Ghostlight

Donate to children, earn a reward!

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Did you know we’ve put together some very special gifts for the donors to our The Selfish Giant fundraiser? From growing your own garden to headshots and more.

Read all about the show here and then go donate here.

By donating you help keep our ticket prices affordable for all families in Chicago.

Levels include:

$25 GARDEN LEVEL: Start your own urban garden with a Grow Your Own Garden Kit and receive a ticket to the show, as well as thanks in our program.

$50 OGRE LEVEL: Join cast members and the director of The Selfish Giant after a performance for apple pie and milk and to learn more about physical storytelling. Bring your kids (or you friends’ kids) so they can learn how to turn everyday objects into props to create their own plays at home. Plus: A ticket to the show, as well thanks in the program

$75 NORTH WIND LEVEL: Get a headshot session with our company photographer who will offer you one look (a.k.a. outfit, but a variety of expressions within that one outfit) and guarantee a photo you’re happy with, or you’ll get a makeup session. You get all the photos from the session on a disc to use as you wish without watermarks. This offer is regardless of whether you’re an actor looking for fresh headshots, one of our business friends looking to spruce up your LinkedIn page or an animal lover looking for a professional photo of your pupper (did we mention, this wasn’t limited to humans!) Plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant, as well as thanks in the program

$100 or more GIANT LEVEL: A Nightlight Gift bag, featuring your choice of a Nightlight T-shirt or tote bag, among other items, plus two tickets to The Selfish Giant as well as thanks in the program.

Meet the cast of The Selfish Giant

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Up next for Ghostlight is The Selfish Giant, part of our Nightlight young audiences series.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant is a story that illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never too late for redemption and for love.

We're excited to announce the cast for this ensemble production: Jean E. Burr, Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Karissa Kosman, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Kali Skatchke, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky.

The show is directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee.

This production will intrigue children and parents alike, not just with its story, but with its method of storytelling. The adaptation uses a chorus of actors to embody human characters and mythical beasts, while building the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies. This physical theater piece relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story.

The show runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613. Tickets will be on sale soon.

Be a Generous Giant for The Selfish Giant, a show for young audiences

Every theatrical production involves a team of artist on the stage and behind the scenes to bring the stories you're seeing to life. Most of these people perform, design and build without ever being paid for their efforts.

At Ghostlight, we strive to provide everyone with an stipend to help offset the costs of traveling to rehearsal and performances or running all over town to gather materials for costume, set and properties construction. That's not always an easy task when trying to provide affordable family-friendly entertainment with rental rates in Chicago at all-time highs.

We hope you'll help up reach our goal by supporting theater for young audiences.

Find out more about The Selfish Giant and our campaign here.  

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.

Auditions Announced for 'The Selfish Giant'

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Ghostlight Ensemble announces auditions for our summer show The Selfish Giant, written by Maria Burnham, directed by Maria Burnham and Miona Lee and based on Oscar Wilde’s short story of the same name.

The Selfish Giant is part of our Nightlight young audiences series and illustrates the perils of isolation and the negative consequences of selfishness, but it also teaches us that it is never to late for redemption and for love.

Character 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. Additionally, actors with strong movement backgrounds are encouraged to audition. This production will use a chorus of actors to embody not just the human characters in the story, but the mythical ones, as well as inanimate objects. This is NOT a dance piece. It is physical theater that relies almost completely on the ensemble of actors telling the story with their bodies and voices.

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

Performance Dates:
Saturdays at 1 p.m. & Sundays at 11 a.m., June 7 to June 30 at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613.

Auditions:
6-11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13

***Please indicate your availability during this window in your email.***

Callbacks:
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16

You MUST be available for callbacks. If you are not available for callbacks, do not submit to this audition. However, you do not need to be available for this entire time.

Auditions and call backs will be held at Otherworld Theatre.

Rehearsals will be scheduled around cast availability taking place 3 to 4 times a week during weeknights and weekends. However, as this is an ensemble production utilizing the entire chorus to tell the story, all actors will be called for all rehearsals. If you have extremely limited availability during April and May, we kindly ask that you do not submit.

