The Ensemble


Maria Burnham
Co-Artistic Director

Maria likes hats, which is good because she wears a lot of them. A marketing and communications professional in both her theatre and muggle lives, Maria has also been known to write, direct, act, produce, stage manage, design a prop or two and manage up — a concept she learned in her former life as a journalist. In Chicago, she's worked with such companies as TUTA, Otherworld, Hobo Junction, New Millennium, Strangeloop, Nothing Special Productions, Zero Fox Coalition, Stockyards Theatre Project and Red Theater. She has a degree in creative writing from Louisiana State University where she also minored in theatre. Behind it all is a love of storytelling. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes dark, always subtly dissident, the stories Maria tells shine light in places people rather leave dark.

Email Maria at maria(at)

Jean E Burr Headshot.jpg

Jean E. Burr
Casting Coordinator

Jean moved up to Chicago during the Polar Vortex of 2014 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with degrees in Film Studies and Japanese. Some of her favorite roles include Winifred (Once Upon a Mattress), Sally Brown (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Cassie Hack (Hack/Slash: Strange and Unbalanced), Margalo (Stuart Little: The Musical), Paulina (The Seagull) and Linda (Blood Brothers).

For her Muggle job, Jean works as a receptionist at a law firm where she greets people, answers phones and drinks far too much Lemon La Croix. Jean loves traveling, cooking, running, writing, painting, watching TV, seeing movies, drinking good beer and having fun adventures. Love to her family, friends, Ghostlight Ensemble company members, her cat and Chippo.

Email Jean at jean(at)


Keith Gatchel
Technical Director

Keith comes to us from Rockford, Illinois, by way of Southern Illinois University (with a few stops in Florida). Since 2005, Keith has worked tech at various theatres, including The Goodman, Collaboraction, Teatro Vista, Victory Gardens, Pegasus Players and Blue Man Group. Most recently, he was a stage manager at the Uptown Underground and a company member with Strangeloop Theatre. He was also a writer for Big News at IO and Second City, and contributor to several of Strangeloop's Loopshop productions, as well as Strangeloop's Our Perfect Holiday 2012 with the cast, and just recently, Thinking Caps.

Email Keith at keith(at)


Miona Lee
Co-Artistic Director

Miona is originally from St. Louis, Missouri, and received her BFA in Theatre Performance from Missouri State University. She has worked with Forget Me Not Theatre, The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, Strangeloop Theatre, Geopolis Theater, National Pastime Theater and The Living Canvas.

In addition to acting, she toured the United States with the Glassmen Drum and Bugle Corps and performed with National Avenue and The Pride of Missouri State Winterguards. She is passionate about physical theatre storytelling and is always looking for new ways to bridge the gap between movement and text.

Email Miona at miona(at)


Holly Robison
Producing Director

Holly has been living and working in Chicago for several years, both as a performer and director. Favorite roles include Ellen (In the Wake), Jo (Independence), Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) and Martha (The Children’s Hour). She has directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as several smaller productions. You can also see her exercising her comedy chops as a member of Improvised Jane Austen.

She has studied with Chicago organizations including Remy Bumppo, TUTA Theatre, Victory Gardens, Second City and First Folio Technique with Susan Hart and Jeffrey Carlson. Additionally, she recently completed the program A Practical Approach to Directing at Yale School of Drama. When not acting or directing, she can probably be found reading, watching British costume dramas, eating too much Indian food and/or talking to her cat (don't judge, OK?).

Email Holly at holly(at)

Chad Wise
Managing Director

Chad has wanted to make exciting theatre with these fine folks for several years now, but only if their talents, abilities and energies were managed well. When the opportunity came along to have a direct hand in that, he jumped at the chance. Chad is no stranger to managing a theatre company. He founded New Millennium Theatre Company in 1998 and served as its artistic director for many years, bringing experiences like The Texas Chainsaw Musical, Miyagi! A Karate Kid Musical and Silent Night of the Living Dead to Chicago stages. Along the way he’s worked with the likes of The Public House Theatre and Terra Mysterium as well.

He is excited to contribute his organizational wizardry, his pop culture affinity and his desire to create shows his 9-year-old son wants to see to Ghostlight Ensemble.

Email Chad at chad(at)

Artistic Associates


Norman J. Burt

Norman, being from a military family, had lived in many different cities by the time he was a teenager. However, it was in a small town in South Carolina where he discovered his love for performance. Beginning with speech and debate in high school and transforming itself into theater in college, he was eventually inspired to make the pilgrimage to the mecca of Improvisation during the fall of 2014. He has had the great privilege of performing with such companies as Shakespeare Carolina, OnQ Productions, The Under the Gun Ensemble, Ignition Theater Project, Theater Charlotte and LongWalk Productions.

Norm says that nothing would make him happier than to, one day, perform as Tiny Tim in a production of A Christmas Carol to a completely unaware audience.


