Sharriese Hamilton and James Earl Jones II Star In Porchlight's THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG
Porchlight Music Theatre continues its fifth season of Chicago's "lost" musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits They're Playing Our Song, starring Sharriese Hamilton and James Earl Jones II, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and book by Neil Simon, with direction and choreography by Christopher Carter and musical direction by Andra Velis Simon. Porchlight Revisits They're Playing our Song is presented for three-nights-only Tuesday, March 6 through Thursday, March 8 at 7:15 p.m. and is performed on the set of Porchlight's Merrily We Roll Along (previews begin January 26) at Porchlight's new home, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street.
Tickets for They're Playing Our Song are $35. All tickets include access to the popular pre-performance event, Behind the Show Backstory, a multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Weber that discusses the evening's production including the show's creative history, juicy backstage gossip and the state of the art on Broadway that season. Single tickets to They're Playing Our Song and subscriptions for the entire series are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
They're Playing Our Song is a romantic musical comedy about the affair (both professional and romantic) of a wisecracking composer and an aspiring, offbeat lyricist. Creatively, their relationship works great, but personal trials and tribulations lead them toward finding a new way to make harmonious music together in this laugh-a-minute romantic charmer. The show features musical hits "Fallin'," "If He Really Knew Me" and "Just For Tonight." The cast of Porchlight Revisits They're Playing Our Song includes: Sharriese Hamilton (Sonia Walsk), James Earl Jones II (Vernon Gersch) and Anastasia Arnold, (voice of Sonia Walsk); Kiersten Frumkin, (voice of Sonia Walsk); Yando Lopez, (voice of Vernon Gersch); Billy Rude, (voice of Vernon Gersch); Tyler Symone, (voice of Sonia Walsk) and Koray Tarhan, (voice of Vernon Gersch).
The production team includes Christopher Carter, director; Andra Velis Simon, music director; Lucia Lombardi, stage manager; Joaquin Gomez, assistant stage manager and Samantha Treible, wardrobe supervisor. The musicians are Chel Hernandez, bass; Tony Scandora, drums and Page Kallop, guitar. ABOUT Christopher Carter, director and choreographerChristopher Carter is a graduate of Grand Valley State University with a liberal arts degree in dance. Carter has traveled all over performing/directing and choreographing. Some of his credits include Dreamgirls and In The Heights at Porchlight Music Theatre; as well as Sweeney Todd, Godspell, Secret Garden and Pirates Of Penzance (Grand Valley State University); Show Boat and Oklahoma (Lyric Opera Chicago); Show Boat (San Francisco and Houston Grand Opera); Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook), Joseph... (Paramount Theater); Duke Ellington's Queenie Pie (Chicago Opera Theater); Oliver, Carousel and Brigadoon (Light Opera Works); The Wiz, 42nd Street and Guys and Dolls (Theatre at the Center); Smokey Joe's Café (Circle Theatre); The Wild Party (Actor's Theater). Carter has been the choreographer for the Grand Rapids Civic's SRT the past four years. Other credits include national tours, commercial, industrial and concert work. As a scholarship student of The Debbie Allen Dance Academy in California, he moved to Chicago in 2009 to expand his mind and resume.
Andra Velis Simon returns to Porchlight, where she music directed last year's Porchlight Revisits On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Most recently she was the music director for the Firebrand production Lizzie. Regional credits include: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A.R.T. in Cambridge, Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Skirball at NYU, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Rep and Olney Theatre Center in Maryland. In Chicago, her credits include Chicago Children's Theatre, Firebrand, The Goodman, The Hypocrites, Theater Wit and many others. Velis Simon is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where she has taught musical theatre performance since 2008.
Sharriese Hamilton returns to Porchlight Revisits where she last starred in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. She hails from Okemos Michigan with a BA in Theatre from Michigan State University and has been seen at Porchlight Music Theatre in How To Succeed, Ain't Misbehavin, Pal Joey and A Class Act. Her Chicago credits include Sleeping Beauty, Madagascar, The Velveteen Rabbit, Sister Act (Marriott Theatre); Rock of Ages, James and the Giant Peach (Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre); Wonderful Town (Goodman Theatre),Thaddeus and Slocum (Lookingglass Theatre) Pericles (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Wild Party, See What I What I Wanna See and Passing Strange (Bailiwick Chicago); All Shook Up (Theatre at the Center) Jesus Christ Superstar (Theo Ubique), and We Three Lizas (About Face Theatre). Regional credits include HAIR (McLeod Summer Playhouse) Spamalot, Working, The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee, and Buddy:The Buddy Holly Story (Timber Lake Playhouse).
