Ensemble

Cast announced for The Thirteenth Chair

  Ghostlight presents a staged reading of The Thirteenth Chair

Ghostlight Ensemble announced the cast of its first endeavor of the 2019-2020 Season, a staged reading of The Thirteenth Chair, by Bayard Veiller.

The play, which is directed by Ensemble Member Chad Wise, stars: Emma Baker (Miss Eastwood), Noah Berman (Wales/Dunn), Justin Broom (Trent), Jean E. Burr (Miss Erskine), Norman J. Burt (Mr. Crosby), Elijah Cox (Will Crosby), Sean Harklerode (Tim Donohue), Casey Kramer (Rosalie), Miona Lee (Miss Standish), Allison McCorkle (Mrs. Crosby), Sean Peck-Collier (Mason), Jonathan Saucedo (Standish), Alina Taber (Helen O'Neill) and Michelle Ziccarelli (Mrs. Trent).

During a séance at the home of the wealthy Crosby family, a man is murdered. All the doors and windows are locked and the murder weapon can’t be found. How will the real murderer be uncovered?

The Thirteenth Chair, which is presented as a whodunit, has strains of deeper social issues that still resonate today. By setting up Rosalie, the Irish immigrant medium, as a foil to the police Inspector Donohue, Veiller touches on issues of sexism, classism, prejudices and the way police dismiss immigrant populations - even ones they may be part of.

Ghostlight presents a staged reading of the original 1916 play over three days.


Ghostlight announces change in artistic leadership

Maria Burnham

Maria Burnham

Miona Lee

Miona Lee

Ghostlight announced today that Ensemble members Miona Lee and Maria Burnham have taken over as co-artistic directors from Holly Robison, who has served as an artistic director since the company was founded in 2016. Robison remains with the Ensemble as a producing director.  

Both Burnham and Lee are founding members of the company and veterans of the Chicago theatre scene. Lee previously served as Literary Manager for the company and Burnham as the Marketing and Communications Director. The pair most recently co-directed Ghostlight’s summer show for young audiences, The Selfish Giant.

Full bios for both women can be found in the About section on the Ghostlight website.

Before stepping down, Robison helped guide the new season selection, which focuses on strong, female characters. 

More about the announcement and the new Ghostlight season can be found here.

Ghostlight Ensemble puts women front and center in its third season

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Ghostlight Ensemble announced its Season 3 lineup, including a staged reading of a little-produced World War I-era play, a play festival with new works for young audiences and a Shakespearean comedy that takes place in a living room – quite literally.

The company also announced a change in leadership with Ensemble members Miona Lee and Maria Burnham taking over as co-artistic directors from Holly Robison, who has served as an artistic director since the company was founded in 2016. Robison remains with the Ensemble as a producing director.  

Both Burnham and Lee are founding members of the company and veterans of the Chicago theatre scene. Lee previously served as Literary Manager for the company and Burnham as the Marketing and Communications Director. The pair most recently co-directed Ghostlight’s summer show for young audiences, The Selfish Giant.

“Holly has been an incredible Artistic Director for Ghostlight’s initial seasons. Making a mark in a city full of so many magnificent theater companies is no small feat and she’s done a fantastic job guiding us,” Lee said. “I hope to continue pushing us in the direction of creating thought-provoking works.”

“I think our leadership will be a natural progression from the foundation Holly laid for this company,” added Burnham. “We will continue to push for works that challenge the status quo, that encourage new voices, and new stories and that shine light in places where darkness has allowed ignorance to grow. And we will also continue to tell great stories in unique ways.”

Full bios for both women can be found here.

Before stepping down, Robison helped guide the new season selection, which focuses on strong, female characters. 

“I am so honored to have been a Founding Member and Artistic Director for Ghostlight Ensemble,” Robison said. “It has truly been a wonderful, challenging, and rewarding few years. I’m so proud of the work Ghostlight has produced, and even more excited about the work ahead, especially in our coming season, which we like to call our year of Strong Female Leads. 

