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 https://www.greenhousetheater.org/gingerbreadgrindhouse, via email at boxoffice@greenhousetheater.org 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

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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

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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 casting@ghostlightensemble.com 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"

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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 casting@ghostlightensemble.com. 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.

Must Eat TV featured in Chicago Magazine

Chicago Magazine calls our live movie reading series "always entertaining," so don't miss the latest installment in which we trade the big screen for the small one to celebrate Turkey Day.

Must Eat TV: A Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes is coming up on Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at the Celtic Crown. The lineup features selections from How I Met Your Mother, Friends and WKRP in Cincinnati Click on the link above for all the details! We'll see you turkeys there!

Ghostlight featured on Chicago on Stage

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Ghostlight was recently lucky enough to sits down with Karen Topham (aka chicagodramagirl) of Chicago on Stage and talk about our origin and what made us think we could make it in the crowded Chicago theatre scene.

According to the League of Chicago Theatres, there are about 200 theatre companies in the city of Chicago. Wikipedia also lists about this many, as well as thirty long-standing companies that are now defunct. And that doesn’t even begin to include the multitudes of companies that have appeared for a show or three only to vanish into the competitive haze of the Chicago theatre community, which is, without doubt, one of the most incredible live theatre markets in the country, but also one of the most unforgiving.

Amid this whirl of dramatic achievement and failure, it must take a certain kind of people with a specific kind of audacity to start a whole new company from the ground up, yet that is precisely what Holly Robison and Maria Burnham, late of Strangeloop Theatre, and Chad Wise, founding member of New Millennium Theatre, and seven other founding members including co-artistic director Michael Wagman, are doing with Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre.

Read the entire article here.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with some Must Eat TV

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Ghostlight will present a special Thanksgiving installment of its ongoing live reading series, this time subbing out the small screen for the big.

Must Eat TV: A Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes will feature selections from How I Met Your Mother, Friends and WKRP in Cincinnati at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 14, at the Celtic Crown (2356 W Cullom Ave, Chicago, IL 60618).

There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season, AND a non-perishable good or additional cash donation to benefit Common Pantry, of North Center.

Put on those pants with the elastic waist and get ready to give thanks for some classic TV gems!

Ghostlight holding auditions for Nutcracker Nightmare

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Ghostlight Ensemble will hold auditions for its production of Nutcracker Nightmare, part of our ongoing Gingerbread Grindhouse holiday horror series on, Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday 25 from 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Theater Momentum (1803 W Byron St #216, Chicago, IL 60613) .

Nutcracker Nightmare is 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.

Time Commitment:
Performance Dates: Friday, December 8; Saturday, December 9; Friday December 15 and Satuday, December 16 at 10:30 p.m. at the Greenhouse Theatre Center.

Material To Prepare:
Please prepare a 1-2 minute comic or serio-comic monologue and don't take yourself too seriously. Submit H/R to Jean at casting(at)ghostlightensemble.com, and she will be in touch to schedule an audition appointment.

Note: This a Non-Union, unpaid production.

Goodies for Ghostlight: A Potbelly Foodraiser

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Fall may be here in theory, but it's still warm enough outside for milkshakes.

So join us on Wednesday October 11, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Square Potbelly (4709 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625) for another in our series of delicious fundraisers that will go to support our Season 1 programming.

Potbelly will donate 25 percent of net sales during that time to Ghostlight. You don't need any special paperwork or flyers or code words or secret handshakes, just come in, order and eat.

Ensemble members will be on hand to chat about our Company, the upcoming season, our favorite plays or anything that takes your fancy. So come say hello and raise a toast — or a toasted sandwich — to the arts in Chicago. 

Ways you can help Ghostlight while G.E.T.ing some fun in return!

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Want to star in your own play? Watch a live reading of your favorite movie? Have tea and biscuits with the wicked Mrs. Cheveley? Get murdered on stage? Then we have just the thing(s) for you...

Ghostlight has launched an independent fundraising drive. Wonder how these two things are releated? Read on.

