Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys, book by Groucho Marx’s son Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher, music by Grossman and lyrics by Hal Hackady with direction and choreography by Christopher Pazdernik and musical direction by Christie Chiles Twille, is presented for three performances Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, March 23 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street.
Each Porchlight Revisits production begins with the “Behind the Show Backstory” multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Artistic Director Michael Weber, discussing that evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and much more. Single tickets are $37 for the performance and “A Conversation with Larry Grossman” is free to the public. Both are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys is a joyful and loving look at the young Marx Brothers as they chart their journey from vaudeville toward Hollywood and their invention of the greasepaint mustache, the honking horn and the tickling of the famous piano keys. Minnie’s Boys also introduces audiences to Minnie, portrayed by Shelley Winters in the original 1970 Broadway production, the Marx Brothers’ mother who was the driving force behind the boys’ fight for fame.
Grossman, who will be present at the Minnie’s Boys rehearsal, has given the rights for Porchlight to add an Act 2 opening number that was not included in the original Broadway production, “Hello, Big Time!” Additionally, Grossman will be the guest at an added special event, Thursday, May 23 at 4:45 p.m., “A Conversation with Larry Grossman” at the Ruth Page Center. Artistic Director Michael Weber and Grossman will take the audience behind the scenes and highlight the creation of Minnie’s Boys, discuss Grossman’s experiences working with some of Broadway and Hollywood’s top talents and Liz Pazik and Mark Kaplan from Chicago’s Minnie’s Boys cast performing material cut from the original Broadway production. Weber commented, “It is always our honor at Porchlight to collaborate with the original creators of these distinguished works of American music theatre art. With Larry having worked alongside major talents including Hal Prince, Comden and Green, Shelley Winters, Ann Reinking, Joel Grey, Ben Vereen and others, we could not be more excited to engage this veteran Broadway composer in conversation with our Porchlight audiences and get a glimpse into his remarkable career.” Admission for the SPECIAL EVENT is free and reservations are required.
The cast of Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys includes: Liz Pazik*, “Minnie;” Mark David Kaplan*, “Frenchie;” Justin Brill*, “Uncle Al;” Sean Blake*, “Maxie/Sandow;” Andrew Lund, “Adolph ‘Harpo’ Marx;” J Vance, “Herbie ‘Zeppo’ Marx;” Nik Kmiecik, “Leonard ‘Chico’ Marx;” Kirk Osgood, “Julie ‘Groucho’ Marx;“ Maxton Smith, “Milton ‘Gummo’ Marx;” Bill Chamberlain, “E.F. Albee;” Jared David Michael Grant, “Hochmeister;” Melanie Loren, “Mrs. Krupnick/Murdock” and Cynthia Faye Carter, “Mrs. Flanagan/ Mrs. McNish.”
The production team includes: Christopher Pazdernik, director/choreographer; Christie Chiles Twille, music director; Justin Brill, assistant director; Samantha Treible, wardrobe supervisor; Jaime Davis, sound designer/board operator and Bill Walters*, stage manager; Sean Michael Mohler, assistant stage manager; Kotryna Hilko, costume designer and Rachel West, lighting designer.
*denotes a member for AEA.
ABOUT LARRY GROSSMAN, composer
Larry Grossman is an award-winning composer, having written for Broadway, television, film, concerts and cabaret. His Broadway credits include: Minnie’s Boys, Goodtime Charley, A Doll’s Life, (Tony and Drama Desk nominations, written with Betty Comden and Adoph Green and directed by Harold Prince), Grind (Tony and Drama Desk nominations, also directed by Harold Prince) and Snoopy,, which is performed in six languages and received an Olivier Award nomination for its London production.
On Broadway, he composed the incidental music for Play Memory and Arthur Kopit's End of the World (both directed by Prince). Off-Broadway and regional credits include Diamonds and the musical version of Paper Moon. He served as creative consultant for the Tony-Winning Elaine Stritch: At Liberty.
