Shopping Amazon? Do it with a Smile

Shopping on Amazon this month? Help Ghostlight in the process.

Go to between now and March 31, and Amazon will donate a portion of your sale to Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre Company. And if it's your first AmazonSmile purchase, Amazon is tripling it's usual donation amount to 1.5 percent of your total purchase price. 

Best of all, there is no added cost to you.

March Means War

theatre wars.jpg

Ghostlight will take on The Factory Theater, the cast of Southern Gothic at Windy City Playhouse, 16th Street Theater, Babes With Blades and The Hypocrites Alumni Association in Strawdog Theatre's late night game show, Theatre Wars.

Join us at Strawdog's new home at 1802 W. Berenice Avenue in NorthCenter as we compete against our fellow theatre nerds in a battle of survey-related gaming, guessing and kissing.


Doors open at 10:30 p.m. Tickets: $15

Auditions Announced for 'The Princess Without Pots'


Ghostlight Ensemble announces auditions for our summer show The Princess Without Pots, written and directed by Maria Burnham.

The Princess Without Pots is geared toward young audiences and shows us a world in which fighting like a girl is something everyone aspires to do.


Characters Descriptions:
Seeking a strong ethnically diverse cast of all genders, ages, shapes and sizes, who love a good story and who have an imagination to rival any 5-year-old.

Material To Prepare:
Please submit your headshot and resume to Jean, and she will be in touch with sides and an audition appointment. Bring your sense of play.

Performance Dates:
Saturdays at 11 a.m. & Sundays at 1:30 p.m., June 9-30 in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago.

7-10 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27
7-10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28

Please indicate your preferred date and time in your email.

You must be available for callbacks on Thursday, March 29, which will be held between 6:30 to 10 p.m. You do not need to be available for this entire time.

Auditions and call backs will be held at Theatre Momentum's Pendulum Space (1803 W Byron St, Chicago).

Send your headshot and resume to Jean at

Up Next: Cup of Ambition: A 9 to 5 Live (Movie) Reading


Ghostlight Ensemble presents a special Woman's History Month installment of its ongoing live movie reading series: Cup of Ambition: A 9 to 5 Live (Movie) Reading.

Join us at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the Celtic Crown (2356 W Cullom Ave, Chicago, IL 60618) in North Center, as we fight sexual harassment and discrimination in the back room of a bar. 

9 to 5 follows three female office workers who get revenge on their tyrannical, sexist boss by abducting him (after realizing they hadn't just killed him — it'll make more sense if you just come to the reading) and running the business themselves.  Please note, this is a reading of the MOVIE starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, not the inevitable musical adaptation that came later.

There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season, AND an additional donation (we suggest another $5) for GirlForward, a North Side non-profit organization that mentors adolescent refugee girls and provides educational programs and leadership opportunities.

Scenic Designer Needed for An Ideal Husband


Ghostlight Ensemble is seeking a designer to enhance the scenic dressing and practical lighting of our site-specific spring production of An Ideal Husband.

The designer may also be asked to aid in sourcing a small amount of hand props. If so, the stipend will be adjusted accordingly.

The performance space is The North Mansion/ Gunder House in Berger Park (6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, 60660), which provides the perfect backdrop for this production. As such, there will be minimal scenic elements and lighting fixtures for each setting.

Schedule Details
Load-in: April 2, during the day
Tech: Evenings April 2-5
Preview: April 6
Performances: April 7-28 Friday night and Saturday 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., with an additional performance on Monday, April 9

Small stipend to be negotiated with experience

To Apply
Please send resume and cover letter to Production Manager Janette Bauer at

Celebrating 20 years of 'Spice World'

To celebrate 20 years of Girl Power, platform sneakers and Union Jack dresses, Ghostlight Ensemble presents Girl power!: Celebrating 20 Years of Spice World (A Live Reading). Join our girls as they read and sing all the Girl Power hits that you know and love from this modern cinematic classic.

