JENNIFER GLASSE hails from the West Side of Chicago, IL. She is an Ensemble Member at The Gift Theatre where her credits include: Wolf Play, Doubt: A Parable, Hang Man, and A Life Extra Ordinary. Other Chicago credits include Oedipus Rex (Court Theatre), Breath, Boom (Eclipse Theatre), The Book Club Play (16th Street Theatre), The Mutilated (a Red Orchid Theatre), Love and Information (Remy Bumppo Theatre), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Steppenwolf Garage), For My Brothers Whenever I May Find Them (Step Up Productions), The North Plan (Theatre Wit), Amuse Bouche (Pavement Group), and The Darkest Pit (Prop Theatre). Television credits include Chicago Fire and The Chi. Jennifer earned her degree in Musical Theatre from North Central College. She is also a graduate of The Conservatory at Act One Studios and The School at Steppenwolf, 2010. She is proudly represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Jennifer was thirteen years old when she received her first taste of life in musical theatre during one summer at Camp Merrie Woode in North Carolina. Sitting on the steps after rehearsal one day, she expressed to her counselor that she wished she could do theatre for a living, and they simply stated that she could. It was the very first time the idea of pursuing this artistic life ever crossed her mind. A year later as a freshman in high school Jennifer read Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece A Raisin in the Sun, and it was there was no turning back. The visceral connection she felt with the Younger family, especially the story of Beneatha, forever cemented the love of the theatre in her heart. It was at that moment that she found her God given purpose and knew that she wanted to pursue a career in theatre. Jennifer wanted the opportunity to tell these stories and take an audience on the same journey that she went on.
“When I approach a role, I commit to going on a journey of exploration, into the souls of each new role I consume. I am committed to serving as the vessel to those whose voices demand to be heard. I am committed to sharing my journey with the audience as I live out the character’s lives on stage. To even have the grace for this commitment, my prayer is always that God would hollow me out and use me to share the truth of the story.”
Jennifer recently became an Education Director of giftED., The Gift’s two-year acting sequence for Chicago-based high school students, and is so excited for the opportunity to finally bring theatre back to her home of the Garfield Park and West Humboldt Park neighborhoods. Jennifer is a seasoned teaching artist and has taught all over Chicago at studios and theatres including Acting Studio Chicago, Provision Theatre, Hope Theatre, and Chicago Lights. She has been a teaching artist at the Court Theatre since 2013 and has taught each year with Harper High School in the Englewood. Becoming a Teaching Artist was never Jennifer’s plan. She blames Emjoy Gavino for pushing her to do her first teaching artist gig with Barrel of Monkeys (now Playmakers Laboratory Theatre), teaching creative writing and theatre to a group of third grade girls at a West Side Elementary School in 2012. Those third-grade girls reminded Jennifer of herself at that age, and she consequently fell in love with teaching. One of her students was a nine-year-old girl named Shari. She wrote a persuasive essay about bullying… “We shouldn’t be allowed to bully because bullies start out as little kids who pick on other kids and are mean to them. But when bullies grow up to be adults, they learn how to bully by using guns. Then they use those guns to shoot people and sometimes innocent kids get shot by accident. So, I don’t think we should be allowed to bully because I want to live.” Listening to Shari’s courageous words confirmed the truth that Jennifer would always be an arts educator. Seeing this brave young soul use her voice to tell her truth, and do so through the vehicle of the arts, inspired Jennifer to want to give other kids the opportunity to do the same. Shari’s words are the reason why Jennifer will never stop fighting to affirm the voices of our black and brown youth in Chicago.