Annelyse Ahmad (Ensemble) is so grateful to be a part of this project. Previous credits include East by East East (Stir Friday Night), Our Town (Milwaukee Rep), A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep), Guys and Dolls (Milwaukee Rep), Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno (u/s, The Second City, E.T.C.), 8 Angry Asians: Starring Scarlett Johansson (Stir Friday Night), Orange (world premiere, Mixed Blood Theatre), Phoenix, (Nomades), Samsara (u/s, Victory Gardens), and Coupled: Your love story, improvised! (Second City Skybox). Film/TV credits: Dhoom 3 (dir. Vijay Krishna Acharya), Horse Camp (dir. Joel Paul Reisig), “Jimmortal” (dir. Bradley & Weber; winner Best Actress in a Pilot, Chicago Comedy Film Festival) and “Obstacle Course” (Dir. Dale Heinen). Thank you, Brian for being crazy supportive and to Corey for inviting me to play. This one is for her Muslim dad and Christian mom, who took “make love, not war” literally. Keep in touch at

Annelyse Ahmad | Ensemble

Micah Hilson (Ensemble) is proud to make his Silk Road Rising debut this holiday season. Micah recently moved to Chicago over a year ago after studying at the National Theatre Institute and is now happy to call Chicago home. He most recently was seen in the new musical The Inheritance at Piano Forte Studios. Other credits include, understudying Tooranpoi in "Merchant On Venice" at Rasaka Theatre, and "Other World" a new musical workshop at the Lyric Theatre in NY. Micah is also an actor with Stewart Talent in Chicago.

Micah Hilson | Ensemble

Tommy Malouf (Ensemble) is glad to spend this season with one of his favorite theatre companies. He has been collaborated with Silk Road Rising on projects such as Great Expectations, Tennis in Nablus, We Swim We Talk We Go to War, and 69* Years. He has also worked with Jackalope Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, and Steep Theatre Co. He is represented by Stewart Talent.

Tommy Malouf | Ensemble


Annalise Raziq (Ensemble) has run the gamut: she has worked with renowned playwright Tony Kushner and also played the back end of a dragon. She is a professional storyteller and was recently featured at Chicago Public Media’s fundraising gala at the Four Seasons. Annalise is a three-time Moth Story Slam winner and had a story featured on the national storytelling show The Moth Radio Hour (and available on their podcast). She has also told stories for Risk!, Story Jam, This Much Is True, the Boston Palestine Film Festival, the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, and the Palestinians Podcast. She is pleased to have been part of the film Obstacle Course with Silk Road Rising and also recently played Amal Kafiz in the independent film Green Summer. She is a writer and improviser, and used these skills to help create the show “Sisters Rising” with a group of formerly incarcerated women. Annalise sings professionally in a variety of venues and her solo show "I Know A Place," a memory play with a live band onstage, was part of last year's Fillet of Solo Festival. But by far, her most creative act has been raising her amazing daughter Kalila Holt.

Annalise Raziq | Ensemble

Hannah Descartin (Understudy) is very excited to be a part of this production (her first one in Chicago!) with this wonderful cast and creative team. Hannah is from Houston, TX, and recently graduated from Oklahoma City University with a BFA in Acting. Favorite credits include South Pacific (Liat), for colored girls...when the rainbow is enuf (Lady in Red), The Crucible, and Fiddler on the Roof. Hannah would like to thank her friends, her family, and Max for all of their love and support. Enjoy the show! :)

Hannah Descartin | Understudy

Tiffany Taylor (Understudy) is thrilled to be making her Silk TRoad Rising debut! She recently made her Chicago theatre debut as “Thea” in "Spring Awakening" (Blank Theatre Company), and was seen regionally in "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Grease" (Lincoln-Way Summerstock Theatre). She also performed in the New Faces Sing 1964 series at Porchlight Music Theatre this past month. Tiffany is a senior Musical Theatre major at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, where her credits include "Urinetown" and "Dogfight." Tiffany would like to thank her mom, friends, her boyfriend, Jonah, and everyone at Silk Road Rising!