Spice World, released in the U.S. 20 years ago on January 23, is a British musical comedy starring the 1990s pop sensation known as the Spice Girls (who all play over-the-top versions of themselves in the movie). The lighthearted comedy follows the girls on a series of events leading up to their first live concert to be held at London's Royal Albert Hall, with plenty of dream sequences, flashbacks, flashforwards and surreal moments scattered in between.

The Spice Girls are: Caitlin Jackson as Geri (Ginger), Song Marshall as Mel B (Scary), Jean E. Burr as Mel C (Sporty), Carrie Campana as Emma (Baby) and Maura Hogan as Victoria (Posh).

The full cast list is available on the show page.

The reading takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 23, at the Celtic Crown, located at the corner of Western Avenue and Cullom Avenue. There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its current season.

Cast announced for 'An Ideal Husband'

Ghostlight Ensemble announces casting for its spring show, Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband.

The cast is: Alex Ireys as Lord Goring, Aaron Wertheim as Robert Chiltern, Maddie Pell as Lady Chiltern, Sam Bianchini as Mrs. Cheveley, Halie Merrill as Mabel Chiltern, Richard Engling as Lord Caversham, Michael Wagman as Phipps/Mason, Song Marshall as Lady Basildon, Allison McCorkle as Mrs. Marchmont, Stephanie Monday as Lady Markby and Sebastian Summers as Nanjac.

The show is directed by Ghostlight Co-Artistic Director Holly Robison. Janette Bauer is the production manager.

An Ideal Husband is Oscar Wilde's comedic masterpiece of blackmail and political corruption. Sir Robert Chiltern, a government minister who built his fortune on a single dishonest act, is blackmailed by Mrs. Cheveley, who wants his assistance in another dishonest scheme. Chiltern asks Lord Goring, the ne'er-do-well son of the Earl of Caversham, for advice, and Lord Goring, familiar (in several ways) with Mrs. Cheveley, ultimately saves Chiltern's marriage and social position. By doing so, he ironically ends up married.

The show takes place Fridays and Saturdays, April 7-28, 2018, at The North Mansion in Berger Park/ Gunder House (6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago, 60660).

Ghostlight welcomes two new associate ensemble members

 Norman J. Burt (left) and Song Marshall (right) have joined the Ensemble.

Norman J. Burt (left) and Song Marshall (right) have joined the Ensemble.

Actors Song Marshall and Norman J. Burt have joined Ghostlight as associate ensemble members. Both have worked extensively with Ghostlight over the past year and a half.

Song was in our inaugural live movie reading, Girl Power! A Spice World Live Reading, and she will reprise her role as Mel B (aka, Scary Spice) in the January remount of that reading. She was also in our Thanksgiving-themed live reading, Must Eat TV, and in our short play series celebrating Pirandello at 150, Six Authors in Search of a Character. You can also catch her as Lady Basildon in our spring production of An Ideal Husband.

Norman was in our inaugural mainstage production of Six Characters in Search of an Author as the Father. He has been a staple in our live reading series, participating in Something Has Survived: A Jurassic Park Live Reading, You've Got READ On You: A Shaun of The Dead Live Reading and Must Eat TV: A Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes.

Full bios of both artists can be found on the About Us: The Ensemble page of our website. 

Thank you for an amazing 2017!

 Six Authors in Search of a Character

Six Authors in Search of a Character

 Something Has Survived: A  Jurassic Park  Live Reading

Something Has Survived: A Jurassic Park Live Reading

As we approach the end of the year, we at Ghostlight Ensemble are not only celebrating the final days of 2017, but also the final days of our G.E.T. Fundraiser.  We are beyond grateful for the support we've received so far and we hope more of you will join the fun before our fundraiser ends December 31.

