Featuring bluegrass favorites and the foot-stomping, hand-clapping finest of American roots music.
A young classical violinist and her song collector boyfriend flee from the confines of their Brooklyn apartment to the mountains of North Carolina on a quest for musical authenticity and inspiration. Their search leads biracial Mira back to her old family home, where she reconnects with an estranged grandfather she never mentioned. An unexpected combination of joy and discovery along with past pain and prejudice comes to light in this story of an Appalachian family’s varied roots and the music that binds them together.

at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077

Calendar for The Porch On Windy Hill: a new play with old music

  • 8:00pm


Lisa Helmi Johanson


Morgan Morse


David M. Lutken

"Edgar"/Co-writer/Music Director

BROADWAY: Inherit the Wind; Ring of Fire; The Civil War; The Will Rogers Follies.

N.Y. CITY OPERA: Paul Bunyan

OFF-BROADWAY: Southern Comfort; Stars in Your Eyes; Winter Man; The Portable Pioneer & Prairie Show, and Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie (Outer Critics’ Circle, Off-Broadway Alliance and Drama League Best Musical nominations)

LONDON: Dark of the Moon; Woody Sez (Evening Standard Best Musical nomination)

REGIONAL UK: Bonnie and Clyde; A Month In The Country.

REGIONAL US: Our Town; Man of La Mancha; Big River; Elmer Gantry; Finian’s Rainbow; The Will Rogers Follies; Fire On The Mountain; Lost Highway; Buddy; Pump Boys and Dinettes; The Love List; The Man Who Came to Dinner; On Golden Pond; Mark Twain’s River of Song; Almost Heaven, and The Porch on Windy Hill. (Best Actor nomination, Connecticut Critics’ Circle Awards)

With Woody Sez, he and his company have toured Europe, the British Isles, China, the Middle East and The United States. For his portrayal of Woody Guthrie, David won the Helen Hayes and the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Actor.

He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, The 92nd St Y, at Cooper Union, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Chicago’s Navy Pier, with the North Carolina Symphony and the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, on NPR, the BBC, Polskie Radio Troika, ORF Austria, Voice Of America, and The Louisiana Hayride.

Megan Erin Lai

u/s Mira

Kelan M. Smith

u/s Beckett

Production Team

Sherry Lutken


Sherry directed the premiere of The Porch on Windy Hill at The Ivoryton Playhouse (Connecticut Critics nomination: Best Director). Off-Broadway and Regional directing and choreography credits include: The Bourgeois Gentleman, The Million Dollar Quartet, Pump Boys and Dinettes, Hank Williams: Lost Highway, Stand By Your Man, Stars in Your Eyes, Almost Heaven, Hopscotch and Anything Goes. In 2009, she directed the first regional theater production of Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash at North Carolina’s Flat Rock Playhouse. She has directed many subsequent productions around the US, as well as internationally — at Vienna’s English Theatre and The Deutsches Theater in Munich. As Associate Director of the critically acclaimed Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie, Sherry has staged productions of the musical in Chicago at Northlight Theatre (Joseph Jefferson Award nomination: Best Musical Revue), Washington D.C. (Helen Hayes Award nomination: Best Musical), Florida, Pennsylvania, and its first National UK Tour.

Mara Zinky

Scenic Design

Bio coming soon!

Gregory Graham

Costume Design

Lindsey Lyddan

Lighting Design

Rick Sims

Sound Design

Rick has composed and designed sound for numerous Chicago-area theaters, including Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Northlight, Congo Square, Writers, Lifeline, Griffin, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Court, American Blues, Victory Gardens and Steep. Regional credits include Arena Stage and Roundhouse Theatre in Washington D.C., Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, South Coast Rep in Southern California, The Getty, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia, 2nd Stage and Playwrights Horizons in New York City, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Portland Playhouse. He is an artistic associate of Lookingglass, an artistic affiliate with American Blues and is currently composing music for The Thanksgiving Play at 2nd Stage Theatre on Broadway. Sims won a Jeff Award for sound design for Lookingglass’ Moby Dick, Frankenstein, and Hepheastus, and a BTA award for Congo Squares Brothers In the Dust. Sims also wrote the book, music and lyrics for Lookingglass Hillbilly Antigone.

Christine Mok


Christine is a dramaturg, designer, and scholar. Recent dramaturgy credits include Lloyd Suh’s The Heart Sellers (Milwaukee Rep), Lloyd Suh’s The Far Country (Atlantic Theater Company), and Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s Snow in Midsummer (OSF). She is assistant professor of English at the University of Rhode Island. She has published in Theatre Survey, Theatre Journal, JADT, PAJ: A Performing Arts Journal, Modern Drama, and the Journal of Asian American Studies. She is co-editor with Joshua Chambers-Letson of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s China Trilogy: Three Parables of Global Capital (Bloomsbury, 2021). She is a member of Wingspace Theatrical Design.

Katie Klemme

Stage Manager

KATIE KLEMME is pleased to return to Northlight where her credits include Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley, Intimate Apparel, Mr. Dickens’ Hat, The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley, Landladies, and You Can’t Take It With You. Recent credits include Villette (Lookingglass), Tiger Style!, Wife of a Salesman, and Into the Woods (Writers); Mamma Mia! and Much Ado About Nothing (Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival), Hamilton: An American Musical (Chicago, Sub); Sorin: A Notre Dame Story (National Tour); If I Forget, Indecent (Victory Gardens); Mr. Burns, The Realistic Joneses, others (Theater Wit); Mother and Me (Geva Theater Center, Rochester, NY). She was resident production stage manager at American Theater Company from 2008-2018 where highlights included the world premieres of Disgraced (Pulitzer Prize), The Project(s), and columbinus (Chicago and ArtsEmerson, Boston). She is on the faculty at Loyola University Chicago and is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.