by: Sandi Durell
With book, music and lyrics by Matthew Martin & Tim Realbuto, an official Backer’s Audition is planned in December with an eye on bringing Ghostlight to the great white way. The reading will feature an all-star cast: Anneliese Van Der Pol, Carolee Carmello, Robert Cuccioli, Jennifer Hope Wills, Kimberly Faye Greenberg, Trevor McQueen and Rachel Bay Jones.
According to backstage lore, the ghost of a Ziegfeld Follies star haunts the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway. Ghostlight excavates the true story of Olive Thomas, a small-town girl who rises to headline alongside Fanny Brice. Seduced by the decadent world of the theatre, Olive stumbles into a secret affair with Ziegfeld, who was famously married to actress Billie Burke, an unfulfilled Hollywood marriage to movie star Jack Pickford, her falsely idealized friendship with Follies comedienne Molly Cook, and a downward spiral into drugs and alcohol, which all led to her mysterious death at age 25 in Paris at the height of her career.
An homage to Broadway’s Golden Age, Ghostlight captures the glamorous and tragic lives of those who changed the face of the American musical forever. Ghostlight had a sold-out and extended run at the Signature Theatre as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2011.