In the summer of 2016 we were 10 people gathered in a Northside apartment asking, “What do we want to do?” “What do we want to call ourselves?” and “What sort of theatre company do we want to be?” One main stage production, two holiday shows, five live movie readings, one Fight Night, one short play festival and a year and a half later, we are proud to say Ghostlight Ensemble is the kind of company brave enough and curious enough to do just about anything — to bring you the unexpected. We have accomplished so much in so little time and we couldn’t have done it without you, our audiences, donors, artists, volunteers and subscribers. Thank you!

This is only the beginning, though. As we look to the new year, we have so much more we want to do, so much more entertainment we want to bring you and we hope you’ll join us in bringing it to life.

In the spring we are producing the Oscar Wilde's classic play about political corruption and personal integrity, An Ideal Husbanddirected by Co-Artistic Director Holly Robison. In the summer we inaugurate our Nightlight summer children’s series with our production of Maria Burnham’s original script, The Princess Without Pots, a story about a warrior princess trying to gain her independence and a decidedly un-warrior prince trying to save his kingdom.

Be a part of what's to come. You helped make us the Best New Theatre Company in Chicago in 2017, now help us bring the unexpected to Chicago.

Holly Robison & Michael Wagman
Co-Artistic Directors

Why Theatre Matters To Us


Hello friends of Ghostlight,

As we approach the end of 2017 and the end of our fundraising drive, we wanted to share with you our personal stories of why theatre is so important to us and in turn to others. We know this is the time of year you are bombarded with requests from very worthy organizations and some of them are literally making life or death differences in people's lives.

Supporting the arts is more nebulous, we know. You look at Ghostlight and you think, "They put on theatre. That's nice." And we do that, yes. But theatre can sometimes ALSO make a life or death difference in a person's life. It empowers young people, gives them purpose, gives them friends, makes them realize there are others like them and they are not alone.

It has done that for all of us here at Ghostlight and for countless other theatre kids around this world. It may be doing it right now for someone you know and love, someone you don't realize is struggling to understand why they are here on this planet at this time and place.

That is why you should support the arts and why we hope you will support Ghostlight, as we make a place for future generations of artist to tell the stories that matter to them and to help them find their purpose, their home.

— The Ensemble

Every nightmare comes to an end...doesn't it?

Nutcracker Family party.jpg

Thanks to everyone who packed our houses last weekend for Gingerbread Grindhouse!

Only two chances remain to catch Nutcracker Nightmare, plus trailers for Snow Day Bloody Snow Day by Babes With Blades, He'll Raise Her by New Millennium Theatre Co., Krampus!  by Ghostlight Ensemble and various improvised horror by The Stuntmen and Improvised Twilight Zone, all part of Gingerbread Grindhouse!

For those of you returning or attending for the first time, we strongly suggest purchasing tickets in advance, as people were turned away at the door last weekend.


What is Gingerbread Grindhouse? In a nod to the lurid, violent films popular from the 1930s through 1970s, Gingerbread Grindhouse will feature a series of live “trailers” for grindhouse-style plays yet to be, before continuing on to the feature production, Nutcracker Nightmare – a holiday tale of children, the toys they love and the toys that try to kill everyone they love. It’s the perfect holiday entertainment.

Got extra cash lying around and it's been your dream to be killed on stage? We have one victim slot that remains open for Friday night. Learn more about that and all the tantalizing perks that are part of our end-of-the-year fundraiser here.

Hogan finds humor, humanity amid horror in her latest role

 Actress Annie Hogan (right) plays the Mother in "Nutcracker Nightmare," running through Dec. 16. (Posted by Ghostlight Ensemble, Community Contributor)

Actress Annie Hogan (right) plays the Mother in "Nutcracker Nightmare," running through Dec. 16. (Posted by Ghostlight Ensemble, Community Contributor)

Though her latest production, "Nutcracker Nightmare," is set in a world where toys talk and dolls kill, Actress Annie Hogan found it was the human realities of the play that proved the most challenging.

"The biggest challenge for me is allowing my character to have grief and sadness without losing the humor that is inherent to the play, she said. "This family has experienced an awful tragedy. The grief has to be present, but you have to remember that these people are working through it. It is active. It would be very easy, as an actor, to play one extreme or the other - extreme grief/depression versus sitcom-type sadness. It's a tricky balance."