Between October 1 and December 31, 2017, when you make a donation to our PayPal account, you can get a slew of cool, unique rewards — with a focus on experience-based incentives! 

Your help will pay our artists and our rent for rehearsal and performance spaces, as well as fund design elements such as set and costumes, for the three shows that make up Season 1: Gingerbread Grindhouse, An Ideal Husband and The Princess Without Pots.

And by giving, you also G.E.T. Among the items to choose from: tea and biscuits with the cast of An Ideal Husband, getting murdered onstage as part of our holiday show, and having our Ensemble playwrights write a personalized play for you, starring you.

Perks will be given out on an ongoing basis, with all items distributed by the end of our 2017-18 Season.

We are self-producing this fundraiser, so word of mouth is very important to us. If you've supported Ghostlight in the past and enjoy what we do, please take a moment to let your friends know how they can help. You can also tell your enemies — we aren't picky or proud.

Details on exactly how this works and what you need to do are available on the fundraiser page of our website. And periodic updates will be posted there as well.

Ghostlight Ensemble is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so any donation you give is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

A Live Reading of Shaun of The Dead

Ghostlight is doing a special edition of our live movie reading series in October themed for Halloween.

Join us for You've Got READ On You: A Shaun of The Dead Live Reading at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 17, at the Celtic Crown (2356 W Cullom Ave, Chicago, IL 60618).

Things may get a little bite-y, so grab a nice cold pint and wait for all of this to blow over.

Check out all the details, including cast, on the special events page here.

A Live Reading of A League of Their Own

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The next installment in our ongoing live movie reading series has arrived.

Join us for There’s No Crying in Theatre: A League of Their Own Live Reading at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 23, at the Celtic Crown (2356 W Cullom Ave, Chicago, IL 60618).

We're celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the movie's release by jamming a baseball team's worth of actresses in a back room of a bar and performing some Grand Slam feats of entertainment.

Check out all the details, including cast, on the special events page here.

Live music, farm fresh fruits and Potbelly: A Fun-raiser in Lincoln Square

Time to put the fun back in fundraiser.

Join us on Thursday, August 17, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Square Potbelly (4709 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625) for another in our series of delicious fundraisers that will go to support our Season 1 programming.

Potbelly will donate 25 percent of net sales during that time to Ghostlight. You don't need any special paperwork or flyers or code words or secret handshakes, just come in, order and eat.

But it doesn't end there. Thursdays in Lincoln Square make a great day out for the family. You can shop the extensive Farmers Market across the street from Potbelly and then stroll over to the Square proper where the annual Summer Concert Series takes place. On August 17, you can boogie to the swampy blues of Tijuana Hercules, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Back at Potbelly, Ensemble members will be on hand to chat about our Company, the upcoming season, our favorite plays or anything that takes your fancy. So come say hello and let's break bread — or better yet a Dream Bar — together. 

Thanks for helping make Ghostlight the Best New Theater Company in Chicago

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Ghostlight is honored to have been named the Best New Theater Company in Chicago by The Chicago Reader readers. Thank you for welcoming us to the Chicago theatre community. We had an amazing first half season and are so excited for the season ahead and cannot wait to share some exciting new and re-imagined productions with you.

Save the Date for another live movie reading!

Your actors were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should...

Your actors were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should...

Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series: Something Has Survived: A Jurassic Park Live Reading.

Join us on 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, at the Celtic Crown (2356 W Cullom Ave, Chicago, IL 60618) in Lincoln Square, for all the dinosaurs we can jam into the backroom of a bar.

Jurassic Park (for those who have been fossilized in amber for the last 24 years) is a 1993 science-fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg based on the book of the same name by Michael Crichton about an industrialist and his bio-engineering company that created a theme park island called Jurassic Park populated with cloned dinosaurs. Unsurprisingly this doesn't go as smoothly as planned, dinosaurs being dinosaurs and all. People die, dinosaurs die, many sequels were spawned.

