Porchlight Music Theatre's 2016-2017 Season Concludes With Stephen Sondheim's MARRY ME A LITTLE

Porchlight Music Theatre and Artistic Director Michael Weber are proud to announce the final mainstage production it its 2016 - 2017 season Marry Me a Little starring Austin Cook and Bethany Thomas, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and originally conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René, with direction by Jess McLeod and music direction by Porchlight Artistic Associate Cook.
Previews are Friday, April 14 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m. and Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with an added matinee performance Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. NOTE There are no 7:30 p.m. performances Thursday, April 20 and May 11 and no 4 p.m. performance Saturday, April 22. Tickets to Marry Me a Little are available at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by calling the Stage 773 box office, 773.327.5252.

Two urban singles, each alone in their apartments in the same building, share a Saturday night of sweet fantasies and deep yearning never knowing that they're only a floor away from each other and the end of their lonely dreams. Following in the tradition of Porchlight's hit Sondheim on Sondheim, and re-conceived with special permission given by Stephen Sondheim especially for this production, the rarely seen Marry Me a Little breathes new theatrical life and meaning into a collection of songs that were culled from the final productions of Anyone Can Whistle, Follies, Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music and other Sondheim favorites.

Conceived by original Sweeney Todd cast member Craig Lucas and Norman René, the Off-Broadway premiere of Marry Me a Little debuted in 1981 starring Lucas and Suzanne Henry at the Actors' Playhouse. Marry Me a Little includes such songs as "So Many People," "The Girls of Summer," "All Things Bright and Beautiful," "There Won't Be Trumpets," "Can That Boy Foxtrot," "Bang!," "Your Eyes Are Blue," "Happily Ever After," "It Wasn't Meant to Happen" and "A Moment with You."

The two-person cast of Marry Me a Little includes: Austin Cook as "The Man" and Bethany Thomas as "The Woman."

The production team includes Jess McLeod, director; Austin Cook, music director, Jeff Kmiec, scenic designer; Stephanie Cluggish, costume designer; Becca Jeffords, lighting designer; Mealah Heidenreich, props designer; Keegan Bradac, Sound Designer; Ashlee Rowland, stage manager; Alex Rhyan, production manager; Shelby Brand, wardrobe supervisor with Jordan Fleming, house manager.
ABOUT Jess McLeod, director

Jess McLeod, recently named the recipient of the 2016-17 Goodman Theatre Michael Maggio Fellowship, returns to Porchlight Music Theatre where she recently directed the Porchlight Revisits production of Babes in Arms. Additional Chicago credits include the Chicago premiere of How We Got On and The Wedding Singer (Haven Theatre Company); Lauren Yee's in a word (Strawdog Theatre Company), For Your Art: portrait of a young blu artist (Lyric Unlimited/Lyric Opera of Chicago), Shawn Pfautsch's Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago); Kevin Coval's L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens Theater); Suzan-Lori Parks's Venus (Steppenwolf Next Up!); Kin (Griffin Theatre); Emily Schwartz's Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play (Strange Tree Group); and The 48-Hour Musicals: Encore!, The Pajama Game and Fugitive Songs (The Music Theatre Company). New York credits include Joyce Carol Oates's The Corn Maiden, Harrison David Rivers' Fell, Rachel Axle's Kitchen Sink, Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, Brad Ross & Joe Keenan's The Times, and The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds (NYMF). Assistant/Associate Director: Moonshine! That Hee-Haw Musical (Dallas Theater Center), A Parallelogram (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The New Moon (City Center Encores!), Willful (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Gypsy and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). McLeod served as co-artistic director of The Music Theatre Company from 2014-15, director of programming of The New York Musical Theatre Festival from 2005-08, festival coordinator of Louder Than A Bomb 2016 and works currently as a teaching artist with Storycatchers Theatre. She received her MFA from, Northwestern University.

ABOUT Austin Cook, music director and "The Man"

Austin Cook is a Porchlight Music Theatre artistic associate. He made his Porchlight debut in Ain't Misbehavin' for which he won the Jeff Award for "Artistic Specialization" and later music directed and co-starred in the award-winning Sondheim by Sondheim where he received the Jeff award for "Music Direction." The recipient of three Jeff awards, he is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. A native of Kansas City, MO, Cook has been a dedicated musician his entire life. After receiving his bachelor's degrees in piano and vocal performance, Cook toured Europe performing Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2. In 2008, he came back to the States to join Walt Disney Entertainment as a composer/orchestrator. In 2009, he moved to Chicago to continue his work as a music director, producer and actor. He is a proud member of AEA and the AFM. As a producer, his most recently produced album The Beast in Me received the 2014 Independent Music Award for Best Roots EP. The album was performed in its entirety on the nationally televised PBS series Sun Studio Sessions. Cook moved to New York in 2016 after being in the orchestra for the pre-Broadway run of War Paint at the Goodman Theatre.

ABOUT Bethany Thomas, "The Woman"
Bethany Thomas made her Porchlight debut with Children of Eden in 2002 and has been a recurrent performer at Porchlight Music Theatre's concert fundraiser Chicago Sings as well as starring as "The Witch" in its Into The Woods. Other Chicago credits include: All Shook Up, Big Fish (Theatre at the Center); South Pacific (Jeff Award-Marriott Theatre); Porgy and Bess (Court Theater); Hairspray (Drury Lane Theatre); Hair (Paramount Theatre); The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) as well as work with The Second City, About Face Theatre, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and American Theater Company. Regional credits include: Little Shop of Horrors (Geva Theatre Center); The Color Purple, Ain't Misbehavin' and Ragtime (Milwaukee Repertory Theater). She frequently performs around Chicago at locations including The Hideout, Salonathon and "The Paper Machete" and has appeared on FOX Television's "Empire."

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).

Porchlight Music Theatre and Artistic Director Michael Weber are proud to announce the final mainstage production it its 2016 - 2017 season Marry Me a Little starring Austin Cook and Bethany Thomas, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René, with direction by Jess McLeod and music direction by Porchlight Artistic Associate Cook. Previews are Friday, April 14 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 15 at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m. and Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. The performance schedule is Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with an added matinee performance Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. NOTE There are no 7:30 p.m. performances Thursday, April 20 and May 11 and no 4 p.m. performance Saturday, April 22. Tickets to Marry Me a Little are available at PorchlightMusicTheatre.org or by calling the Stage 773 box office, 773.327.5252.



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