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Chita Rivera to be Honored at Porchlight Music Theatre's 2021 ICONS Gala

The ICONS Gala returns to an in-person event from Porchlight Music Theatre’s successful virtual gala, PorchlightPalooza, in August 2020.

Chita Rivera to be Honored at Porchlight Music Theatre's 2021 ICONS Gala

Porchlight Music Theatre has announced that actor, singer, dancer Chita Rivera will be honored with The ICON Award and Rick and Deann Bayless and the Bayless Family Foundation will be presented with the Luminary Award at the 2021 ICONS Gala celebrating 26 years of Porchlight as the center for music theatre in Chicago, Wednesday, Oct. 20, at Galleria Marchetti, 825 West Erie. The ICONS Gala, chaired by Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes a cocktail reception, three-course dinner, the presentation of both awards, an on-stage conversation with Ms. Rivera and musical performances saluting Ms. Rivera's incredible career. Single tickets are available for $350. VIP meet and greet tickets are available for $500 per ticket and include an exclusive cocktail reception with Ms. Rivera in attendance. Tickets are available on Monday, Aug. 2 at 12 p.m. at 773.777.9884 ext. 1 or at Sponsorships are also available for $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 by contacting Carmen Gonzalez at 773.777.9884 ext. 3. Proceeds from the ICONS Gala benefit Porchlight's artistic and youth education programs.

The ICONS Gala returns to an in-person event from Porchlight Music Theatre's successful virtual gala, PorchlightPalooza, in August 2020. The evening will be filled with unforgettable moments from a live interview with Chita Rivera, the presentation of the Luminary Award to Rick and Deann Bayless and the Bayless Family Foundation, a paddle raiser and musical and dance salutes from Ms. Rivera's storied career performed by Porchlight and Chicago's impressive roster of talents, directed by Artistic Director Michael Weber.

"To say we are looking forward to the ICONS Gala is an understatement. We have missed these live events and to have our honorees Chita Rivera and the Bayless Family with us, in-person, makes the evening even more memorable." said Executive Director Jeannie Lukow. "We are so excited for attendees to join us in celebrating the work of our legendary honorees as we gear up for Porchlight's new season."

The ICONS Gala is Porchlight's annual signature benefit and includes the presentation of the ICON Award that honors an individual who has forever changed the landscape of American music theatre.

The Luminary Award is bestowed annually at the ICONS Gala. This honor recognizes an outstanding individual, family or family foundation with a history of philanthropic and volunteer leadership on behalf of Porchlight and music theatre in Chicago, and whose generosity inspires others to philanthropic action. The Baylesses will join past honorees Jim Jensen, Jean Klingenstein and Elaine Cohen and Arlen D. Rubin.

ABOUT Chita Rivera, ICON Award Recipient

A theatrical icon and one of Broadway's greatest triple-threat talents, Chita Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history having earned 10 nominations, won twice and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. A versatile actress/singer/dancer, she recently starred in The Visit, the final John Kander/Fred Ebb/Terrence McNally musical directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciela Daniele on Broadway, the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer's Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. She trained as a ballerina (from age nine) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from the legendary choreographer George Balanchine. Rivera's first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry's Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes. Rivera was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009 and received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in 2002. In 2019, Rivera performed her solo concert at London's Cadogan Hall; in 2018 she was honored as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy; in 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin' To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.

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