BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Porchlight Music Theatre’s 2017 ICONS Gala, celebrating the career of Broadway legend Hal Prince, proved its most successful gala in the theater’s 22-year history.
Leading Chicago musical talents performed a dazzling display of songs from Prince’s incredible career over brunch at the Radisson Blu Aqua on April 30. Congratulations to Porchlight’s Artistic Director, Michael Weber, and his theater, recipient of national recognition for developing innovative new works and reimagining classic productions.
Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor and director Lonny Price described working with Prince in Merrily We Roll Along, which is the focus of Price’s current hit documentary Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened.
Price introduced Matthew Crowle, who will play the role of Charley Kringas, created by Price on Broadway, in Porchlight’s 2018 production of Merrily We Roll Along.
Paul Lisnek, multi-Emmy Award-winning television host and anchor for WGN and CLTV, served as honorary gala chair. The Museum of Broadcast Communication features a permanent exhibit honoring his coverage of both politics and theater.
Rachel Rockwell received the 2017 Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre and spoke of her work with Hal Prince. Most recently, she directed Shakespeare in Love at Chicago Shakespeare. Last year’s recipient, E. Faye Butler, presented the coveted award to Rachel.
Gala Chair, Tamara Sims, welcomed guests and Executive Director, Jeannie Lukow, and Board Director and Artistic Associate Bil Ingraham started the live auction, which included the opportunity to be a chef for a day at Rick Bayless’s Frontera Grill.
Michael Weber noted the theater’s exciting future:
“Porchlight is currently planning to move its productions to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, and the dedication of our audience deserves our deepest gratitude. The ICONS gala allows us to continue to share its vision for musical theater in Chicago, and through our education programs, raise awareness of this art form among students of all ages.”
Chicago’s only Equity non-for-profit company specializing in music theatre, Porchlight has staged more than 60 productions with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. “The School at Porchlight” is the city’s newest center for training in performance, writing, and appreciation.
For more information, visit porchlightmusictheatre.org.
Photo credit: Brandon Dahlquist