Haunting Theaters for Halloween
Most Halloween revelers stick to taking their children for walks down the neighborhood, collecting treats, attending costume parties or, for the more innovative, haunted houses. It doesn’t occur to many to seek out a haunted theater, yet some of the most prestigious theaters in the world shelter their ghosts.
The Balasco Theater in New York City, entertained President and Mrs. Obama in 2009 with a performance of Gone with the Wind, but stagehands insist another entertainer lurks in the background. David Balasco, the theater’s original producer, had a preference for wearing a flowing monk’s robe. He was also a lady’s man. His robe clad figure has often been reported in the space that is now an office, but that once served as his apartment. Women attending the theater swear they’ve felt flamboyant producer’s ghostly pinch.
The Palace Theater in New York has a history of famous stage performers, including Will Rogers, Ethel Merman and Houdini. However, musicians sometimes catch the sight of a very troubled ghost. A special doorway had been built in the pit for Judy Garland’s entrances and exits. Plagued by drug addictions that eventually took her life, her ghost can sometimes be found standing in her special doorway.
The Paris opera theater also has a ghost, but it isn’t the Phantom of the Opera. The rumor is it’s an elderly woman who committed suicide and still roams the streets in front of the theater, looking for the man who jilted her.
The Palace theater in Los Angeles claims a ghostly figure of a woman dressed in white who crosses the stage between performances, then disappears again. “The man in grey” appears at the Royal Drury Lane Theater in London, wearing riding boots, a powdered wig and a tri-corn hat.
Don’t boo a performer off the stage. The St. James Theater in Wellington, New Zealand, not only has a shrieking ghost who had committed suicide after leaving the stage due to the taunts and calls of the audience, but is said to be responsible for a number of freaky accidents that have happened since then.
At the Los Angeles Grauman’s Chinese Theater, a ghostly apparition searches for the man who beat him to death, and at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a young who had been murdered in the eighteenth century haunts the grounds of the park.
Haunted houses are an iffy subject. The ghost may or may not disappear. The great thing about a haunted theater is, the show must go on. The ghost is bonus entertainment.