Tiffany Taylor | Understudy



Katherine Bruton | Soprano

Karen Nussbaum | Soprano

Brenna Boncosky | Alto

Kate McDuffie | Alto

Josh Pritchett | Tenor

Christopher Shin | Tenor

Daniel Grambow | Bass

Bob Trautvetter | Bass

Melissa Curtis | Understudy


Production Team

Jamil Khoury | Chief Programming Officer and Mission Trustee
Malik Gillani | Executive Director
Corey Pond | Director/Adaptor/Associate Producer
Erik Nussbaum | Choir Director
Emma Hospelhorn | Music Director
Ty Easley | Pianist
James Robinson-Parran | Rehearsal Pianist
Carol Ann Tan | Dramaturg
Fouad Teymour | Muslim Consultant
Andy Lynn | Production Manager/Properties Designer/Scenic Painter
Kristin Mazzocca | Stage Manager
Samia Malik | Scenic Designer
Becs Bartle | Lighting Designer
Satoe Schechner | Costume Designer
Josh Prisching | Technical Director
Jacob Demes | Scenic Carpenter
Michael Massura | Master Electrician
Al Gillani | Will Call Box Office
Darby Fitzsimons | House Manager
Panagiota Valkanas | Program Book Designer


Corey Pond (Adaptor/Director) is a director and dramaturg and the Associate Producer for Silk Road Rising. He holds a B.A. in theatre from Illinois State University where his studies concentrated on directing but also explored theater management and dramaturgy. Previous work at SRR includes director for staged readings of Yasmina's Necklace by Rohina Malik and Night Over Erzinga by Adriana Sevahn Nichols, assistant director for Re-Spiced, curated by Jamil Khoury, and The Lake Effect by Rajiv Joseph, and script dramaturg for Obstacle Course by Jamil Khoury. Other credits include director and producer of Lady Lazarus by Katie Green (Gorilla Tango), dramaturg for Savage Land by Josh Nordmark (Nothing Special Productions), and director Going Nowhere by R.D. Wakeman and Double Feature by Chuck Rose (Heartland Theater, 10-Minute Play Festivals).

Corey Pond | Adaptor/Director

Erik Nussbaum (Choir Director) has served as Director of Music and the Arts since August 2004, and continues to lead and guide the Music Ministry at the Temple toward important, thoughtful, and impactful musical experiences with energy, enthusiasm, and love. He earned a B.A. in Music, graduated cum laude, from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, under the mentorship of Dr. Laura Lane. He became a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded several music awards, including the Clarence Hubert Johnson Award and the Janet Grieg Post Prize in Music. He began composing his first songs and choral works while at Knox under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Polay. Afterwards, Erik attended Westminster Choir College, completing a M.M. in Choral Conducting in 1996. Following his education, Erik returned home to Illinois to work at Washington Presbyterian Church, Carl Sandburg Community College, and his alma mater, Knox College. In 2000, he earned a position with the Chicago Children’s Choir as an In-School Conductor. He served with the CCC for six years, during which time he was also employed at Grace UMC in Naperville for two years, directing the Youth and Children’s music until 2004, when he was chosen to lead the music ministry at the Temple. Erik has been married to his best friend Karen, an accomplished soprano for 15 years.

Erik Nussbaum | Choir Director

Emma Hospelhorn (Music Director) is a multi-instrumentalist, collaborative musician, and composer. She is a member of avant-garde new music ensembles Ensemble Dal Niente and The Machine Is Neither, and is the music director for Musical Bridges to Memory, a musico-social intervention for people with dementia and their families. Recent theater collaborations include Silk Road Rising and the Neo-Futurists. Emma holds a Ph.D. in Learning Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where her research focuses on group gesture in musical contexts. She teaches flute at New Trier High School and Chicago Academy for the Arts. For a list of recordings and publications, go to

Emma Hospelhorn | Music Director

Fouad Teymour | Islam Consultant

Fouad Teymour | Islam Consultant

Carol Ann Tan | Dramaturg

Carol Ann Tan | Dramaturg