Performance

In A World Where Trees Talk And Giants Walk, Why Not A Set That Lives And Breathes?

In Ghostlight Ensemble’s latest production, actors throw their whole selves – literally – into telling the story of a giant who brings on a perpetual winter in an effort to keep his land to himself. The Selfish Giant, which opens June 8, is a physical theatre reimagining of the Oscar Wilde short story of the same name.

Weaving movement and words into a highly physical form of storytelling, this 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.

“The themes of this story, originally published in 1888, resonate with modern audiences, tackling issues that we are still very much grappling with,” said Maria Burnham, the playwright and a co-director of the production. “The story is almost too relevant.”

This production removes the religious overtones of Wilde’s original short story and replaces it with a morality tale that focuses on character redemption and the power of love. It also moves the story off the page by relying solely on the actors who are telling it, illustrating to the audience another theme of the story – how much better we can be when we all work together.

The adaptation uses a chorus to embody human characters and mythical beasts. The actors build the world of trees, birds, benches and beasts with their bodies.

“Physical theatre is really much more about, not a singular person, but what a group can provide you. What can we build together as opposed to one person standing and saying ‘Hey I’m a giant’ or ‘I’m a tree’,” said Miona Lee, co-director and movement choreographer for the production. “The story itself is very much about inclusiveness and the way we’re building our world as well is really inclusive.”

The Selfish Giant was part of a collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, first published in May 1888. In the story, the selfish giant builds a wall around his beautiful garden to keep children out. By doing so, he creates a perpetual winter in the garden, because no other season wanted to be part of his selfish endeavor. Then one morning, a special child brings spring back, and the giant’s heart melts along with the snow.

The Selfish Giant stars Jean E. Burr as Lydia and Tamsen Glaser, Molly Gloeckner, Sophia Hail, Nate Hall, Song Marshall, Daniela Martinez, Kali Skatchke, Maggie Blair Smith and Zoe Savransky as a chorus of characters.

The show was crafted to appeal to all ages and its 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.

The Selfish Giant is part of Ghostlight’s summer Nightlight series.

Nightlight is Ghostlight’s summer young audience 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.

Tickets on sale for The Selfish Giant

Actors have begun rehearsals for  The Selfish Giant , which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Actors have begun rehearsals for The Selfish Giant, which runs in June at Otherworld Theatre in Lakeview.

Tickets are on sale now for The Selfish Giant, a physical theatre production that will mesmerize audiences of all ages.

This story of a giant who builds a wall to keep children off his land runs during the month of June at Otherworld Theatre and is geared toward all ages.

Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and are $5 for children, $10 for adults or $25 for a family of four.

You can also obtain tickets through our Go Fund Me Campaign. The Garden, Ogre, North Wind and Giant levels all come with tickets to the show, along with a host of other goodies. Learn more Becoming a Generous Giant for Children's Theatre here.

Based on Oscar Wilde's short story of the same name, The Selfish Giant 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.

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 announces acts for its Holiday Cabernet

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The Holiday Cabernet is shaping up to be quite a night of laughing, singing and dancing with acts ranging from clowning to improv to theatre — and just because it’s not weird enough, a live podcast.

Announced acts in our holiday-themed evening of cabaret-style entertainment include: Brad French, Club Asia, Les Enfants Terribles, Carrie Campana, Comedy Dance Chicago, The Holidudes, The Reviewniverse and Ghostlight Ensemble (that’s us!). Learn more about all these artists over on the Holiday Cabernet Facebook page, where we’re featuring a new act each day. And no promise that there won’t spontaneously be other performers who show up. It’s the holidays! Life is a cabernet…or is it cabaret? We’re drunk. Who can remember?!

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The evening will be hosted by Chicago actress and personality Caitlin Jackson, along with her sober sidekick Chad. Expect singing and drinking and the unexpected.

The Holiday Cabernet takes place at 10:30 p.m. on December 14, 2018, in the back room at My Buddy’s (4416 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640). There’s plenty of street parking (though you probably shouldn’t be driving); the Montrose (78) and Clark (22) buses stop a few steps away; if you prefer trains and walking, the Wilson Red Line and Montrose Brown Line stops are a 15 minute walk away; or try ride sharing/cabs — they’ll bring right up to the front door!

Tickets are only $10 and are on sale now!

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!

‘Picasso At The Lapin Agile’ Opens on Friday

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Ghostlight Ensemble will tackle the age-old debate of which is more valuable to society: art or science with its fall production, Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

The absurdist comedy by American humorist Steve Martin 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,” Director Holly 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.”

