ELEANOR’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS WISH-THE MUSICAL Debuts Nov. 19 at the Greenhouse Theater CenterScott Gryder (Sprinkle) & Samantha Bonzi (Eleanor)
Tickets for the new family-friendly holiday production, Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical, debuting at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, November 19 – December 29, 2019 are on sale! Presented by Chicago-based DMT Entertainment, the 65-minute musical is an engaging tale of friendship, family, and the magic of the holiday season.
The Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical ensemble of 11 features faces both familiar from local stages and on the rise, including Rockford-based musical theater pro Samantha Bonzi in the title role of Eleanor, alongside singer/songwriter and actor Lindsey Jane Bullen; Chicago Kids Company member Cara Chumbley; Blank Theatre Company co-founder Claire Latourette; Drury Lane veteran Kim Green; local Emmy Award winner Scott Gryder; Jeff Award nominee John Marshall Jr.; Chicago singer, actor, and voice artist Erin Parker (member of Actor’s Equity); Lucille Lortel Award nominee Emily Rohm (member of Actor’s Equity); Sydney Swanson in her professional stage debut; and Chicago Shakespeare Theater regular David Turrentine (member of Actor’s Equity).
Single tickets are priced at $29.50, with family packs of four tickets available for $100, and are on-sale now at https://www.eleanorswish.com or by calling 773-40-GREEN. Group discounts also available, check ticket website. Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical is recommended for ages 3 and up. Each ticket includes the opportunity for every girl and boy to take a selfie with Santa immediately following the performance. Grown-ups are encouraged to have their cell phones ready to capture the moment.
Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical is based on the heartfelt book of the same name by Chicago creative powerhouse Denise McGowan Tracy and tells the story of a rag doll named Eleanor who lives in a magical world. Despite her love for her North Pole family, including Santa, Mrs. “Cookie” Claus, Clara Claus, and the elves – Twinkle, Sprinkle, and Sparkle, Eleanor’s very merry Christmas wish is for a best friend and home of her own. Realizing that wishing is not enough, she writes a letter to Santa expressing her wish. The letter opens the door to answering many questions and to the journey which leads to her wish (and others) coming true.
Performance schedule: Previews take place Saturday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. and Sunday, Nov. 17 at 1:30 p.m., prior to an official opening night Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Performances Nov. 20 – Dec. 29, take place on Wednesdays at 10 a.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays at 1 and 5 p.m. Special holiday shows added, check the website for details.
CAST & CREATIVE TEAM BIOS:
Samantha Bonzi (Eleanor) Bonzi’s recent stage credits include Nancy/Oliver (Nordlof Center), Ursula/The Little Mermaid (Clinton Area Showboat), and Nettie Fowler/Carousel and Mrs. Brill/Mary Poppins (both Timber Lake Playhouse).
Lindsey Jane Bullen (Twinkle) Singer/songwriter and actor Bullen marks her return to the stage with her appearance in Eleanor. She recently came back to Chicago from Los Angeles where she worked in commercial music and released her debut EP I’m For You. Currently, Bullen is working with Lakeshore Records on her first full-length solo album, Turn Me Up, and is excited to be back in Chicago’s musical theatre community.
Cara Chumbley (Shimmer) Chumbley is a Chicago-based actor and teaching artist. Originally from Moline, Chumbley has been performing with Chicago Kids Company for five years in productions such as Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and more. She has been a teaching artist and director for Chicago Kids Company, Emerald City, and the Beverly Arts Center. This past summer, Chumbley performed in productions of Sister Act, Disaster!, and Sweeney Todd at Rocky Mountain Repertory Theater in Grand Lake, Colorado.
Claire Latourette (Glimmer) Latourette’s favorite Chicago credits include You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Drury Lane Theatre), New Faces Sing Broadway 1964 (Porchlight Music Theatre), Spring Awakening (Blank Theatre Company), The Addam’s Family (Williams Street Rep), and All Shook Up (Williams Street Rep). She received her BFA in musical theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and is co-founder/company member of Blank Theatre Company.