To submit:
Send your headshot and resume to Jean at casting@ghostlightensemble.com.

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.

Happy New Year!

We've got lots of fun things planned for 2019, including the next installment of our Nightlight series for young audience, more live movie readings, plus Season 3 announcements.

We'll keep you up-to-date with all our happenings here in the news section of our website, but you can also follow our social media (see bottom of this web page for direct links to all).

We've loved getting to know all of you over the past two and half years and can't wait for you to see what's next for Ghostlight. We've revised our mission statement to better reflect who we are and what you can expect from us. We'll hope you join us for the next leg of this exciting journey.

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!

Tipsy Time: The Holidays are here!

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Tickets are on sale for our late night Holiday Cabernet set for Friday, December 14 at My Buddy's.

Enjoy an evening of holiday classics (or not-so-classics) by favorite G.E.T. (that's Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre) performers, emerging artists and surprise guests in a cabaret-style setting hosted by everyone's favorite foul-mouthed Ghost of Christmas Spirits Past, Present and Future, Miz Caitlin Jackson.

The evening includes a wide variety of acts ranging from musical to clown to more traditional theater. And it wouldn't be the Holiday Cabernet without a good dose of holiday cheer in a glass. So get into the holiday spirits and join us for a late night of song, theatre, good cheer and revelry.

G.E.T. yule holiday fun on!

Update: Stage Manager needed for Picasso at the Lapin Agile for Tech & Performance only

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Ghostlight Ensemble seeks a Stage Manager for the run of its production of Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. The absurdist comedy imagines a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter sets the art world afire with cubism.

In addition to the usual duties, the stage manager will be required to act as light/sound board operator for performances.

This position is only needed to fill tech week and performances, not rehearsals. The performance stage manager will begin attending rehearsals no later than October 12 or 13, taking over from the current stage manager, who will meet with the candidate and provide updated cues and notes at a paper tech, which will be scheduled according to availability.

Schedule Details
Tech week is October 15-18, evenings only. Load-in is scheduled for Sunday, October 14.

Performances run October 19 through November 4, 2018, on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. with one industry performance at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 22. All performances are at Otherworld Theatre in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago.

Stipend
A small stipend will be available for this position.

More information about the production is available on the project page.

To Apply: 

Please send your resume and a statement of interest to production manager Chad Wise at chad@ghostlightensemble.com.

Up Next: Oh My Godddddd!!: A Troll 2 Live Reading

Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series: Oh My Godddddd!!: A Troll 2 Live Reading.

Join us at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, at My Buddy's (4416 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60640) to kick your season of Halloween celebrations off to a frightful start — not because the movie is scary, just scary bad.

Troll 2 is a 1990 horror film that has nothing to do with trolls or the movie to which its title claims to be a sequel. The plot concerns a family pursued by vegetarian goblins who seek to transform them into plants so that they can eat them. It is widely considered to be the worst film ever made.

The reading is directed by Christopher Paul Mueller.

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

Auditions announced for Picasso At The Lapin Agile

Ghostlight Ensemble announces auditions for our fall show Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin, directed by Holly Robison.

The play imagines a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter sets the art world afire with cubism.

 

Characters Descriptions:
We are seeking a strong, ethnically diverse cast of all genders. We are casting for all roles, with ages ranging from early 20s to early 70s.

Please see character breakdown below.  Some roles will be double cast. Please note: For the characters of Sagot and A Visitor, male-identifying, female-identifying and gender non-conforming actors will be considered. 

  • Freddy: owner and bartender of Lapin Agile
  • Gaston: an older man
  • Germaine: waitress at Lapin Agile
  • Albert Einstein
  • Suzanne: young woman who has fling with Picasso
  • Sagot: Picasso’s art dealer
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Charles Dabernow Schmendiman: a young man with some interesting ideas
  • The Countess: woman involved with Einstein
  • A female admirer of Schmendiman
  • A Visitor: mysterious man bearing a strong resemblance to Elvis

Material To Prepare:
Please submit your headshot and resume and if selected we will be in touch with sides and an audition appointment.