Join our motley cast of actors as they try to recreate a chase scene with a T-Rex and kitchen full of velociraptors. Grab a beer. Try not to get eaten.

There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season.

Help make Ghostlight one of the Best of 2017

Ghostlight is thrilled to be a finalist in The Chicago Reader's Best of 2017, as Best New Theatre Company. We have some stiff competition because there is so much great theatre in Chicago, but we hope you'll help vote us into the top spot.

Cast your vote here!

And make sure while you're on the site, that you vote in the numerous other categories from Best Neighborhood to Best Magician and everything in between (though there is no requirement to complete your ballot).

You have until noon on Monday, June 12, 2017, to cast your vote. Winners will be announced with The Reader issue of June 22, 2017 — online and in print.

June is for milkshakes, Dream Bars and supporting theatre

Time for another tasty, tasty fundraiser.

Join us on Thursday, June 8, 2017, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Lincoln Square Potbelly (4709 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625) for a delicious fundraiser to support our first full season of programming. (Look for an announcement coming soon!)

Potbelly will donate 25 percent of net sales during that time to Ghostlight. You don't need any special paperwork or flyers or code words or secret handshakes, just come in, order and eat.

Ensemble members will be on hand, as well. So come say hello and let's break bread — or better yet a Dream Bar — together. 

Who's Who in Six Authors in Search of a Character

We asked six playwrights to write 10-minute plays around the "missing" character in The Mountain Giants, Luigi Pirandello's final, unfinished play, for a one-night festival of new works.

The Mountain Giants tells the story of Cotrone the magician and his ragged group of outcasts who are visited in their crumbling villa by a touring theatre troupe. The thespians have spent their lives and fortunes performing a single play, "The Fable of the Changed Son," which has been universally reviled by audiences. On this night, however, the villa sees the boundaries between dream and reality collapse, along with those between characters and actors.

Pirandello died before he finished the play and introduced the titular characters, so our playwrights have gone in search of these giants themselves. Come see what they found.

THE PLAYS:

  • Playoffs by Jeff Bouthiette, directed by Holly Robison. Starring: Chase Neurge, Sarah-Lucy Hill, Laura Stratford, Amee Binder and Jessye Mueller.
  • Away Game by Spenser Davis, directed by John Morrison. Starring: Julie Peterson, Jean E. Burr, Brian Rohde, Jennifer Betancourt and Dan Krall.
  • Rock Show by Rory Jobst, directed by Lesley Fisher Chapman. Starring: CJ Chapman and Song Marshall.
  • Forgetting by Jillian Leff, directed by Breahan Pautsch. Starring: Ryan David Heywood and Taylor Raye.
  • Act IV by Francesca Peppiatt, directed by Chad Wise. Starring: Zoe Sjogerman, Miona Lee, Terri Lynne Hudson, Chuck Quinn IV, Josh Razavi, John Rohr, Kirk Jackson, Paul Czajkowski, Javier Carmona and Jean E. Burr.
  • A Little Villa Where We Could All Live by Sean Margaret Wagner, directed by Mike Danovich. Starring: Raymond Cleveland, Jessica Wise and Kim Egan.

The evening will begin with a short, abridged version of the first three acts of The Mountain Giants featuring the same cast as Act IV, directed by Maria Burnham.

The show is curated by Ghostlight Ensemble Member Miona Lee and is hosted by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura - Chicago.

Six Authors in Search of a Character takes place at 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, at the Instituto Cervantes Theatre (31 W. Ohio Street, Chicago, IL 60654). Instituto Cervantes has wheelchair-accessible entrances, elevators and restrooms. Tickets are $15 and are available through Brown Paper Tickets

Friday's start time delayed for 'Six Characters'

The start time of Friday's performance of Six Characters in Search of an Author has been pushed to 8 p.m.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. The run time is an hour and a half with two short intermissions.

The remaining two performances will start at their regularly scheduled times: 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 7.

Any questions, please call us at (773) 377-5342, or email us at info@ghostlightensemble.com.