Arlen D. Rubin and Elaine Cohen Rubin Will Join Joel Grey in Being Honored at Porchlight Music Theatre's ICONS Gala

By: Jan. 22, 2020
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Arlen D. Rubin and Elaine Cohen Rubin Will Join Joel Grey in Being Honored at Porchlight Music Theatre's ICONS Gala

Award-winning Porchlight Music Theatre has announced that Arlen and Elaine Cohen Rubin will be honored with The Luminary Award at the ICONS Gala celebrating 25 years of Porchlight as the center for music theatre in Chicago, Monday, March 23, at the Ritz-Carlton, 160 E. Pearson St. The Chicago-based couple will join Broadway legend Joel Grey who will be in attendance to receive the ICON Award at the 2020 ICONS Gala with proceeds benefiting Porchlight's artistic and youth education programs.

Rick and Deann Bayless and Bill Kurtis and Donna La Pietra, the 25th Anniversary co-chairs for the ICONS Gala, will welcome guests to Porchlight's annual signature fundraising event and the first evening gala in ten years. The Gala begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception followed by a three-course dinner, musical performances and an on-stage conversation with Grey. In addition to the presentation of the ICON Award to Grey and the Luminary Award to the Rubins, legendary broadcaster Kurtis will interview Grey in an intimate on-stage conversation discussing the Academy Award, Tony Award and Golden Globe Award-winner's career including Grey's unforgettable roles in Cabaret, George M!, Chicago and Wicked to his most recent role as director for Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish. Artistic Director Michael Weber will stage musical numbers with Chicago's leading entertainment talents that highlight Grey's Broadway legacy.

"We are delighted to honor Elaine and Arlen with the Luminary Award at this year's 25th Anniversary Gala. They have been annual and vigorous sponsors of our New Faces Sing Broadway series that highlights up and coming talent and have been grassroots supporters including Porchlight at Washington Square Park events where we perform for our neighbors in the Gold Coast," Executive Director Jeannie Lukow said. "I know their influence is felt all over Chicago and we are thrilled to present them with the Luminary Award as a thank you for all they have done and continue to do for us."

The Luminary Award was established in 2018 to recognize an outstanding individual, family or foundation with a history of philanthropic and volunteer leadership on behalf of Porchlight Music Theatre and music theatre in Chicago, and whose generosity inspires others to philanthropic action. Past recipients of the Luminary Award include Porchlight's longtime Board Member Jim Jensen and donor/subscriber Jean Klingenstein.


The saying "good things come in small packages" definitely defines Elaine Cohen Rubin. She first appeared on the stage at the age of three years old-singing, dancing and acting. By the time she headed to college, she had performed all the children's leads in 12 Broadway musicals at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City.

With a BA in Theatre from Northwestern University, Cohen won the role "Elly" in Showboat at the Kennedy Center starring Mickey Rooney, and then "Gladys" in Skin of Our Teeth starring Sarah Miles. However, her height-she was only 4" 11"- limited the roles she could get as an actress.

Determined to keep performing, Cohen began working as a trade show model. In that role, she observed that entertainment and performers drew audiences on the trade show floor, but did nothing to promote or sell the exhibitors' products. Seizing an opportunity, she developed a way to educate trade show attendees by melding marketing and entertainment. Her scripted "edu-tainment" live presentations on the show floor led to her founding of Live Marketing. In so doing, Cohen gave herself a platform so she could continue performing. Live Marketing became one of the world's leading trade show and event marketing agencies and received over 750 awards for performances 12 languages and 42 countries. In recognition of her accomplishments, Cohen received the Hazel Hayes Award, the industry's top honor for lifetime achievement in "Changing The Industry."

After 42 years, Cohen sold her business, and turned her energy to Chicago's arts community. She served as Board Chair for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) and merited the JUBA! Award for Extraordinary Service to the Field and induction into CHRP's Founder's Circle. Tap lessons are delivered in CHRP's Elaine Cohen Michigan Avenue Tap Studio at the Fine Arts Building. Cohen also serves on the board for the Northwestern American Music Theatre Project, which brings together professional playwrights and Northwestern talent to workshop new musicals that are intended to move on to Broadway.

Cohen's other board service includes The League Of Chicago Theatres, "Free For All," which supports free programs to the public in the arts, and the Washington Square Park Advisory Council for which she serves as program coordinator.

Most recently she and her husband Arlen have begun sponsoring the New Faces Sing Broadway series for Porchlight Music Theatre. This program features a company of 10 up and coming new Chicago artists. Talent and casting agents are invited so that this is not only a showcase for the new talent, but also an opportunity for them to get representation, and cast in upcoming shows. As Cohen says, "I can't wait to say I knew them when!"

Cohen also finds time for another passion of hers, investigating and then investing in Broadway shows. To date she has invested in An American in Paris, Glass Menagerie, On Your Feet and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.


Arlen D. Rubin graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana with a BS in accountancy and became a CPA in 1967. Prior to graduating from the Champaign campus, he spent three years at the Navy Pier campus (which at the time offered no degrees).

Rubin started his career in 1966 as a staff accountant with Seidman & Seidman (now BDO Seidman) and in 1970 changed positions to the accounting firm Alexander Grant & Company (now Grant Thornton). He remained at Alexander Grant as an audit manager until 1976. He undertook accounting consulting work for a short period while waiting to be approved by the Security and Exchange Commission to begin a new career as an independent floor trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Rubin became a member of the Chicago Board of Trade in 1983 where he worked until 1990. He subsequently worked at Live Marketing until its sale.

For six years, from 1966 until 1972, Rubin was proud to serve in the US Army Reserve from which he received an honorable discharge.

Rubin has served for seven years as a trustee of Columbia College Chicago. Columbia's first ever, brand new student union building, the result of a board capital campaign, opened in September 2019. The new facility includes "The Rubin Lounge." Rubin established The Arlen and Elaine Cohen Rubin Scholarship in the Arts for a graduate of the Chicago High School for the Arts who plans to attend Columbia College.

Rubin and his wife Elaine Cohen Rubin have been married for 47 years. He is a lifelong Chicagoan and they have been city dwellers for the past 33 years.


Attendance at The ICONS Gala requires advanced purchase. Single tickets are available for $350. The VIP meet and greet single tickets are $500. Tickets are available at 773.777.9884 ext. 1005 or at Table sponsorships are also available for $5,000 or $10,000 for ten guests by contacting Rachel at 773.777.9884 ext. 1005.


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