Caitlin Jackson

Caitlin is a company member and regular performer with New American Folk Theatre (Hot Pink, Trash, Witches Among Us, Dark of the Moon, Marvelous Land of Oz), Hell in a Handbag (Christmas Dearest, Rudolph, Miracle, Lady X, Bette, LIVE…, Skooby Don’t, Bewildered) and Cowardly Scarecrow (Musical of the Living Dead, Musical Horror Story, You've Got Red On You) and also regularly performs with Black Button Eyes (Evil Dead: The Musical, Coraline, Shockheaded Peter, Nightmares and Nightcaps). She has performed with many Chicago theatre companies, including Refuge Theatre Project (High Fidelity) and Circle Theatre as "Henri" in The View Upstairs and is proud to have been a part of multiple Ghostlight staged readings, cabarets and most notably, thankful to have been given the opportunity to play Garland Greene in Ghostlight's reading of the cinematic masterpiece classic, Con Air.


Kirk Jackson

Kirk is excited to be an associate with Ghostlight Ensemble. He had great fun appearing in their holiday show Nutcracker Nightmare, as well as numerous movie readings including Something Has Survived: A Jurassic Park Live Reading and Girl Power!: A Spice World Live Reading and their Pirandello one act festival, Six Authors in Search of a Character, in The Mountain Giants. Among the companies he has worked with in the recent past are Interrobang Theater Project, Refuge Theatre Project, Underscore Theatre, Hell in a Handbag, Cowardly Scarecrow, Strangeloop Theatre and New American Folk Theatre (of which he is a company member.) He was last seen as Bruce Springsteen and The Most Pathetic Man in the World in the Jeff Award winning High Fidelity: the Musical. He is a graduate of Illinois State University's acting program.


Song Marshall

Song is originally from Los Angeles, California. She has a Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Flagler College. She is an ensemble member with Terra Mysterium, where she performs original works involving mythology, faerie tales and steampunk stories. She has worked with The Other Theater Co. in their debut show Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 as an understudy. Blue Goose Ensemble Theatre’s SWEET SIXTEEN EXTRAVAGANZA!!! as Cadence Bauer. Song has had the pleasure of working with Ghostlight Ensemble a few times. Starting with fulfilling a childhood dream of being a Spice Girl, in their live reading of Spice World the movie. She was Lady Basildon in their production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. She was also Gina the Giantess in Rock Show, and Jennifer in the live reading of WKRP in Cincinnati’s episode Turkey’s Away. She is excited to be part of the Ghostlight family!

When not acting, She also attends various comic conventions in her cosplays of River Song or Martha Jones from Doctor Who. Or she can be found gallivanting in bustles and corsets through various steampunk events throughout Illinois and Wisconsin. She enjoys baking, knitting, bookbinding and soapmaking and learning new crafts. When in doubt go to the library!


Christopher Paul Mueller

Christopher is honored to be a part of Ghostlight Ensemble! Chris has been in such Ghostlight productions as KRAMPUS! and EVERY SINGLE STAGED READING EXCEPT FOR 9 TO 5. In addition to being an ensemble member for Red Theater, Christopher can be seen around town and has performed with Red Tape, Collaboraction, The Scooty and JoJo Show, First Floor Theater, etc. Christopher also is one half of the probably successful podcast, THE REVIEWNIVERSE WITH CHRIS AND STEVE. Check it out wherever you get podcasts! Much love to his friends and family and bun.


Sydney Ray

Sydney is an actor and educator based in Chicago. She’s thrilled and grateful to be part of Ghostlight Ensemble, where she appeared as the Queen in 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. Other theatre credits include: The Wild Party, Music for Theatre Chicago (Kate); Joy to the Otherworld, Otherworld Theatre Company Paragon Play Festival (Mom); Spoon River Anthology, E.D.G.E. Theatre (Mrs. Williams, Soloist). She has worked with The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company of Chicago, Broken Nose Theatre Company, Compass Creative Dramatics, Shakes, Not Stirred and is an Artistic Associate with 20% Theatre Company of Chicago. You can find her on YouTube in POST, a Whiskey Delta Films webseries, as the alpha-female-cannibal, Cora. A HUGE Thank You to her friends and family for their constant love and support.


Emma Jo Schumacher

Emma Jo (EJ) is originally from a tiny little town outside of Springfield, IL. She came to Chicago to attend Columbia College, where she received her fancy schmancy degree in musical theatre. Since then, she has been performing here and there as herself (favorite roles include Wren in Endlings, Hot Dog Eater/Hula Hooping Ghost in 26 Presents: Net-flix and Kill, and Joshua Waits in Ghostlight's Oh My Godddddd!!: A Troll 2 Live Reading), but mostly as her burlesque persona, Bailey Irish. Bailey is also a founding member and the Casting Director for PS...Burlesque, a local burly company whose goal is to create a safe, inclusive space for all performers to create and perform their art.

EJ is the proud Mama of two cats: Giselle, a Siamese-calico mix and King Richard Toothless III (or Tooey for short), a deaf, toothless, very special needs Maine Coon mix. Follow their feline adventures on Instagram - @kingrichardtoothless3. EJ and her partner Mike are co-creators of The Starving Fartist, an in-home "Farts and Crafts" shop. Their Instagram isn't as cute as Tooey's, but follow them anyway - @the.starvingfartist.