Cast and Design Team Set for HOUSEHOLD SPIRITS World Premiere at Theater Wit

The production will run October 6-November 11, 2023.

By: Oct. 02, 2023
Cast and Design Team Set for HOUSEHOLD SPIRITS World Premiere at Theater Wit

Theater Wit has announced the cast and design team for the world premiere of Household Spirits by acclaimed Chicago playwright Mia McCullough, debuting October 6-November 11, 2023.

McCullough’s new dark comedy introduces Erik, a junior in high school just hoping he can get into the army—before he goes crazy. Erik’s step mother, Clara, is totally self absorbed. His father Philip is trying to save his new marriage in 12 steps. And his stepsister Rox has left college but she won’t tell why. It's all going to make for a thrilling holiday party—particularly with a sentient doll on the guest list. And why is the ghost of Erik's mom haunting the housekeeper and popping up in his subconscious? 

Find out when Theater Wit uncorks Household Spirits, directed by Eileen Tull in her Theater Wit debut. 

The cast features Téa Baum (Rox), Ilyssa Fradin (Clara), Cindy Gold (Angela), Nathan Hile (Erik), Jennifer Jelsema (Evelyn), Doug MacKechnie (Philip) and Joe Zarrow (Leo). Suzanne Petri is the voice of Julia.

Designers are Manuel Ortiz (set), Rachel Sypniewski (costumes), Brandon Wardell (lights), Adam Halliwell (props), Christopher Kriz (composer and sound designer), Lana Elaine Whittington (violence and intimacy), Jennifer Aparicio (stage manager), Matthew R. Chase (production manager) and Catherine Miller (casting director).

Previews of Household Spirits are Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 15: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. Press opening is Monday, October 16 at 7 p.m. Performances run through November 11: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m., with an added industry/Halloween Eve performance on Monday, October 30 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $18-$55. Run time is two hours with intermission. Purchase tickets at Click Here, by calling (773) 975.8150, or in person at the Theater Wit box office.

Better yet, show your support of Chicago storefront theater, purchase a Theater Wit Membership, and guarantee great seats to all three of Wit’s 2023-24 season productions.

?For a low monthly fee of $35 – often less than the price of a single ticket – Theater Wit members see as many shows as they want on the company’s three stages, including productions by resident and guest companies, year round. Sign up at Click Here.
Theater Wit is located at 1229 W. Belmont Ave., in the Belmont Theatre District in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Convenient parking is available for $8 across the street from the theater in the lot behind Kubo restaurant (pay at the Theater Wit box office.) Neighborhood street parking is available, as are private paid lots (tip: book ahead and at a discount with Spothero). Theater Wit is also accessible via the CTA 77 Belmont bus, and is three blocks west of the CTA Belmont Red/Brown/Purple line stop. 

To learn more about Theater Wit, visit Click Here or follow the company on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The company

Mia McCullough is a playwright, screenwriter/filmmaker, educator, performer and visual artist. Household Spirits, her tale of a family haunted by mental illness, alcoholism, and…household spirits…was previously presented at Steppenwolf’s First Look reading series and The Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Festival. Her solo show Milkshakes and Morphine premiered at Lifeline Theatre’s Fillet of Solo in January 2023, and all three of McCullough’s The Squirrel Plays were performed together at Mirror Stage in Seattle last spring. Her work has been seen at theaters around the country including Steppenwolf, Goodman, Stage Left, Chicago Dramatists, The Old Globe, Local Theater Company, and Red Fern Theater, as well as in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She taught playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University for 10 years, playwriting at University of Illinois-Chicago, Carthage College and Chicago Dramatists, and workshops in Chicago Public Schools. For more, visit

?Eileen Tull (director) is a storyteller, performance artist, poet, comedian, and one-woman-show person. She has performed throughout the country, including in the United Solo Festival, Dallas Solo Festival, as well as Fringe Festivals in Cincinnati, Minnesota, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Chicago. Her work has been seen all over Chicago in theaters, bookstores, art galleries, bars, and other non-traditional spaces. Tull co-curates Sappho’s Salon at Women and Children First bookstore, a recurring performance series for female, trans, and non-binary artists exploring gender, sexuality, and feminism. She is a full-time drama instructor with the Chicago Park District, and her work as a creative activist was recognized by The White House in June of 2016.

?Téa Baum (she/her, Rox) is making her Chicago theater debut with Theater Wit! A recent graduate of Northwestern University, her theatre credits there include Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Small Alison in Fun Home, and Violet in 9 to 5. 

Ilyssa Fradin (she/her, Clara) also makes her Theater Wit debut with Household Spirits. Fradin is a SAG-AFTRA actor and can be seen and heard on various TV shows, films, and voiceovers. After an extended break from theater, she is grateful to be back. 

Cindy Gold (she/her, Angela) recently appeared in Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington (Steppenwolf Theatre), Measure for Measure and A Christmas Carol (Goodman), Indecent(Victory Gardens), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Drury Lane), Awake and Sing(Northlight), The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare) and Showboat and My Fair Lady (Lyric Opera). Gold won a Jeff award for playing Gertrude Stein in Frank Galati and Stephen Flaherty’s Loving Repeating. She is a Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University.

Nathan Hile (he/him, Erik) recently graduated with his BFA in Acting from the Theater School at DePaul University, where his credits include Henry IV(Falstaff), Burn (Colin), The Serpent: A Ceremony (Abel/Ensemble), Mudlarks (Wayne) and The Seagull (Medvedenko).

Jennifer Jelsema (she/her, Evelyn) also makes her Theater Wit debut. Her credits include Bald Sisters (u/s Him) (Steppenwolf Theatre), Ushuaia Blue (u/s Sarah) and Fifth Domain (u/s Mei Li) (Contemporary American Theatre Festival), The Moors (u/s Agatha) and as Sophia’s Mother and Janie in Do You Feel Anger (A Red Orchid Theatre). 

?Doug MacKechnie (he/him, Philip) returns to Theater Wit after playing the Narrator in A Christmas Story in 2007. Chicago credits include The Gravedigger (First Folio), Menorcha (16th Street), Lucinda's Bed (Chicago Dramatists) and Slaphappy (Beat The Jester Productions) – all world premieres, and numerous productions during the final years of Shaw Chicago.

Joe Zarrow (he/him, Leo) is an Evanston-based playwright and actor. Stage Left and Theater Seven of Chicago co-produced the world premiere of his play Principal Principle (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination for Best New Work) at Theater Wit. The play has gone on to be produced in Atlanta and Auckland, New Zealand. In Chicago his plays have also been produced or developed by the New Coordinates, Jackalope, the Gift, Walkabout Theater, LiveWire Chicago Theater, Tympanic Theater, Broken Nose Theater and Collaboraction.

Suzanne Petri (she/her, Voice of Julia) is a Jeff-nominated actor who has performed, produced and directed on Chicago stages including Goodman, Steppenwolf, Apple Tree, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Shakespeare, Next, Northlight, The Poetry Foundation and the Chicago Humanities Festival. She has been an American Blues Theater ensemble member since 1998. She recently played the Stenographer in ABT’s Waiting For Lefty and Grandma in the Jeff nominated Tobacco Road. 


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