Ragtime, a Hit for Chicago's Porchlight, Will Move to Apollo Theater

News   Ragtime, a Hit for Chicago's Porchlight, Will Move to Apollo Theater
Porchlight Music Theatre in Chicago has a hit on its hands with its staging of the musical Ragtime, which will transfer to the Apollo Theater June 9 after a hot run at Theatre Building Chicago.
Karla Beard and Jayson Brooks in Ragtime.
Karla Beard and Jayson Brooks in Ragtime. Photo by Michael Brosilow

Performances continue at TBC through May 27. The official re-opening night will be June 16. The Apollo run is open-ended, a continuation of the not-for-profit run.

Porchlight's production of the Terrence McNally-Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty musical broke all box-office records at the 150-seat Theatre Building, and was the biggest hit in Porchlight's 13-year history. The Apollo seats 461.

Based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, the musical intertwines the stories of a Harlem musician, a wealthy New York family and a Latvian Jewish immigrant, "and poignantly explores history's timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair, and love and hate," according to Porchlight.

The musical had what many considered a too-short run on Broadway. It has the disadvantage of opening the same season as the blockbuster Disney show, The Lion King. McNally, Ahrens and Flaherty won Tony Awards, making it the best-written show of that season, according to Tony voters.

Porchlight artistic director L. Walter Stearns directs the largest cast ever assembled at Porchlight: Jayson Brooks as Coalhouse Walker with Karla Beard as Sarah, Charissa Armon as Mother, Bill Ingraham as Father and Drew Mikuska as The Boy, with Anjali Asokan, Jeff Borck, Aaron Graham, Sarah Hayes, David Jiles Jr., Randolph Johnson, Lina Kernan, Adam McNulty, Maggie Portman, Gerald Richardson, James Sherman, Scott Sowinski, Jeremy Trager and Vallea Woodbury. The creative team includes Eugene Dizon (music director), Brenda Didier (choreographer), Bill Morey (costume designer) and Roy Hine (scenic designer).

The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation provided a grant to help underwrite the expenses of enhanced musicianship for Ragtime, which has Porchlight's largest orchestra ever.

The performance schedule for Ragtime is Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, and Sunday at 3:30 PM. Tickets are $46.50, with discounts available for students, seniors and groups.

For tickets or more information, call the Apollo Theater's box office at (773) 935-6100 or visit TicketMaster at (312) 559-1212 or order on line at www.ticketmaster.com.

For group discounts, call (312) 423-6612 or visit grouptheatretix.com.


Porchlight Music Theatre, originally founded in 1994 as Porchlight Theatre, has made a name for itself by producing musicals with a focus on new works and inventive adaptations. A professional, not-for-profit organization, the company has staged 34 shows including five world premieres and seven Chicago premieres. The rapidly growing mid-sized theatre company has received five Jeff Awards as well as 13 Jeff Award nominations, 31 Joseph Jefferson Citation nominations, 11 Jeff Citations, and 20 After Dark Awards.

Drew Mikuska, Charissa Armon, Aaron Graham and Leah Orleans in Porchlight Music Theatre
Drew Mikuska, Charissa Armon, Aaron Graham and Leah Orleans in Porchlight Music Theatre Photo by Michael Brosilow
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