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3 Chicago theater companies awarded grants from Rick Bayless Foundation

Chef Rick Bayless at the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards, Chicago, Monday, May 2nd, 2016. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Chef Rick Bayless at the 2016 James Beard Foundation Awards, Chicago, Monday, May 2nd, 2016. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Albany Park Theater Project, Porchlight Music Theatre and the Steep Theatre Company are recipients of “Stepping Stone” grants from the Rick Bayless Family Foundation, it was announced Wednesday.

The grants, totaling $150,000 each (distributed over a three-year period) are part of Bayless’ continuing commitment to funding the Chicago theater scene.  The foundation began its commitment to funding the arts in 2018 when  17 theater companies were each awarded a $10,000 grant.

The Albany Park Theater Project is the recipient of a $150,000 "Stepping Stone" Grant from the Rick Bayless Family Foundation. | Provided Photo

The Albany Park Theater Project is the recipient of a $150,000 “Stepping Stone” Grant from the Rick Bayless Family Foundation. | Provided Photo

In addition, the foundation is dedicating funding to produce a series of live performances in Millennium Park as part of the 2019 “Year of Chicago Theatre” citywide initiative.

“We’re fortunate to be in Chicago, where there’s so much energy, activity and talent in the theater community,” Bayless said in a statement. “Though our theater community is one of the largest in our country, many companies struggle for survival. With a little infusion of capital, they can thrive. And a thriving arts scene is the soul of a city. We want to do everything we can to support it.”

An award-winning celebrity chef, Bayless is no stranger to the boards, having conceived and performed in the dinner/theater production of “Cascabel” at Lookingglass and Goodman theaters nearly a decade ago.

Bayless’ Chicago eateries include Frontera Grill, Lena Brava and Topolobampo.