Live Reading

Up Next: A Live Reading of the original Wicker Man

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Ghostlight Ensemble teams up with Terra Mysterium in October to present special installment of its ongoing live movie reading series with Don’t Keep Him Waiting: A Live Reading of the Original The Wicker Man — just in time for All Hallows' Eve.

Dig out your animal masks or costumes of any sort and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 29 at Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro in North Center.

The Wicker Man is a 1973 British horror film that follows Police Sergeant Neil Howie as he travels to the isolated island of Summerisle in search of a missing girl. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled to find that the inhabitants of the island have abandoned Christianity and now practice a form of Celtic paganism.

The reading will feature live musical performances and is directed by Matthew Ellenwood.

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.

Up Next: A Live Reading of Reality Bites

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Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series with You And Me And Five Bucks: A Live Reading of Reality Bites.

So dig out your best Gen X ennui and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, August 26 at Carbon Arc Bar & Board (4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625), located in the Davis Theater in North Center.

Reality Bites is a 1994 romantic comedy/drama that follows the lives of recently graduation Gen Xers as they navigate the pitfalls of life, love and the search for gainful employment. The plot centers on Lelaina (played by Winona Ryder), an aspiring videographer, who is working on a documentary called Reality Bites about the disenfranchised lives of her friends and roommates.

The live reading is directed by Maria Burnham.

There is a suggested donation of Five Bucks at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season. We’re also raising funds for Blue Sky Bakery & Cafe, a nonprofit cafe in North Center that provides transitional job skills to at-risk youth and also provides an excellent place to grab a cup of coffee and a little bit of conversation.

Up Next: A Live Reading of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series with Don’t Call Me Junior: A Live Reading of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

So dust off that brown leather fedora, get that whip cracking and join us at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at Carbon Arc Bar & Board (4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625), located in the Davis Theater in North Center, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the movie’s release.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 American action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and is the third installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. It was release in the United States on May 24, 1989. In Last Crusade, the intrepid explorer Indiana Jones sets out to rescue his father, a medievalist who has vanished while searching for the Holy Grail. Following clues in the old man's notebook, Indy arrives in Venice, where he enlists the help of a beautiful academic, but they are not the only ones who are on the trail, and some sinister old enemies soon come out of the woodwork.

The live reading is directed by Chad Wise.

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

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!

Up Next: Must Eat TV: A(nother) Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes

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Ghostlight Ensemble brings back the popular Thanksgiving installment of its ongoing live movie reading series, Must Eat TV 2: A Live Reading of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Episodes.

Thanksgiving is all about stuffing yourself silly with family and friends; screaming matches over politics with your great uncle Carl; giving thanks; and television. So join your Ghostlight family, friends and great uncle Carl for a celebration of everyone's favorite eating holiday.

The lineup features selections from New Girl, How I Met Your Mother and Cheers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at My Buddy’s.

The live reading is directed by Miona Lee.

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.

Find out more on the show page!

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.

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.

Pablo Picasso, 1908

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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.

Thanks to everyone who attended Make A Move & The Bunny Gets It

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We had a full house for our live reading of Con Air last night at Carbon Arc Bar & Board. Thank you to everyone who attended and who donated to Chicago Veterans.

If you weren't able to attend, but want to donate to this local charity, which helps veterans readjust to civilian life (OR if you did attend and want to give more money to the cause), you can donate through the organizations website at ChicagoVeterans.org.

Our next Live Reading will be in July (exact date TBA) and we'll bringing the cult hit film The Sandlot to life in celebration of the 25th anniversary of its release.

Up Next: Make A Move & The Bunny Gets It: A Con Air Live Reading

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Ghostlight Ensemble presents the next installment of its ongoing live movie reading series: Make A Move & The Bunny Gets It: A Con Air Live Reading.

Join us at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 7, at Carbon Arc Bar & Board (4614 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625), located in the Davis Theater in North Center.

Con Air is the 1997 action film starring Nicolas Cage as former war hero Cameron Poe. Poe is sentenced to eight years in prison when he accidentally kills a man in a barroom brawl. When his release comes through, he's eager to see the daughter he's never met, but he finds himself aboard a flight transporting ten of the most dangerous men in the American penal system. When the criminals hijack the plane, Poe has to find a way to get home, keep himself alive, look after his cellmate Baby-O — who will die without proper medicine  — and try to help the cops on the ground.

There is a suggested donation of $5 at the door, which will help Ghostlight fund its upcoming season, AND an additional donation for Chicago Veterans, a non-profit that helps service members and their families in the Chicagoland area transitioning back to civilian life.

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. 

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

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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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.