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Porchlight names cast for upcoming “Sondheim on Sondheim” show

A serious gathering of musical theater talent is being brought together for Porchlight Music Theatre’s Chicago premiere of “Sondheim on Sondheim.” The revue, conceived by James Lapine, features new arrangements of more than two-dozen Stephen Sondheim songs ranging from the beloved to the obscure, and is interspersed with filmed commentary by the composer himself.

Running Feb. 6-March 15 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, “Sondheim on Sondheim” will be helmed by director Nick Bowling (whose most recent triumph is the revival of “The King and I” at the Marriott Theatre), and music director Austin Cook (who has made his mark at Porchlight, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and on the road with “Million Dollar Quartet”).

Of course Sondheim, 84, needs no introduction. A major transformative force on the Broadway scene for more than a half century, he recently was feted with the first-ever ASCAP Centennial Award, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The Walt Disney film version of his Broadway classic, “Into the Woods,” is slated for a Christmas release.

The Chicago company of “Sondheim on Sondheim” will include: Rebecca Finnegan, who most recently wowed audiences with her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett in Porchlight’s sold-out production of Sondheim’s ‘Sweeney Todd”; James Earl Jones II, who recently returned to Chicago from the first national tour of “Porgy and Bess,” and was among the actors singing “backup” for Patti LuPone at Tuesday’s 125th Anniversary gala for the Auditorium Theatre; Emily Berman, who had made a fine impression at shows at Writers Theatre and The Music Theatre Company of Highland Park; Matthew Keffer, seen recently in Bailiwick Chicago’s “The Wild Party”; Adrienne Walker, who was Jeff Award-nominated this year for her performance in “The Color Purple” at the Mercury Theatre; Stephen Rader, seen in “The Normal Heart” at TimeLine Theatre; Amelia Hefferon, who played the title role in Lookingglass Theatre’s “The Little Prince”; and Yando Lopez, recently seen at the Black Ensemble and Aurora’s Paramount Theatre.

For tickets ($35 for previews; $50 for the opening night performance and reception; $39 for Thursday performances; $45 for all other performances), call (773) 777-9884 or visit porchlightmusictheatre.org.