Porchlight Music Theatre Announces PORCHLIGHTPALOOZA, a Three-Day Virtual Festival Featuring Joel Grey and More

PORCHLIGHTPALOOZA will take place August 21-23

By: Aug. 05, 2020
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Porchlight Music Theatre Announces PORCHLIGHTPALOOZA, a Three-Day Virtual Festival Featuring Joel Grey and More

Porchlight Music Theatre has announced a new three-day celebration and fundraiser in honor of its 25th Anniversary, PorchlightPalooza, Friday, Aug. 21 - Sunday, Aug. 23, which will include performances from Chicago's best talents, highlights from its award-winning history and an exclusive interview hosted by legendary newsman Bill Kurtis with the 2020 ICON Award recipient Joel Grey. PorchlightPalooza will be broadcast FREE on Porchlight's Facebook page, YouTube Live and its event page.

PorchlightPalooza schedule, as of July, includes:

Friday, Aug. 21 - 7 p.m. CDT

Celebrating Porchlight Music Theatre's 25 year history as Chicago's home for music theatre-with songs from throughout the years and a kick-off from co-chairs Donna LaPietra and Bill Kurtis.

Friday's performances are music directed by Michael McBride and feature Brian Acker, Adrian Aguilar, Missy Aguilar, Charissa Armon, Jayson Brooks, Caron Buinis, Lydia Burke, David Girolmo, Lucy Godinez, Sharriese Hamilton, Jermaine Hill, Callie Johnson, Donterrio Johnson, Michelle Lauto John Marshall, Jr., Alexis J. Roston and Stephanie Stockstill.

Saturday, Aug. 22 - 7 p.m. CDT

The second night of PorchlightPalooza celebrates Porchlight's commitment to showcasing emerging artists and nurturing young audiences, with a welcome from co-chairs Rick and Deann Bayless, the presentation of the Luminary Award to Elaine Cohen and Arlen D. Rubin and more surprises!

Saturday's performances are music directed by Linda Madonia and include performances from E. Faye Butler, Matt Crowle, James Earl Jones II, Heidi Kettenring and Gene Weygandt.

Sunday, Aug. 23 - 7 p.m. CDT

Join 2020 ICON Award recipient Broadway legend Joel Grey for an intimate conversation with Bill Kurtis Aug. 23 - 7 p.m. CDT, featuring highlights from Grey's career, performances from Porchlight favorite talents and well wishes and greetings from artists saluting Grey's influence on music theatre including Bob Balaban, Patrick Cassidy, Kristin Chenoweth, Raul Esparza, Josh Gad, Tom Kitt, David Mamet, Joe Mantegna, Howard McGillin, Mandy Patinkin, Benj Pasek, Bernadette Peters, Lonny Price, Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman, Paul Oakley Stovall, Stephen Wallem and Maury Yeston are included in this final night of PorchlightPalooza.

Porchlight's tribute to Joel Grey is music directed by Linda Madonia and stars Andres Enriquez, Erica Evans, Cory Goodrich, Christopher Kelley, Laura Savage and Joey Stone.

In addition to star-studded interviews, unforgettable performances and original virtual content in PorchlightPalooza, there is also a raffle that features four prizes: a private tour for eight of Rick and Deann Bayless' urban home garden with drinks and snacks; a private tour for eight on the 65-acre grounds of Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra's Mettawa home complete with wine and lunch, a Carribean vacation with round-trip economy airfare tickets and a three-night stay for two in an Ocean View Studio Suite at Rosewood Baha Mar with daily breakfast at Malam Indian Grill & Cellar and a deluxe Chicago Staycation!

Raffle tickets go on sale next week Monday, Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. for $50/ticket and $100 for 3 tickets and will be available on the PorchlightPalooza event page.

PorchlightPalooza's premier sponsors are Allstate and Jean Klingenstein. More information on PorchlightPalooza events and how to donate to this 25th Anniversary celebration may be found at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org.

All PorchlightPalooza performers and performances are subject to change without notice.


Joel Grey's career on Broadway includes Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (Roundabout Theatre Company), Anything Goes, Wicked, Chicago, George M! (Tony Award nominee.) and Cabaret (Tony Award winner). Grey's Off-Broadway credits include The Normal Heart, in 1986, and co-directing the Tony Award-winning Broadway premiere in 2011. His film credits include "Cabaret" (Academy Award winner), "Buffalo Bill and the Indians," "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins," "Dancer in the Dark," "The Seven Percent Solution" and "Man on a Swing." Grey is an internationally exhibited photographer with four published books: "Pictures I Had to Take" (2003), "Looking Hard at Unexamined Things" (2006), "1.3-Images From My Phone" (2009) and "The Billboard Papers" (2013). His memoir, "Master of Ceremonies," was released in 2016 (Flatiron Press).


The saying "good things come in small packages" definitely defines Elaine Cohen Rubin. She first appeared on the stage at the age of three-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 of "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 is 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 in 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 earned 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.


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