Time Commitment
Rehearsals will likely begin the week of September 10, with three to four rehearsals a week on weekday evenings or weekend days. Tech is scheduled for October 15-18 in the evening. 

Performance Dates:
Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees, October 19 through November 4, 2018
With one industry evening performance on Monday, October 22, 2018
at Otherworld Theatre, 3914 N. Clark Street in Chicago.

Auditions:
6:30-9:30 p.m. Monday, July 23
6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24

You must be available for callbacks on Thursday, July 26, which will be held 6:30-9:30 p.m.

There is no pay for this production.

For consideration, please send your headshot and resume to Jean at casting@ghostlightensemble.com.

Steve Martin, Oscar Wilde Part Of Ghostlight Ensemble’s Second Season

Ghostlight Ensemble will tackle the age-old debate of which is more valuable to society: art or science, and will probe the perils of building a wall to keep out unwanted children during its 2018-2019 Season.

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This fall, Artistic Director Holly Robison directs Steve Martin’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile – an absurdist comedy that imagines a meeting between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, just before the renowned scientist transformed physics with his theory of relativity and the celebrated painter sets the art world afire with cubism.

 Ghostlight’s production will explore the struggles and similarities between science and art, but also between genius and fame, big ideas and mere notions and optimism of the new and skepticism of the familiar.

“The play imagines the absurd and mundane in the lives of two men who really did go on to impact the world and alter history,” Robison said. “With Picasso, we are asked to consider the men as much as the myth, to see their flaws, silliness, insecurities, hopes and dreams, as much as their towering legacies. The mythic men are humanized. We can see ourselves in them and understand their desires.

“Even if we are not all geniuses, we all to some degree have the same flicker of desire to create, to inspire, to change the world and leave something behind.”

Picasso at the Lapin Agile runs October 19, 2018, through November 4, 2018, at the Otherworld Theatre’s new home at 3914 N. Clark Street in Chicago. The show will have performances on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon matinees, with an industry night performance on Monday, October 22.

The company will continue its Nightlight young audiences series next summer with a new adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s children’s story The Selfish Giant, written by Ensemble Member Maria Burnham.

The Selfish Giant is a tale of a giant who owns a beautiful garden, in which the village children love to play. The giant has been away for 12 years and upon returning is outraged to see the children enjoying themselves on his land. He builds a wall to keep them out and puts up a notice that reads: “TRESPASSERS WILL BE PROSECUTED.” But without the children, the garden falls into perpetual winter and the Selfish Giant finds himself isolated and all alone. Despite this bleak beginning, the story ultimately has a happy ending.

Nightlight is Ghostlight’s summer young audiences series with original, adapted and forgotten plays geared toward children and the adults who love them. Ghostlight believes theatre can be a beacon for children, letting them know they aren’t alone in the world, giving them a sense of security and revealing the truth that in stories they can be anything they want to be. You’re never too young – or too old – for a nightlight.

In its second full season, the company will also host a holiday cabaret this December and continue its popular Live Movie Reading Series.

Next up in the Live Movie Reading Series batting order is: You're Killing Me, Smalls: A Live Reading of The Sandlot. The reading, celebrating the 25th anniversary of this coming-of-age story set during the summer of 1962, takes place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 16, at My Buddy's (4416 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640) and is directed by Carolyn Minor.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 5)

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We've been asking our young audience members at The Princess Without Pots to come with some alternate poster art for the show, which will be featured here and on social media.

Today's design is by Elena, 8, of Chicago.

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina. Learn more on the show page.

If your budding artist has a design for us, remember you can always scan it in and email it to us at maria(at)ghostlightensemble.com.

The King calls on his tiniest subjects to show up in style

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Norman J. Burt has an announcement for all the tiniest members of the Land of Contentment, where he reigns as King on the weekends:

"IF YOU DRESS IN YOU BEST ROYAL OUTFIT, OUR ROYAL COURT WILL TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOU AS THE RULER OF THE LAND OF CONTENTMENT. SO BRING YOUR CROWNS, YOUR SHIELDS, YOUR HELMETS AND ARMOR, YOU ARE WELCOME!"

