With over twenty-five years in Chicago theatre, a vast knowledge of Broadway musicals and a new big move to a downtown location, Michael Weber, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Artistic Director, appears to be just getting started. Since he moved into the position in 2011, Porchlight has been recognized with Equity Jeff Awards for Best Production five years in a row. The casts and creative teams have over 150 Jeff nominations, receiving 42 awards, and 28 Black Theatre Alliance nominations receiving seven, as they embark on the 24th season and second at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. That season begins on October 12th with the much-anticipated production of Gypsy, directed by Weber and starring the extraordinary E. Faye Butler.
At Porchlight, Weber has directed Side Show, Assassins, Pal Joey, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, End of the Rainbow, and Merrily We Roll Along. He has also developed the New Faces Sing Broadway series and Porchlight Revisits, dynamic showcases for talent in Chicago that also provide educational benefits for subscribers and patrons. Students in the School at Porchlight receive instruction from seasoned professionals in performance, writing and other areas of musical theatre.
Michael Weber joined the CONVERSATION to discuss Porchlight’s 2018-2019 season, his return to the stage this year in Do Re Mi and what’s ahead for theatre audiences from one of Chicago’s most innovative and successful musical theatre companies. PODCAST
From Stage 773 to Ruth Page … “It's been an incredible transition and transformation for the company. … (At the) Ruth Page Center, the main thing about the physical environment is that the stage itself is much bigger. At Stage 773, they were both small theaters, in terms of the stage space, and doing musicals that, whether it's something like In the Heights, Dreamgirls or Pal Joey, you've got a cast of 20 to 25 people that were in a much smaller environment. Ruth Page allows us to do a physically large production. The benefit also at Ruth Page is that the audience size remains intimate, which is essential to what we try to do at Porchlight.”