Nightlight

Ghostlight seeking directors for short play festival

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Ghostlight Ensemble is seeking directors for its Make/Believe festival set for February 22 and 23 in the NorthCenter neighborhood of Chicago.

The short play festival geared toward young audiences is part of our Nightlight program and will feature scripts by playwrights from around the country.

Interested directors should submit a resume and a statement of interest with any additional relevant experience to Maria Burnham at maria@ghostlightensemble.com. Please use the following format in the email’s subject line: Nightlight Festival - [director’s name]

The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2019.

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.

Final two performances of The Selfish Giant begin Saturday

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The final two performance of our all ages show, The Selfish Giant, are Saturday, July 29 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, July 30 at 11 a.m. Join us for this wildly inventive show that has been captivating audience members from babies to grandparents.

Come make some paper plate gardens with us, learn why walls are a bad idea and welcome children with open arms. There are many good lessons to be learned from Oscar Wilde.

You can get your tickets in advance here or at the door.

Introduce your children to the world of The Selfish Giant

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If you're looking for live entertainment that's appropriate for the entire family, The Selfish Giant, which opens this weekend, is a tale for all ages — and one of the Hot Shows to see in June.

Weaving movement and words into a highly physical form of storytelling, our intimate production tells the tale of an angry giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land, but discovers the perils of isolation and the negative  consequences of selfishness.

Curious about our physical story-making process? Watch this video to learn more.  

The show's weekend runs are perfect for families looking for live, daytime entertainment. The Selfish Giant runs June 8-30 on Saturdays at 1 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. at Otherworld Theatre in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago (3914 N. Clark St., 60613). 

Tickets are on sale now: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, or $25 family of four.

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, Sarah-Lucy Hill, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, 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.

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.

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

Pablo Picasso, 1908

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.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 4)

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 Sterling Schingoethe, 8, of Hazel Crest.

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.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 3)

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After a few days off, we're back with more alternate poster designs by our young audience members at "The Princess Without Pots." 

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.

Today's design is by Beatriz, age 7 (well, 7 and a quarter as she pointed out several times), of Chicago.

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.

For Hendrickson engaging young minds, refuting tradition is all in a day's work

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What actor Sean Hendrickson relishes most about his current production, Ghostlight Ensemble's The Princess Without Pots, is the opportunity to share stories and ideas with children.

"Many of us didn't have opportunities like this growing up," he said, "So seeing them get excited and engaged with the show is wonderful."

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

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 2)

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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 Sydney Morkunas , age 5, 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.

Ramos kicks imagination into overdrive for latest role

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For Lakeview actress Isa Ramos, the best part about being in a show geared toward young audiences is having the freedom to think like a kid.

"I love that when performing for children, I have to kick my imagination into overdrive," Ramos said. "Childhood is the best stage of life because imagination rules our reality, and fills us with endless possibility and potential. Being an adult performing for children is the second best stage of life, because the kids challenge me to let my imagination roam big and free, the way it was intended to be."

Read more about Isa and her work on The Princess Without Pots in the Lakeview Patch.

Alternate poster design for The Princess Without Pots (Day 1)

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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. Over the next few days we'll be featuring some of them here and on social media.

Today's design is by first grader Amelia Hood, age 7, 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@ghostlightensemble.com.

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.

Introducing the cast of The Princess Without Pots

Pearl Paramadilok as Princess Sweet Pea (left) and Brian Barber as Brax (right) in rehearsals for  The Princess Without Pots .

Pearl Paramadilok as Princess Sweet Pea (left) and Brian Barber as Brax (right) in rehearsals for The Princess Without Pots.

In June, we're bringing young audiences a new tale of a fighting princess and her parents' frustrating quest for a storybook romance in The Princess Without Pots.

Saturdays and Sundays in June this world-premiere production will take place at Laugh Out Loud Theater in the North Center of Chicago (3851 N. Lincoln Ave.)

The play is written and directed by Ensemble Member Maria Burnham and stars Pearl Paramadilok as Princess Sweet Pea and Brian Barber and Isa Ramos as her would-be suitors Brax and Miguel with Norman J. Burt, Jessica Casillas, Sydney Ray, Josh Razavi, Kayla White and understudy Sean Hendrickson.

The production team includes: Jean E. Burr (Assistant Director), Carrie Campana (Costume Designer), Dave Gonzales (Fight Designer), Carolyn Minor (Production Manager) and Chad Wise (Props Designer).

Tickets are $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under or $25 family of four and are on sale now.