His latest shows are A Christmas Memory, a musical dramatization of Truman Capote’s beloved short story, and Scrooge in Love, with book by Duane Poole and lyrics by Kellen Blair.
For his work in television, Grossman has received six Emmys, with a total of 17 nominations. In addition, he received a Peabody Award for his contributions to “The Muppet Show.” He has written special musical material for over 100 network specials, including four Oscar telecasts, the Emmys and the Tonys.
He has written concert and cabaret material for numerous artists; among them are Julie Andrews, Shirley MacLaine, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera and Joel Grey.
His film credits include: Disney's Pocahontas 2: Journey to a New World and The Great Mouse Detective, Princess Diaries 2 and MGM’s That’s Dancing. (song scores). He composed the dramatic scores for the remake of "Suspicion" and Emmy-award winning film, 'Displaced Person'. Artists ranging from Tony Bennett to David Bowie and Michael Jackson have recorded his songs. Jackson recorded his song, “Gone too Soon,” written with Buz Kohan, for his 'Dangerous' album, which had sales of more than 23,000,000 copies.
Grossman serves as musical consultant for the annual “Capitol Concerts” (Memorial Day and the Fourth of July) in Washington, D.C.
A graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Communication, Grossman remains active in the school's acclaimed theatre department.
ABOUT CHRISTOPHER PAZDERNIK, director/choreographer
Christopher Pazdernik is a director/choreographer with "a near encyclopedic knowledge of musicals" (Newcity). At Porchlight Music Theatre, Pazdernik is a proud artistic associate, and serves as company manager and casting associate. He has directed and choreographed many Porchlight Revisits productions including The Rink, Anyone Can Whistle, City of Angels, Applause and Do Re Mi; served as associate director for Porchlight’s Merrily We Roll Along and has co-curated the Porchlight New Faces Sing Broadway series. For Refuge Theatre Project, he has directed Hands on a Hardbody, The Last Session, The Spitifre Grill and is best known for the critically acclaimed production of High Fidelity (Jeff Awards for Best Director and Best Production of a Musical) . Recent other credits include Carrie (Ohio Northern University), Wicked City (Chicago Theatre Workshop), Planted (Chicago Musical Theatre Festival) and Story of A Story (The Untold Story) (Underscore Theater Co.). He is also a frequent cabaret director and curator including Broadway's Cult Classics at Davenport's Piano Bar and the His & His series at Pride Films & Plays. An openly HIV+ artist, Pazdernik was a 2016 Windy City Times 30-Under-30 honoree for his contributions to Chicago's LGBTQ community. He currently serves on the Ambassador Committee for the AIDS Run/Walk Chicago and as chairperson on the Community Advisory Board for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ organizations.
ABOUT CHRISTIE CHILES TWILLE, music director
Christie Chiles Twiile is a Chicago-based music director, piano conductor, vocal coach, composer and sound designer. Recently, she served as a judge for Underscore Theatre’s 2018 Musical Theatre Festival, an event that showcases new musicals written across the country. In addition to teaching music privately, she is a master teacher for the Piven Theatre Workshop, where she focuses on scenes and songs from the musical theatre canon. Her Bachelor and Masters Degree studies were both in Piano Performance at West Virginia University, where she also earned a minor in Dance. Through her vast background as a musician and dancer, Chiles Twille has found her niche in other music-related genres, such as composition and sound design. She greatly enjoys working through a score, play, or film to develop an iconic sound for audiences to remember. Chiles Twille is one of the three recipients of the inaugural Rachel Rockwell Award for Fierce Women Behind the Table at Porchlight Music Theatre.
