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Porchlight Music Theatre Launches The School Of Porchlight Summer Camp Starting In June


Porchlight Music Theatre's School at Porchlight launches its inaugural summer camp for children ages 7 - 12 years old. The four sessions are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

June 26 - July 7* - The Theatre School at DePaul, 2350 N. Racine Ave.
July 10 - July 21 - The Theatre School at DePaul, 2350 N. Racine Ave.
July 24 - August 4 - Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street
August 7 - August 18 - Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street.

Students will work with professional teaching artists including Michelle Lauto and Aaron Thacker-Woodruff, to create a brand new musical. Classes encourage students to develop new skills in writing, singing, acting and movement. Drama naturally creates an environment where students must take risks. Through games and activities, the teachers help build the students' confidence. Each student will participate in the creation and completion of the musical, learning the importance of practice and working as an ensemble member and how both will help support them on stage. Students will be able to share their experiences and passions to create a dynamic songs and story for their final show. Each show will begin and end with a whole camp number to a popular hit from a musical or the radio that relates to the theme of their show.

Each session's classes are held from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. daily, with the performance being held on the final Friday of camp at 2:15 p.m. Class registration is available here.
*No Classes are held Tuesday, July 4.

Sessions are $650 ($585 for the June 26 - July 7 session) with discounts available for siblings, or students signing up for multiple sessions.
Admission includes
· Porchlight T-Shirt for every camper
· Recess at a local park daily, weather permitting
· Crafts! Create props and set pieces
· Professional Teaching Artists that are working Chicago actors
· New skills in singing, dancing, acting, and writing
· Final Show on a professional Chicago theatre stage with attendance open to friends and family members

· Lasting friendships.

ABOUT JILLIAN ABINNANTI, education director

Jillian Abbinanti is a product of arts education in Chicago Public Schools. She attended North Park University and obtained degrees in both Early Childhood Education and Theatre and Performing Arts. She has worked with Chicago Fringe Festival as their education manager and taught with Emerald City Theatre, Mudlark Theater, Barrel of Monkeys and as a classroom teacher in various schools. Abbinanti has performed with InGen Productions, Puppet Mechanics, Barrel of Monkeys, The New Colony and Corn Productions. She has also worked with Haven Theatre Company as their production coordinator.

ABOUT Michelle Lauto, teaching professional

Michelle Lauto moved to Chicago from New York City almost five years ago to study comedy at The Second City Training Center. She is a graduate of its conservatory where she became well-versed in sketch writing and improvising before diving back into her first love of music theatre. Lauto has taught at Emerald City Children's Theatre in Chicago and at the acclaimed New York children's theatre, Broadway Workshop. Recent performance credits include Spamilton (The Royal George), In The Heights (Porchlight Music Theatre), Xanadu (American Theater Co.), 35mm (Circle Theatre), The Boy From Oz (Jeff Nominated-Best Supporting Actress; Pride Films & Plays) and Murder Ballad (Bailiwick Chicago).

ABOUT AARON THACKER-WOODRUFF, teaching professional

Aaron Thacker-Woodruff is a recent transplant to Chicago and is a seasoned performer, director and educator. His more recent regional performances include: Artie Green in Sunset Boulevard, Hero in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, PatRick Dennis in Mame and Emcee in Cabaret. He also originated the role of Joey LaRose in Let Freedom Swing! at the National World War II Museum and was featured in the Tim Burton produced film, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. He has also performed with Kristin Chenoweth for the grand opening of the Oklahoma City Civic Center. Thacker-Woodruff's professional directing and choreography credits include Grease, Some Enchanted Evening, Once Upon a Mattress and 13. While teaching within the New Orleans City Schools, he staged and directed numerous musical revues. In Chicago, he has facilitated programs at Emerald City Theatre, Metropolis School of the Performing Arts and currently works in three partner schools for ChiME/Chicago Center for Music Education. He holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre Performance from Sam Houston State University and a M.F.A. in Musical Theatre History & Direction from Tulane University.


The School at Porchlight is a comprehensive exercise and educational environment where professionals and practitioners who perform, create and appreciate music theatre are intensely engaged in classes in all disciplines in the performing, writing and scholarship of music theatre.

ABOUT Porchlight Music Theatre

Porchlight Music Theatre, now in its 22nd season, is nationally recognized for developing innovative new works, reimagining classic productions and showcasing musical theatre's noted veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre in Chicago by providing intimate and powerful theatrical experiences for its growing and diverse audiences. With the vision of Artistic Director Michael Weber, Porchlight builds on its role as Chicago's only Equity not-for-profit company exclusively specializing in music theatre. Porchlight's rich history includes the staging of more than 60 productions with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Through Porchlight's "Off the Porch" new works program, the musicals of the next generation are developed and given a first audience. The School at Porchlight is Chicago's new center for music theatre training in the areas of performance, writing and appreciation. The company's many accolades include 17 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and three awards, as well as a total of 126 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 39 Jeff Awards including four consecutive Best Production awards for Dreamgirls (2016), Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Ain't Misbehavin' (2014) and A Class Act (2013).

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