, Mrs. Lovett – and in Rebecca Finnegan, Porchlight boasts a beaut. ★★★★★
Review: On opening night, Porchlight Music Theatre’s go at the Fats Waller revue “Ain’t Misbehavin’” gave the impression of two different shows, one ready and one not quite. The good news is that the sharper, more relaxed and spontaneous effort came in the second half, when perhaps nerves had calmed and the company of five singing, hoofing show folks started to look like they were simply having fun. ★★★
Fourth in a series of season previews: Porchlight Music Theatre prides itself on taking a new approach to classic musicals, “as if the script just came across the desk,” says managing artistic director Michael Weber. Opening with the Chicago premiere of the two-hand farce “Double Trouble,” Porchlight’s 2013-14 season reflects that spirit of approaching a show “with an understanding that we can stretch it and explore it in a different way.”
Preview: Singer-actress Alexis Rogers thinks of herself as cut from the same cloth as the great jazz vocalist Billie Holiday – a spunky, lively, laughing spirit, and someone who doesn’t mince words. That’s the briefly resurgent Billie Holiday, heroin-addicted and near the end of her life, embodied by Rogers in Lanie Robertson’s musical bio-drama “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” for Porchlight Music Theatre.
Third in a series of season previews: A rethought, more visceral Porchlight Music Theatre rolls out its 18th season with two Chicago premieres to be followed by a searing portrait of the faded Billie Holiday and “Pal Joey,” Rodgers and Hart’s anti-hero driven drama on the dark side of the human comedy.
Interview: So perfectly does Rebecca Finnegan blend her painful lyric pauses into the narrative flow of “A Catered Affair,” at Porchlight Music Theater, that you scarcely notice she has ramped up from speech to song. Then the swelling power of that voice grabs you, and you realize you’re watching something special: an accomplished actor who’s also a genuine singer.