Kim Green (Sparkle) Green’s favorite Chicago credits include Amy/Little Women (BPBCo.); Bye Bye Birdie, White Christmas (Drury Lane); Mack & Mabel, City of Angels (Porchlight); Anything Goes (MTW); Mary Poppins (Mercury); 42nd Street (TATC); Sweet Smell of Success (Kokandy); Wicked City (CTW); The Producers, Victor/Victoria, SPAMALOT! (NightBlue); and Legally Blonde (Big Noise). Regional credits include A Chorus Line (McLeod) and High School Musical (Broadway in the Dells).
Scott Gryder (Sprinkle, sharing role with John Marshall Jr.) Gryder has been seen on stages throughout Chicagoland, with recent appearances in the Jeff-nominated Buyer & Cellar (Pride Films & Plays), Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyric Opera Chicago), and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drury Lane Water Tower). He has performed in a multitude of cabarets, including SIMPLY SCOTTY (with Nick Sula), WOZ: A Rock Cabaret, and Life Is A Cabaret – The Music & Words of Kander & Ebb. Gryder has a B.A. in Theater from Texas Tech University.
John Marshall Jr. (Sprinkle, sharing role with Scott Gryder) Marshall Jr. was nominated for a Jeff Award for his supporting role in YANK! A WWII Love Story (Pride Films and Plays). He’s also been seen in SPAMALOT!, Mamma Mia, and Madagascar (Marriott Theatre); Hairspray (Paramount Theatre); West Side Story (Drury Lane Theatre); Nice Work If You Can Get It, All Shook Up, The Wizard of Oz, and Big Fish (Theatre at the Center); Side Show, Memphis, and A Chorus Line (Porchlight Music Theatre); and Annie (Fireside Theatre). He received his BFA in musical theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Erin Parker* (Mrs. “Cookie” Claus) Parker has been seen in And Then There Were None (Drury Lane), Mary Poppins (Mercury Theatre), Ring of Fire (1stNational Tour), and Martina McBride’s Joy of Christmas Tour. A Southern Illinois native, University of Evansville graduate, and former Resident Company Member at Barter Theatre in Virginia, Parker received the Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artists Fellowship Grant in Theatre and is a founding member of MAS Nashville.
Emily Rohm* (Holly/Clara) Rohm was last seen as Glinda/Aunt Em in The Wizard of Oz at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She originated the role of Jane Doe in Ride the Cyclone and has performed that role off-Broadway at MCC Theatre (Lucille Lortel Award Nomination) as well as Chicago Shakespeare Theater, ACT Theatre/5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Other favorite roles include Mary Poppins (Paramount Theatre), Arminy in Carousel (Lyric Opera), Marian Paroo in The Music Man, Jane Ashton in Brigadoon (Goodman Theatre), Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Johanna in Sweeney Todd (Drury Lane Oakbrook), and Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd (Paramount Theatre). TV credits include NBC’s “Chicago Fire.”
Sydney Swanson (Noelle) Fresh out of high school, Eleanor marks Swanson’s professional theatre debut. She is no stranger to the stage having performed in a host of community productions over the years including West Side Story, Almost Maine, and Legally Blonde.
David Turrentine* (Santa) Turrentine has been seen at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in Elizabeth Rex, As You Like It, Hamlet, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, The Merchant of Venice, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Richard II, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Pericles, and Much Ado About Nothing. Other Chicago credits include Hamlet, She Loves Me, Arms and the Man, and The Seagull at Writers Theatre. Regional credits include Richard III, Hamlet, Cymbeline, The Importance of Being Earnest, Pygmalion, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Love’s Labour’s Lost at the Michigan Shakespeare Festival
Denise McGowan Tracy (Creator/Playwright) A native Chicagoan, Denise McGowan Tracy has been a recognized face and force in Chicago’s entertainment community – both on-stage and behind the scenes – for 35+ years. She began her career managing and booking the talent for the storied Byfield’s nightclub, and is currently the creator and co-host, with Beckie Menzie, of the long-running impromptu musical showcase Monday Night Live at Petterino’s, which recently celebrated its 500th show. McGowan Tracy served as Director of Entertainment for Navy Pier for a decade producing all public programming for millions of visitors and, as current founder of DMT Entertainment, her full-service entertainment production and event management company, she has produced events for clients including Landmarks Illinois, Lettuce Entertain You, The Sarah Siddons Society, and The ABA. With this production, she begins a new chapter in theater as creator, playwright, and producer.