“While I look forward to staying on as Producing Director and directing our immersive spring production of Much Ado About Nothing, I’m also so thrilled to be handing the reins over to Maria Burnham and Miona Lee as Co-Artistic Directors. In the season of Strong Female Leads, what could be more fitting than these two fierce females leading our company? They are both great artists and great leaders, and I can’t wait to see where they take Ghostlight in the coming years. Thanks to all the Ghostlight Company Members, Artistic Associates, collaborators, and supporters for a great few years as Artistic Director!”

Ghostlight will begin its third season in October with a staged reading of the Bayard Veiller play, The Thirteenth Chair, a turn-of-the-century thriller set during a séance. The reading will be directed by Ghostlight Managing Director Chad Wise.  

The Thirteenth Chair, written in 1916, takes place at the home of the wealthy Crosby family. But the phony séance turns out to be the scene of a very real murder. All the doors and windows are locked and the murder weapon can’t be found. How will the real murderer be uncovered?

The reading takes place October 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and October 20 at 2:30 p.m. at Vagabond School of the Arts (4001 N. Ravenswood Ave, Suite 503B, Chicago).    

In February, the company will continue its Nightlight young audiences series with a curated festival of short plays by playwrights from around the country. The plays, geared towards children 12 and under, will all have one unifying feature – strong female characters, continuing the theme of the season. Plays are currently being solicited and script selection will be made in early November. Playwrights interested in submitting to the festival can find more details on the Ghostlight website.

Ghostlight will round out the season in the spring of 2020 with Shakespeare’s beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. Audiences will be invited into Leonato’s Albany Park home to witness firsthand the merry war between Benedick and Beatrice, as well as the less merry machinations of Don John, as this immersive production brings guests, not to a theater, but to a condo on Chicago’s westside. The production will be directed by Holly Robison.

“This season is all about empowerment – from the astute Madame Rosalie La Grange to the outspoken Beatrice – these ladies are not afraid to take charge of their situations,” Lee said. “Nightlight is inspiring our younger audiences as well, with our festival of short plays chock full of strong female and non-binary characters.”

In addition, the company will once again host the Holiday Cabernet – an evening of holiday classics (or not-so-classics) by favorite G.E.T. performers, emerging artists and surprise guests in a cabaret-style setting with an M.C. who overindulges in the holiday spirits. The Cabernet takes place at 8 p.m. on December 14 at Vagabond School of the Arts.

Ghostlight also will continue its popular Live Movie Reading Series throughout the year at Carbon Arc Bar & Board, located in the Davis Theater. Next up in the series is: You and Me and Five Bucks: A Live Reading of Reality Bites. The reading, celebrating the 25th anniversary of this quintessential Gen X film, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, August 28, at Carbon Arc (4614 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago).

Find out more about Ghostlight Ensemble and the entire 2019-2020 Season at GhostlightEnsemble.com.

Ghostlight Ensemble is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit theatre whose mission it is to ask questions that challenge the status quo through timeless stories, immersive environments and unconventional staging.

Seeking script submission for a children's play festival

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Ghostlight Ensemble is seeking short scripts (a maximum of 15 minutes) with strong female characters that are geared toward young audiences (under 12). Priority will be placed on scripts that are ethnically and culturally diverse, that do not require complicated sets or costumes and that fit our mission. This is open to playwrights in any geographic area. NO FEE.

Selected plays will be produced as part of a festival of theatre for children under our Nightlight banner in early February.

Electronic submissions only, please. Submit cover letter with full contact information, short bio, brief synopsis of script including development and production history (if applicable) and full script to Maria Burnham at scripts@ghostlightensemble.com. Please use the following format in the email’s subject line: Nightlight Script Submission: [play name] - [playwright name]

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2019.

Support Ghostlight in March by grabbing dinner at Panera!

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On Thursday, March 21, make plans for dinner with us at Panera at 501 S. State St. in Chicago.

Bring in a copy of this flyer or show an electronic version of it anytime between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, and Ghostlight will receive 20 percent of sales from your order.