"Vernon Gersch"James Earl Jones II has performed with Porchlight Music Theatre in the Jeff-Award winning productions of The Scottsboro Boys and Sondheim on Sondheim. For Sondheim on Sondheim he was personally nominated for the Jeff Award. Also at Porchlight he hosted New Faces Sing Broadway 1949. His other Chicago credits include October Sky, Elf, Dreamgirls and The Full Monty (Marriott Theatre); Satchmo at the Waldorf, The Secret Garden, The Good Book, Porgy and Bess and Five Guys Names Moe (Court Theatre); Shrek (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Cymbeline (First Folio Theatre); Sweet Charity and Company (Writers Theatre); Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Porgy and Bess (Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera); The Wiz (Theatre at the Center, Jeff Award nomination); Aida, Spamalot and Ragtime (Drury Lane Theatre); A Civil War Christmas (Northlight Theatre); Annie Get Your Gun (Ravinia Festival); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Broadway in Chicago and Mason Street Warehouse); Dessa Rose (Apple Tree Theatre); Aspects of Love (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center); I Pagliacci (Intimate Opera) and On the Town (New Classic Singers). Additional credits include The Gondoliers, Patience, H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance. National tour credits include The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Television and film credits include "Pokerhouse," "Chicago Fire" and "Empire." Stewart Talent represents Jones.
Continuing to forge its role as "Chicago's Music Theatre," Porchlight launched the exciting new series Porchlight Revisits in 2013; especially created for the die-hard music theatre aficionado. Each season, Porchlight Music Theatre shares with audiences the rare opportunity to visit three musicals that opened on the Great White Way but have since gone "unsung." The finest music theatre artists in Chicago dust off these neglected treasures and, with script in hand and minimal staging, escort audiences to a world of Broadway long past. Previous Porchlight Revisits productions include: (2016/17) The Rink, Little Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; (2015/16) Chess, Applause, Babes in Arms; (2014/15) Bells Are Ringing, City of Angels, Mack & Mabel and (2013/14) Anyone Can Whistle, Golden Boy, Fade Out-Fade In.
Future Porchlight Revisits Final Performance in its 2017 - 2018 Series:Do Re Mi May 22 - 24Book by Garson KaninMusic by Jule StyneLyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph GreenDirection and Choreography by Christopher PazdernikMusic Direction by David Fiorello
Originally created for the comic style of the great Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker, this is the story of "Hubie Cram," a minor-league conman endlessly scheming to win big who, at the urging of his long-suffering wife, "Kay," decides to go (somewhat) straight by moving into the jukebox and music promotion business as he concocts his biggest score ever. Featuring the hits: "Make Someone Happy," "Fireworks" and "I Know About Love."
Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to be a member of the vibrant Ruth Page Center for the Arts community and an Artist In-Residence. Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts' programming is the Artists In-Residence program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they grow or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and assisting dance and other performing artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artistic community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a destination for quality performing arts, accessible to a wide community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability. An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the vision of its founder, legendary dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community.
ABOUT Porchlight Music Theatre
As the home for music theatre in Chicago now in its 23rd season, Porchlight Music Theatre is nationally recognized for reimagining classic productions, developing new works and showcasing musical theatre's noted Chicago veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre by providing intimate and powerful theatrical experiences of music theatre through the lens of the "Chicago Style." The 2017-2018 year marks a milestone for Porchlight as the company becomes an Artist In-Residence at the historic Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago's Gold Coast. 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 center for music theatre training in the areas of performance, writing and appreciation including the launch of a youth summer "Make Your Own Musical" Camp in 2017. The company's many accolades include 22 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and seven awards, as well as a total of 139 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 42 Jeff Awards including five consecutive Best Production awards for The Scottsboro Boys (2017), Dreamgirls (2016),Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Ain't Misbehavin' (2014) and A Class Act (2013).
Porchlight Music Theatre continues its fifth season of Chicago's "lost" musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits They're Playing Our Song, starring Sharriese Hamilton and James Earl Jones II, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and book by Neil Simon, with direction and choreography by Christopher Carter and musical direction by Andra Velis Simon. Porchlight Revisits They're Playing our Song is presented for three-nights-only Tuesday, March 6 through Thursday, March 8 at 7:15 p.m. and is performed on the set of Porchlight's Merrily We Roll Along (previews begin January 26) at Porchlight's new home, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets for They're Playing Our Song are $35. All tickets include access to the popular pre-performance event, Behind the Show Backstory, a multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Weber that discusses the evening's production including the show's creative history, juicy backstage gossip and the state of the art on Broadway that season. Single tickets to They're Playing Our Song and subscriptions for the entire series are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
Porchlight Music Theatre is partially supported by generous contributions from the Bayless Family Foundation, Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Actors' Equity Foundation, Chapman | Spingola, Attorneys at Law, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, The Saints and the Topfer Family Foundation. The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency and by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.