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Donna McKechnie Announced as Porchlight Music Theatre 2022 ICON Award Recipient

Donna McKechnie Announced as Porchlight Music Theatre 2022 ICON Award Recipient

Ms. McKechnie will be performing, joining journalist Paul Lisnek for an intimate on-stage conversation and accepting the ICON Award, in-person at Porchlight's Gala.

Award-winning Porchlight Music Theatre has announced this year's recipient of the ICON Award is one of Broadway's foremost singing and dancing leading ladies, Tony Award winner Donna McKechnie. Ms. McKechnie will be performing, joining journalist Paul Lisnek for an intimate on-stage conversation and accepting the ICON Award, in-person, at Porchlight's signature fundraising event. The ICONS Gala, chaired by Joe Higgins and Scott Hoesman, will be Friday, Sept. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 E. Pearson St. and will also feature the presentation of The Luminary Award to Dan Ratner and The Genevieve and Daniel Ratner Foundation. Single tickets, table reservations and sponsorships are now on sale at

"I am honored to be this year's Porchlight Music Theatre ICON Award recipient," said Ms. McKechnie. "The ICONS Gala is definitely going to be a party and I look forward to performing a few songs for Porchlight's supporters and celebrating its history and future."

"Porchlight's 2019 production of A Chorus Line was a huge critical and audience success," said Executive Director Jeannie Lukow. "All of us are thrilled that Ms. McKechnie, the Tony Award-winning "Cassie" from the original production, will be joining us at the ICONS Gala this year. As a dancer, singer, actress and choreographer, she truly embodies what our ICON Award represents. Her impressive decades-long career isn't stopping, and we appreciate that she will be taking the time out of her busy schedule to join us and also to perform for our lucky ICONS Gala audience."

The ICONS Gala is Porchlight's annual celebration that includes a cocktail reception, three-course wine dinner and award presentations, peppered with amazing performances from Porchlight favorites saluting Ms. McKechnie's impressive career and created specifically for the ICONS Gala.

The ICONS Gala was launched in 2012 and has honored Hal Prince, Elaine Stritch, Bob Fosse, Ethel Merman and Fred Astaire among others. In 2020, The ICON Award, celebrating a notable artist who has made an indelible contribution to American entertainment through our art form of music theatre, was established and presented to living legends Joel Grey and, most recently, Chita Rivera.

The Luminary Award, presented this year to Dan Ratner and The Genevieve and Daniel Ratner Foundation, 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. Past honorees include Rick and Deann Bayless and the Bayless Family Foundation, Elaine Cohen and Arlen D. Rubin, Jim Jensen and Jean Klingenstein.

ABOUT Donna McKechnie: 2022 ICON Award Recipient

Donna McKechnie, who received a Tony Award for her performance as "Cassie"in the original company of A Chorus Line, is regarded internationally as one of Broadway's foremost singing and dancing leading ladies. Ms. McKechnie has starred in and choreographed productions in London's West End, along with theatrical productions in Tokyo and Paris.

Some of Ms. McKechnie's Broadway credits include the original Broadway productions of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Education of Hyman Kaplan, Promises, Promises, Company, State Fair, (Fred Astaire Award) and The Visit as well as On the Town, Sweet Charity, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Sondheim: A Musical Tribute (which she also choreographed).

Ms. McKechnie has starred and/or choreographed numerous regional plays and musicals, including Follies, Mack and Mabel, Gypsy, The Glass Menagerie, Sweet Charity, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, Guys and Dolls and can be seen in concert and with Symphony Orchestras as well as television specials and dramatic series including "Fame," "Cheers" and "Dark Shadows." She was featured in the film "Every Little Step" and played "Rose" in the film "The Little Prince."

She will be opening and performing her one woman show, "Take Me to The World - The Songs of Stephen Sondheim" this year.

Ms. McKechnie's memoir, "Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life," was published by Simon and Schuster. She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 2019. For information go to


Dan Ratner is an entrepreneur, technologist and writer. He's co-founder and CEO of Public Good, the leader in connecting the news with actions people can take to make a difference in the world. Ratner loves explaining technical topics to nontechnical audiences and is the co-author of two bestselling books on nanotechnology, a white paper on the importance of social causes to brands, two peer-reviewed academic papers on artificial intelligence and is flying solo on an upcoming novel about Marco Polo. His writing has been published globally in six languages in outlets ranging from USA Today to The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. He is also a board member of Cure Violence Global, America's #1 anti-violence NGO. Previously, he was the director of technology at Obama for America 2012 and CTO of Sittercity, America's first and largest service dedicated to finding quality care online. He and his wife Genevieve Thiers personally extend their generosity through The Genevieve and Daniel Ratner Foundation. He is passionate about using technology to make the world a better place by empowering everyone to make a difference.


Paul Lisnek is a multi Emmy, Beacon, Telly, Cablefax and Communicator award-winning television personality. He anchors WGN-TV Political Report and is the political analyst for WGN-TV appearing on all of WGN's # 1 rated newscasts. He hosts the WGN Podcast "Paul Lisnek Behind the Curtain," featuring interviews with entertainment figures like Joel Grey, Lucie Arnaz, Anthony Michael Hall, Richard Thomas and Beth Leavel. He anchors "Newsmakers" and "Broadway in Chicago Backstage" for the Comcast Network where he sits with the casts of leading Broadway shows like Hamilton, Wicked, Paradise Square, Moulin Rouge and, most recently, The Devil Wears Prada. The Museum of Broadcast Communications is home to The Paul M. Lisnek Gallery, a permanent tribute to Paul's work in television and radio. He has written 15 books, including two works of fiction, Assume Guilt and Assume Treason, which was named an Indie Award Best Mystery of the Year finalist.


Porchlight Music Theatre is the award-winning center for music theatre in Chicago. Through live performance, youth education and community outreach, we impact thousands of lives each season, bringing the magic of musicals to our theatre home at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in the Gold Coast and to neighborhoods across the city. Porchlight has built a national reputation for boldly reimagining classic musicals, supporting new works and young performers, and showcasing Chicago's most notable music theatre artists, all through the intimate and powerful theatrical lens of the "Chicago Style."

Porchlight's history, over the last 27 years, includes more than 70 mainstage works with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Porchlight's commitment to the past, present and future of music theatre led the company to develop the Porchlight Revisits and New Faces Sing Broadway program series, both quickly becoming audience favorites.

Porchlight's education and outreach programs serve schools, youth of all ages and skill levels and community organizations, most notably the ongoing collaboration with Chicago Youth Centers. Porchlight annually awards dozens of full scholarships and hundreds of free tickets to ensure accessibility and real engagement with this uniquely American art form.

The company's many honors include 178 Joseph Jefferson Award (Jeff) nominations and 45 Jeff awards, as well as 44 Black Theatre Alliance (BTA) nominations and 12 BTA awards. In 2019, Porchlight graduated to the Large Theatre tier of the Equity Jeff Awards, and was honored with eight nominations in both technical and artistic categories and won three awards in its inaugural year in this tier, most notably Best Ensemble for Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies.

Through the global pandemic, Porchlight emerged as one of Chicago's leaders in virtual programming, quickly launching a host of free offerings like 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 throughout the city.

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