You can dine in, get it to go or have it delivered. If you’re ordering online for rapid pick-up or delivery, make sure to enter "PRFUND" as your Promo Code to have a portion of your proceeds donated to Ghostlight.

Can't wait to see you there!

Let's G.E.T. Crafty! with a Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre craft beer fundraiser

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Let's G.E.T. Crafty! is a Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre craft beer fundraiser at My Buddy's. Join us on Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. to sample five craft beers, then have a pint of your favorite -- all for just $10. The money goes to Ghostlight, the beer goes to your belly!

Featuring the following brews:

  • Metropolitan Brewing- Krankshaft Kolsch

  • Temperance Brewery- Gatecrasher IPA

  • Ravinia Brewing- Four Shore Witbier

  • Founder's Brewing- Rubaeus (gluten free)

  • Wiseacre Brewing- Gotta Get Up To Get Down Milk Stout

You can RSVP to My Buddy's via their Facebook page here to reserve your spot, or try your luck at the door. Either way, please mention Ghostlight Ensemble when you do!

Ghostlight welcomes four new associate members

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Actors Caitlin Jackson, Kirk Jackson, Sydney Ray and Emma Jo Schumacher have joined Ghostlight as associate ensemble members. All four have worked extensively with Ghostlight over the past few years.

Caitlin was most recently the host of our Holiday Cabernet and reprised her role as Ginger Spice in Girl Power!: A Spice World Live Reading.

Kirk could also be seen in the Spice World live reading, as well as appearing in Nutcracker Nightmare and The Mountain Giants as part of Ghostlight’s Six Authors in Search of a Character festival.

Sydney appeared as the Queen in last summer’s Nightlight production, The Princess Without Pots, as well as taking part in Must Eat TV 2: A Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes and the Holiday Cabernet.

Emma Jo has appeared in a number of our live readings, including most recently in Must Eat TV 2: A Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes and Oh My Godddddd!!: A Troll 2 Live Reading.

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

Up Next: As If!: A Live Reading of Clueless

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With the cast of Clueless in town for C2E2, what better time to brush off the 1995 rom-com script and give it a unique, Ghostlight Ensemble treatment?!

So dig out your plaid skirts and knee-high socks and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 25 at Carbon Arc Bar & Board (4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625), located in the Davis Theater in North Center.

Clueless is loosely based on the Jane Austen novel Emma and tells the story of a shallow, rich and socially successful girl at the top of her Beverly Hills high school's pecking order who sees herself as a matchmaker. She takes on a "tragically unhip" new girl at school as a pet project, initiating her into the ways of the popular kids. But things backfire on her when the new girl surpasses her in popularity. Hijinks and love debacles ensue.

After the live reading, Carbon Arc will be playing the movie Clueless, so stick around for a side-by-side comparison!

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

Up Next: Spice World Returns!

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This month we bring back our third annual live reading of the Spice World movie. And unlike the ACTUAL Spice Girls, we’ve got more Poshes than we can handle!

Join Ginger (Caitlin Jackson), Scary (Song Marshall), Sporty (Jean E. Burr), Baby (Carrie Campana) and Posh (Emma Palizza) as they gallivant around England (with a short jaunt to Italy) in advance of their first live concert to be held at London's Royal Albert Hall . Spice World turned 21 this year (in America…it was first released in England 21 years ago December), so we’re taking this film out to a bar to celebrate!

Grab a gin and tonic (better make that a double) and join us for this live reading (and singing) that takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16, 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, plus an additional donation of any amount for GirlForward, a Chicago-based non-profit with its own brand of Girl Power!

Ghostlight welcomes new associate member

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Actor Christopher Paul Mueller has joined Ghostlight as associate ensemble members. He has worked extensively with Ghostlight over the past two years, including in our inaugural production, Krampus!

Christopher has also been in every one of our live movie readings (except the most recent one, Cup of Ambition: A 9 to 5 Live (Movie) Reading).

A full bios can be found on the About Us: The Ensemble page of our website. 

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.