Porchlight Music Theatre, American Musicals. Chicago Style., is proud to announce the first recipient of The Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre in Chicago is former Porchlight Music Theatre (Porchlight) Artistic Director L. Walter Stearns. The award presentation will be one of the events featured at Journey On - A Brunch Benefit for Porchlight Music Theatre, Sunday, July 17 from 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at The University Club of Chicago, Cathedral Hall, 76 East Monroe Street. Advance reservations are $100 per person, $25 per child 5 - 12 years, and children four years and younger are free. The brunch includes complimentary wine and a cash bar. Tickets are available at porchlighttheatre.com or by phone at 773-325-9884.
This is the inaugural year for The Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre in Chicago. The Award, named for the beloved Chicago musical actor, will be bestowed annually and celebrates an individual who has made an exceptional and lasting contribution to the state of the art of Chicago music theater. New Porchlight Artistic Director Michael Weber spoke about the 2011 recipient, "Without a doubt, Walter is the perfect candidate to receive the first Guy Adkins Award. He exemplifies and shares the passion that Guy had for musicals and has done much to honor and celebrate the musical in Chicago as artistic director of Porchlight." The Award will be presented to Stearns at the Journey On - A Brunch Benefit for Porchlight Music Theatre where Adkins' partner, Sean Allan Krill, and members of Adkins' family will be in attendance.
Journey On - A Brunch Benefit for Porchlight Music Theatre is an elegant brunch featuring something for attendees of all ages. In addition to the award ceremony, there is entertainment by some of Chicago's favorite performers, a children's play area and live and silent auctions. The performers, under the music direction of Austin Cook (music director of Porchlight's fall 2011 production Putting It Together) and directed by Christopher Pazdernik (Porchlight's artistic associate and director of Miracle on 34th Street) and Sean Kelly (Porchlight artistic associate and director of The Fantasticks), represent some of the brightest stars of Chicago's musical stage including Michael Lindner (Porchlight's Sweeney Todd and The Secret Garden); Bethany Dawn Lindner (Porchlight's Sweeney Todd, The Secret Garden, and Into the Woods); Bethany Thomas (Porchlight's Nine and Once on this Island and recently in Court Theatre's Porgy and Bess); Rebecca Finnegan (Porchlight's Sweeney Todd (Jeff Award - Best Actress), Gypsy, Cabaret and starring in Porchlight's 2012 Chicago premiere of A Catered Affair); Jayson Brooks (Porchlight's Ragtime and recently in Bailiwick's Passing Strange) and Michael Reckling (Porchlight‘s 2011 fall production Putting it Together). The silent and live auctions include a huge array of items for every taste including travel packages to Lake Tahoe, Tucson or Puerto Rico; a variety of spa and salon packages including an overnight stay and spa treatment at Chicago's Trump Tower; a cooking party for 15 people by Bespoke Cuisine and tickets to see the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field or a Notre Dame football game.
L. Walter Stearns is executive director of The Mercury Theatre and the former artistic director of Porchlight Music Theatre. While with Porchlight he directed Sunday in the Park With George, Miracle on 34th Street, Pacific Overtures, Candide, Nine, Phantom, Ragtime, A Wonderful Life, The Secret Garden, Gypsy, Elegies: A Song Cycle, Sweeney Todd, Amadeus, Cabaret, Company, Promises, Promises, A New Brain, A Little Night Music, Passion, Into The Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, Falsettos and Ruthless! Stearns has also directed several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas for the Savoy Aires of Evanston including, Ruddigore, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and Patience. Other Chicago directing credits include The Student Prince (Light Opera Works), Once Upon a Mattress, Cinderella (Emerald City Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Effective Theatre), Weird Romance - The Girl Who Was Plugged In (Effective Theatre), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Up and Coming Theatre), and What the Butler Saw (Effective Theatre in 1996 and Amusing Productions in 1991). Stearns favorite theatrical experiences include touring Eastern Europe performing in The Dragon and The Birds as well as across North America in The Wizard of Oz. He received the 2007 Jeff Award as outstanding director of a musical as well as five Jeff nominations, and three After Dark Awards including Outstanding Season for 2006-2007. His alma mater, the University of Illinois Chicago honored Stearns as an outstanding alumnus with UIC's Franny Award from the Department of Theater.
Porchlight Music Theatre, American Musicals. Chicago Style., is beginning its 17th Season is Chicago's leader of music theatre productions. By uniting the arts of music, drama, dance and design Porchlight Music Theatre transforms stories into thrilling, passionate and relevant events, which affect the lives of artists and audiences alike. As professionals and leaders in this field,
Porchlight nurtures and develops new artists and works, expanding and redefining the music theatre genre while matching artistic vision with fiscal responsibility. With the recent addition of new Artistic Director Michael Weber and a 2011-2012 season that includes Sondheim, a Chicago premiere and an international sensation, Porchlight's status as Chicago's music theatre will continue and grow. Porchlight's rich history includes the staging 49 shows with five world premieres, among them, The Teapot Scandals, its first work developed through Off the Porch, Porchlight's new works program, as well as seven Chicago premieres. An Equity theater since 2004, the company has received a total of 34 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 11 Jeff Awards.