Kathleen Gibson (Composer/Lyricist) Kathleen Gibson works as a music director at the Second City Training Center in addition to working as an AEA actor and freelance musician in Chicago. As an actor, her favorite theaters include: Theatre at The Center, Peninsula Players, Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, and the Royal George. She also plays guitar for toddlers with Stomp and Shout Chicago. She holds a B.M. from DePaul University and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory.
Zachary L. Gray (Director) Zachary L. Gray recently directed Run for Your Wife at the Palace Theater (WI). Other directing credits include Footloose (Grandstreet Theatre), Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and A Funny Thing… Forum (Timber Lake Playhouse), Shrek the Musical (Associate Director/Choreographer, Chicago Shakespeare), Fugitive Songs (BoHo), Legally Blonde (Big Noise), and Route 66 (Metropolis). Choreography credits include West Side Story, Gypsy, Hairspray (Timber Lake Playhouse), Dogfight (Associate, BoHo), Grease (The Little Theatre on the Square) with other favorites including Ride the Cyclone (ACT/5th Ave), Joseph… Dreamcoat (Ravinia), as well as several productions with The Performer’s School at Skokie Theatre. A proud AEA member, as an actor he has appeared at Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Victory Gardens, and Radio City Music Hall. He received a B.A. in Musical Theater Performance from Columbia College Chicago and an M.F.A. in Arts Leadership from Seattle University.
David Fiorello (Music Director) David Fiorello is a director, music director, performer, orchestrator, and playwright who’s had his work performed across the globe. Recently, he served as Music Director for Gypsy at Porchlight Music Theatre, starring seven-time Jeff Award Winner E. Faye Butler. He’s currently Music Directing A Man of No Importance at Columbia College Chicago, where he is also on faculty. He’s toured internationally with John Doyle’s re-imagined Sweeney Todd and served as Music Director for the Off-Broadway hit Danny & Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Story. His musical The Language or The Kiss, which he conceived, arranged and starred in, featuring the music of The Indigo Girls, received several Off-Broadway industry readings. An in-demand vocal coach, he currently serves as Founder and CEO of Fiorello Studios and Fiorello Worldwide.
Tatjana Radisic (Costume Design) Tatjana Radisic’s designs for theater, dance, and opera productions are marked by a synthesis of her European training and her own whimsical imagination. Her work has been seen on stages throughout the country, internationally, and on screen. Radisic holds a double B.A. from Belgrade University in Fine and Applied Arts, and an M.F.A. from Belgrade University in Costume Design. Her work includes groundbreaking experiments in costuming via collaborations with Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, Redmoon Theater, Drury Lane Water Tower Place, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Blair Thomas and Co., 500 Clown, Hedwig Dances, Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Live Bait Theatre, American Theater Company, UMA Productions, Apple Tree Theatre, The Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival South Band, and Crede Repertory Theatre Company, among others.
Kehoe Designs (Set Designer) Kehoe Designs is a full-service event décor and design company that has built a reputation for innovative designs, strategically aligned concepts, and brand experiences for social and corporate events.
Aaron Shapiro (General Manager) Aaron Shapiro is the owner of Shapiro Production Mgmt, and currently works as the Production Manager for Emerald City Theatre. He recently served as lead General Manager for Miracle the Musical at the Royal George Theatre and as Production Manager at Victory Gardens for two seasons (Hand to God, Fun Home, Native Gardens). Other credits include Disenchanted and Unspeakable at the Broadway Playhouse, commercial productions of Splintered Soul and Twisted Knots with the Chicago Commercial Collective, Jeff-nominated productions of Heathers and Tomorrow Morning with Kokandy Productions, Jeff-nominated productions of The Rainmaker and the award winning Buddy – The Buddy Holly Musical with American Blues Theatre, Stupid F***ing Bird and Caught with Sideshow Theatre, Memphis, In The Heights, Far From Heaven, Sweeney Todd, Funny Thing Happened, Side Show, and Jeff Awards-winning productions of Dreamgirls, Ain’t MisBehavin’ and Sondheim on Sondheim with Porchlight Music Theatre where he is an Artistic Associate.
DMT Entertainment (Producer) Founded by Denise McGowan Tracy, is a full-service event and entertainment production and management firm that produces a variety of high-profile, often private events. More information at www.dmtentertainment.com.