Read more about Hogan and her work in The Chicago Tribune and the Bucktown-Wicker Park Patch.


Jacobson gives life to children's nightmares in horror-inspired 'Nutcracker'

 Victoria Jacobson (right) rehearses for the holiday horror play "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens on Friday, Dec. 8.

Victoria Jacobson (right) rehearses for the holiday horror play "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens on Friday, Dec. 8.

In Victoria Jacobson’s book, things that slither along the ground are scary. Dolls are not. And yet in her latest role as Zipakna, a worry doll that comes to life and terrorizes the Stahlbaum family in “Nutcracker Nightmare,” she is tasked with making an audience think just that.

“The biggest challenge was trying to find the balance between doll and creepy in a movement sense, Jacobson said. “What I consider to be bump-in-the-night scary are things that slither or move lower to the floor, while a doll would not necessarily be the type of creature to do so. Exploring a spectrum of movements in that sense is something that I worked on the hardest.”

Read more about Jacobson and her work in The Chicago Tribune and the Lakeview Patch.

Nielsen takes on the (red) mantle for iconic Nutcracker role

 Cary native P. Tyler Nielsen (second from right) rehearses for "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens this week.

Cary native P. Tyler Nielsen (second from right) rehearses for "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens this week.

Words may be the weapon most closely associated with an actor's trade, but for P. Tyler Nielsen taking on the iconic role of The Nutcracker in "Nutcracker Nightmare" meant acting with his body…and with actual weapons.

"I love the physical challenge of portraying such an iconic character who has so few lines," Nielsen said. "There is much to convey without the chance to verbalize the Nutcracker's internal journey.

"In addition, the chance to discover how a nutcracker might move, fight and express love is a joy," he added.

Read more about Tyler and his work in the Chicago Tribune or the Crystal Lake Patch.

Meet the cast of your Nightmare

 From left: Serina Johnston, Tatum Hunter, Jean E. Burr and Kirk Jackson rehearse for  Nutcracker Nightmare .  (Photo by Maria Burnham)

From left: Serina Johnston, Tatum Hunter, Jean E. Burr and Kirk Jackson rehearse for Nutcracker Nightmare. (Photo by Maria Burnham)

Ghostlight Ensemble has announced the cast of Nutcracker Nightmare, the main feature of Gingerbread Grindhouse, which takes over the Greenhouse Theater Center's downstairs studio after-hours in December.

In a nod to the lurid, violent films popular in the 1930s through 1970s, Gingerbread Grindhouse will feature a series of live “trailers” for grindhouse-style plays yet to be, before continuing on to the feature production, Nutcracker Nightmare – a holiday tale of children, the toys they love and the toys that try to kill everyone they love. It’s the perfect holiday entertainment.

Written by Ensemble Member Maria Burnham and directed by Ghostlight Managing Director Chad Wise, Nutcracker Nightmare stars Ensemble Member Jean E. Burr as Clara and Guest Artists Alexandra Alontaga as Balam, Sean Harklerode as Drosselmeier, Annie Hogan as Mother, Maura Hogan as Itzamna, Tatum Hunter as Marie, Kirk Jackson as Truncheon, Victoria Jacobson as Zipakna, Serina Johnston as Rose, Allison McCorkle as Dora and the Evil Doll Queen, P. Tyler Nielsen as the Nutcracker and Mark Pracht as Father.

Full bios of the actors and production team are available online.

Gingerbread Grindhouse will also feature grindhouse-style trailers by Babes With Blades, New Millennium Theatre Co., Improvised Twilight Zone, Improvised Jane Austen, The Stuntmen and Ghostlight Ensemble.
Gingerbread Grindhouse takes place at 10:30 p.m. on December 8, 9, 15 and 16, at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, 60614) in Lincoln Park. Tickets are $15 and are available now through the Greenhouse website at, via email at or over the phone at 773-404-7336.