ABOUT LIZ PAZIK, “Minnie Marx”
Liz Pazik makes her Porchlight Revisits debut with this production. Recent Chicago-area appearances include roles at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and The Wizard of Oz and The Music Man at the Paramount Theatre. Other credits include: “Miss Tweed” in Something’s Afoot! (Jeff Award nominee), “Mother Superior” in Nunsensations, “Mazeppa” in Gypsy, “Crazy Aunt Harriet” in The Man Who Came to Dinner at the Drury Lane Oakbrook and “Mahiette” in Hunchback, The Musical with Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. Regional credits include: “Miss Shields” in A Christmas Story and “Nettie” in Carousel at Theatre at the Center; “Katisha” in The Mikado and “Mrs. Zero” in The Adding Machine at Skylight Opera Theatre and “Mrs. Fezziwig” in the national tour of Scrooge!
ABOUT MARK DAVID KAPLAN, “Frenchie Marx”
Mark David Kaplan makes his Porchlight Revisits debut with this production. Chicago credits include work with American Blues Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, About Face Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Theater at the Center, Royal George Theatre, Candlelight Playhouse, Chicago Children’s Theater and Noble Fool Theatricals. Kaplan received Jeff Awards for Ragtime and Les Misérables at Drury Lane Theatre and Forbidden Broadway Dances with the Stars at the Royal George Theatre. Additionally, Kaplan was in the Off-Broadway and national tour of Forbidden Broadway and the national tour of The Lion King as “Zazu.”
ABOUT SEAN BLAKE, “Maxie/Sandow”
Sean Blake returns to Porchlight Revisits where he was last seen in Woman of the Year. Most recently he was seen in The Producers at Paramount Theatre. He has appeared at The Goodman Theatre, Northlight, Seattle Rep Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare and The Longwharf Theatre, to name a few. He appeared as “Sportin’ Life” (Jeff Nomination Best Supporting Actor - Musical) in the critically acclaimed Porgy and Bess, named one of 2010’s best revivals by The Wall Street Journal as well as Caroline, or Change at Chicago’s Court Theatre and he has toured internationally in Hal Prince’s Showboat.
ABOUT 2019 YEAR OF CHICAGO THEATRE
Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT REVISITS
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:
(2018/19) 1776, Can-Can
(2017/18) Woman of the Year, They’re Playing Our Song, Do Re Mi;
(2016/17) The Rink, Little Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever;
(2015/16) Babes in Arms, Applause, Chess;
(2014/15) Bells Are Ringing, City of Angels, Mack & Mabel;
(2013/14) Anyone Can Whistle, Golden Boy, Fade Out-Fade In.
ABOUT PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE AS RUTH PAGE ARTIST IN-RESIDENCE
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 Chicago’s home for music theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre celebrates its 24th season and its second as an Artist In-Residence at the historic Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago’s Gold Coast. 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.” Porchlight’s rich history includes the staging of more than 70 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 a youth summer “Make Your Own Musical” camp and a Saturday morning youth program. The company’s many accolades include 28 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and twelve awards, as well as a total of 151 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 is proud to announce that its final production in the 2018 – 2019 “lost” musicals in staged concert series Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys will now include a special event with Minnie’s Boys composer Larry Grossman, “A Conversation with Larry Grossman,” Thursday, May 23 at 4:45 p.m. and feature a new song added to this Chicago premiere. Porchlight Revisits Minnie’s Boys, book by Groucho Marx’s son Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher, music by Grossman and lyrics by Hal Hackady with direction and choreography by Christopher Pazdernik and musical direction by Christie Chiles Twille, is presented for three performances Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, March 23 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Each Porchlight Revisits production begins with the “Behind the Show Backstory” multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Artistic Director Michael Weber, discussing that evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and much more. Single tickets are $37 for the performance and “A Conversation with Larry Grossman” is free to the public. Both are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884.
June Golin is the production sponsor of Minnie’s Boys.
Porchlight Music Theatre is supported by generous contributions from Actors’ Equity Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Chapman | Spingola, Attorneys at Law, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Elegant Events Lighting, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, Harris Family Foundation, Hopsmith, MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation, The Saints, Stuart Family Foundation and 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.