Hamlet calls death "that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns."
But he's wrong. Some do return.
Each night after the applause dies, the curtain falls, the audience vanishes, the cleaners dust, and the lights are killed, great theatres become dark and silent places. But not always quite empty.
That's when the theatre ghosts make their entrance and strut and fret their hour upon the shadowed boards, illuminated only by the ghost light, the solitary lamp that is required to burn through the night on every Broadway stage.
Many of Broadway's busiest theatres continue to be just as busily haunted by spirits, some with well-known names and histories.
Good Morning, Olive (named for one of the most beautiful and temperamental of Broadway's ghosts) is about the ghosts that haunt theatres in New York and around the world.
Broadway is the playground of stars, so it's probably not surprising to learn that even its ghosts are stars. Meet some of Broadway's best known—and most active—celebrity ghosts. Don't worry: like Casper, they tend to be friendly. For the most part.
There's something special about theatres, something especially conducive and welcoming to ghosts. Charles J. Adams III wrote, "By its very nature, a theatre is a vault within which every human emotion is at once imprisoned, impersonated, imitated, and elicited. Tangles of cords and ropes…tall curtains and backdrops which fade into high darkness…cubicles and trap doors and passageways."
Good Morning, Olive takes readers on a tour of that world.
Robert Viagas, editor-in-chief of Encore Monthly (Encoremonthly.com), the national theatre magazine, is an author, journalist, lecturer, podcaster, and professor with more than thirty-five years' experience, much of it working on Broadway with Playbill Inc., the iconic theatre program company. Founding editor of Playbill.com, Viagas created the Playbill Broadway Yearbook series. Among his nineteen books on the performing arts: On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line and The Amazing Story of The Fantasticks. Viagas served on the nominating committee for Broadway's Tony Awards. He has told his theatre ghost stories at libraries, universities, and on SiriusXM radio.
NetGalley Review: 4 stars
Last updated 03 Jul 2022
"Robert Viagas, who has been around theatres most of his adult life, knows and loves the lore of Haunted Broadway (and beyond) and it shows in this wonderful book filled with lore, first hand accounts, and the histories that "created" these hauntings. The truly sad, the really creepy, and the mildly amusing. Read this and you will never walk into a theatre without looking for where they store "Ghost Light" ever again"—James O'Connell, Brown University Bookstore