Burt will put on his duct tape crown only two more times, this Saturday and Sunday, as the show he is acting in – Ghostlight Ensemble's The Princess Without Pots – comes to a close. But he wants to make sure they go out with a bang…or maybe a flourish of trumpets would be more appropriate.

Read more about Norm and his work on The Princess Without Pots in the Lakeview Patch.

Actress Sydney Ray brings empathy, kindness and her own brand of queenly spunk to role

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Every weekend Sydney Ray transforms herself from an average Chicago resident into the Queen of the Land of Contentment and then watches as the eyes of the children around her light up at getting to meet royalty. To the Uptown actress it's pure joy.

"I love performing shows for young audiences," she says. "I love the honesty that children bring to an audience."

Read more about Sydney and her work on The Princess Without Pots in the North Center Patch.

Check us out in Chicago Parents magazine

The latest edition of Chicago Parents magazine features an article on our young audiences series, Nightlight, and this series' inaugural production, The Princes Without Pots, which opens Saturday.

Pick up the magazine today and then get your tickets for this world-premiere production!

Ghostlight celebrates Girl Power and the power of Spanish pastries in its latest production

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Ghostlight Ensemble will launch its young audience series, Nightlight, in June with the world-premiere production of The Princess Without Pots, a new tale of a warrior princess and her parents’ frustrating quest to compel her into a storybook romance.

“This is a play that celebrates just that, the wonderful capacity that children have for make-believe and play that we lose as we get older,” said Maria Burnham, the playwright and director. “With The Princess Without Pots, and with Nightlight in general, we hope to encourage future generations to keep a little bit of that with them as they grow.”

The Princess Without Pots is an empowering fairy tale about the importance of never underestimating your opponent or the power of a delicious baked good. In it, Princess Cristina’s parents have decided it’s time for their daughter to marry, so all the princes from all the lands come hoping to marry her. But, to win this princess’s heart, a prince first needs to win a battle against the fiercest warrior the age had ever seen – Princess Cristina.

“We hope we’ve built a world that encourages children of all genders to choose the path best suited to them without any of the limitations society wants to place on them,” Burnham said. “We wanted to create a world in which fighting like a girl is something everyone aspires to do.

“But we also wanted to create a production that is just a lot of fun to watch – one that inspires kids to go home and play Princess Without Pots.”

The Princess Without Pots stars: Brian Barber (Prince Brax), Norman J. Burt (The King), Jessica Casillas (Carl the Hapless Knight, Prince Harry of Strathbane, Camila the Squire, Montage Princes) Pearl Paramadilok (Princess “Sweet Pea” Cristina), Isa Ramos (Prince Miguel), Sydney Ray (The Queen), Josh Razavi (King Brawn, Prince Vlek of Ice Moutain, Phil the Long-Suffering Squire, Montage Princes), Kayla White (Advisors 1-3) and Emilio Williams as the voice of the narrator. Understudies include Sean Hendrickson (Prince Brax), Jessica Casillas (Princess “Sweet Pea” Cristina) and Jean E. Burr (Ensemble roles).

The production team is: Maria Burnham (Playwright, Director), Jean E. Burr (Assistant Director), Carrie Campana (Costume Designer), Jessie Cole (Stage Manager), Dave Gonzales (Fight Designer), Carolyn Minor (Production Manager, Set Painter) and Chad Wise (Props Designer). The poster design for The Princess Without Pots is by Addison Wise, age 8, of Aurora, IL.

 Tickets are now available for The Princess Without Pots, which runs on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. from June 9 to July 1 at Laugh Out Loud Theater in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago (3851 N. Lincoln Ave.) Tickets are: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under or $25 family of four.

The cast will also be performing an abridged version of the show at the North Center Ribfest at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 9 in the Kids Square. A complete scheduled of Kids Square activities and entertainment can be found on the Ribfest website at ribfest-chicago.com.