The show stars: Maggie Antonijevic (The Countess/Female Admirer), Norman J. Burt (Charles Dabernow Schmendiman), Zach Finch (Albert Einstein), Joe Dougherty (A Visitor), Sean Harklerode (Gaston), Miona Lee (Germaine), Tim Lee (Freddy), Kat Moraros (Sagot), Sebastian Summers (Pablo Picasso) and Alejandra Vivanco (Suzanne).

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. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with one industry evening performance at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, October 22, 2018. Tickets are $20 General Admission, $15 Seniors and Students and available in advance through Brown Paper Tickets.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

Find out more about Ghostlight Ensemble and its entire 2018-2019 Season here.

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.

Closing weekend performances of An Ideal Husband are sold out

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We've had numerous calls, emails and messages asking about tickets for this weekend's performances of An Ideal Husband. Unfortunately, we are completely sold out and we are not able to add seats or performances, nor are we able to extend the production another weekend.

We will have a wait list at each performance. There is no late seating at our shows, so if patrons who have purchased tickets in advance do not show up by curtain then we will release those seats to the wait list.

We are flattered by everyone's interest in the show and we wish we were able to accommodate everyone, but unfortunately we cannot.

An Ideal Husband is a hit!

From left: Alex Ireys (Lord Goring) and Richard Engling (Lord Caversham) in  An Ideal Husband .  (Photo by Maria Burnham/Ghostlight Ensemble)

From left: Alex Ireys (Lord Goring) and Richard Engling (Lord Caversham) in An Ideal Husband. (Photo by Maria Burnham/Ghostlight Ensemble)

Rave reviews from audience members and critics alike are piling up for Ghostlight Ensemble's production of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, which has sold out every production (including previews) so far.

Splash Magazine says "it is a delightful show and highly recommended." While the Chicago Reader also recommends this "savvy" production calling it,  "remarkable: a compelling examination of acute moral dilemmas faced by recognizable people with rich inner lives." And Chicago On Stage says of the cast, "the acting is uniformly excellent" and adding this "a first-rate production."

Meanwhile audience members have said, "Perfectly staged in the Berger Park Cultural Center mansion, elegantly costumed, and finely acted, this is a show to see."

It definitely IS a show to see. But you'll need to get your tickets in advance for An Ideal Husband, which runs through April 28, because we've been turning people away at the door. Tickets are available now through Brown Paper Tickets.

Every nightmare comes to an end...doesn't it?

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Thanks to everyone who packed our houses last weekend for Gingerbread Grindhouse!

Only two chances remain to catch Nutcracker Nightmare, plus trailers for Snow Day Bloody Snow Day by Babes With Blades, He'll Raise Her by New Millennium Theatre Co., Krampus!  by Ghostlight Ensemble and various improvised horror by The Stuntmen and Improvised Twilight Zone, all part of Gingerbread Grindhouse!

For those of you returning or attending for the first time, we strongly suggest purchasing tickets in advance, as people were turned away at the door last weekend.

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What is Gingerbread Grindhouse? In a nod to the lurid, violent films popular from the 1930s through 1970s, Gingerbread Grindhouse will feature a series of live “trailers” for grindhouse-style plays yet to be, before continuing on to the feature production, Nutcracker Nightmare – a holiday tale of children, the toys they love and the toys that try to kill everyone they love. It’s the perfect holiday entertainment.

Got extra cash lying around and it's been your dream to be killed on stage? We have one victim slot that remains open for Friday night. Learn more about that and all the tantalizing perks that are part of our end-of-the-year fundraiser here.

Jacobson gives life to children's nightmares in horror-inspired 'Nutcracker'

Victoria Jacobson (right) rehearses for the holiday horror play "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens on Friday, Dec. 8.

Victoria Jacobson (right) rehearses for the holiday horror play "Nutcracker Nightmare," which opens on Friday, Dec. 8.

In Victoria Jacobson’s book, things that slither along the ground are scary. Dolls are not. And yet in her latest role as Zipakna, a worry doll that comes to life and terrorizes the Stahlbaum family in “Nutcracker Nightmare,” she is tasked with making an audience think just that.

“The biggest challenge was trying to find the balance between doll and creepy in a movement sense, Jacobson said. “What I consider to be bump-in-the-night scary are things that slither or move lower to the floor, while a doll would not necessarily be the type of creature to do so. Exploring a spectrum of movements in that sense is something that I worked on the hardest.”

Read more about Jacobson and her work in The Chicago Tribune and the Lakeview Patch.

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.

Save the Date for another live movie reading!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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