Thanks to all who attended Must Eat TV

 From left: Miona Lee,  Dennis Davies, Nick Conrad, Christopher Paul Mueller, Paul Tinsley and Jean E. Burr in How I Met Your Mother's  Slapsgiving  episode.  (  Photo by Dana Tedesco)

From left: Miona Lee,  Dennis Davies, Nick Conrad, Christopher Paul Mueller, Paul Tinsley and Jean E. Burr in How I Met Your Mother's Slapsgiving episode. (Photo by Dana Tedesco)

Thanks to everyone who attended Must Eat TV, the latest installment of our live movie reading series, on Tuesday night. We enjoyed sharing our traditional English trifle with you all, as we watched faces get slapped and turkeys get dropped from the sky.

We also want to thank our audience for their generosity in donating to Common Pantry. Thanks to you, a lot of people's lives will be made a little better during this season of thanks. You are truly amazing.

Help us combat hunger by donating to Common Pantry at Must Eat TV


Our mission at Ghostlight doesn't focus just on how we can effect change from the stage, but what we can do beyond the boards. So, while our Live Reading series is an opportunity for fun, it is also an opportunity to do more.

For this month's performance on Tuesday, November 14, we'll be collecting donations for Common Pantry.

Common Pantry, located in North Center, was founded in 1967 to combat hunger and food insecurity in specific north side neighborhoods in Chicago. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s mission is to meet the emergency food needs of the community through weekly food distributions, home delivery to elderly clients, its hot lunch program and its monthly distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables on Produce Day. Through the Common Community Program, it helps individuals and families address the root causes of food insecurity and poverty by assisting with benefit applications, job searches, housing issues and services to the homeless.

While the organization collects canned good and other non-perishable food items, they also have a Personal Care Wish List, which is just as important. We encourage those coming to Must Eat TV to consider bringing razors, soap, deodorant, diapers, toothpaste and feminine hygiene products. You can find the entire Wish List here.

Overwhelming response to An Ideal Husband auditions


Thanks to everyone who submitted to our auditions for An Ideal Husband. We received hundreds of resumes and headshots. While we wish we could see you all, we have a limited number of spaces, which at this time have all been filled along with our waitlist.

If you received an audition slot, but cannot attend, please let us know as soon as possible — not just for our sake, but out of professional courtesy to your fellow performers who did not receive an audition because of you. Responding quickly allows us to give others the opportunity. Even if you find out the day before your audition that you cannot attend, there are often actors who are available to take that slot with short notice. Likewise, keep this in mind when you consider not showing up to auditions without letting us know in advance. We do understand that unavoidable situations arise at the last minute, but in this day of smart phones and mobile telephones, it is easy to let people know why you won't be attending. Email cancellations to or call our offices at (773) 377-5342.

We'll hope you'll keep an eye out for our next round of auditions to be held in the spring of 2018 for our summer show, Princess Without Pots.

Ghostlight announces auditions for Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband"


Ghostlight Ensemble will hold auditions for its spring production of An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde's comedic masterpiece of blackmail and political corruption, in November.

Auditon Dates: Monday, November 13 & Thursday, November 16, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with callbacks on Sunday, November 19, from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Types/Restrictions: Seeking 11 actors of any ethnicity: 5 male-identifying actors ranging from mid 20s - 60s & 6 female-identifying actors ranging from early 20s - 60s

Audition Location: DePaul Theatre School (2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614)

Pay: Small stipend for all performers

Time Commitment: Rehearsals will begin in late January/early February.

Tech: Monday, April 2 - 5, 2018

Performance Dates: 3 performances/week - Friday evening, Saturday matinee & evening, April 6 - 28, 2018 & Monday, April 9, 2018, at Berger Park North Mansion (Gunder House).

Material to prepare: To request an audition appointment, please email H/R to Please note any conflicts with audition dates in your initial request. If assigned an audition appointment, a short side will be emailed to you to prepare.