Thursday, October 28, 2010

Spooky Ghosts in The New Vic!

photo from Reed University

Spooky ghosts and ghouls will come out of the woodwork this weekend – including here at The New Victory Theater! Indeed, the New Vic plays host to our very friendly ghost Mrs. Leslie Carter. Mrs. Leslie Carter was an American stage and film actress in the early twentieth century. Born Caroline Dudley, she used the stage name Mrs. Leslie Carter throughout her career to spite her husband after a sensational and salacious divorce trial. She skyrocketed to fame through her relationship with David Belasco, and starred in shows at The New Victory, then called The Belasco Theatre. She must have liked it so much she never left…

Colleen Davis, The New Victory’s Production Coordinator, shares some of her spooky stories from her years at the New Vic and run-ins with Mrs. Leslie Carter. Colleen does not scare easily – these stories are 100% true!
Circus Oz
We lost a bow tie. It was John O’Hagan’s tuxedo bow tie for his flying bass act. We searched everywhere for it, then decided to give up the search and do the show without it. It was too close to curtain time. The stage manager (I think her name was Lisa), the wardrobe person (Sharlon), and myself were walking past the wardrobe room when all three of us saw a large, Rubbermaid plastic storage bin shoot off the metal shelving unit it was on, flip 180 degrees midair and landed on its lid. We all stopped in the hallway and looked at each other. Sharlon picked up the storage bin to put it back on the shelf… and that’s when we saw the missing bow tie on the floor next to the bin. We said “Thank you Mrs. Carter!” and started the show.
Tir Na N-Og
Mrs. Carter loves to mess with pianos, accordions, string instruments and amplifier knobs. During Tir Na N-og, the violin player constantly complained that she was breaking the same string before the show. One morning –I remember it was a Sunday- the accordion was not working. There is an accordion repair shop in New York City, but it is closed on Sundays. We decided to open the accordion up & see if we could figure out what was wrong. On the inside of an accordion there are many “reeds” screwed to plates which vibrate to make sound. We opened the case and saw many of these reeds had come loose. Once we tightened their screws, the accordion was fine. The accordion player was stunned. There was no way that would happen on its own.
Second Hand Dance
The banjo player became very frustrated and insisted that his banjo was being played overnight. He claimed that it was often re-tuned the next morning when he picked it up. I explained that no one at The New Victory would touch his banjo, much less change the tuning. We settled the matter by locking the banjo in a room that few people had a key to. However, the re-tuning continued until the show closed!
Colleen sharing stories with P.S. 111 onstage
Thanks for sharing, Colleen! Colleen has noticed that everything Mrs. Leslie Carter did was fixable before show time. She would mess with the production team, but never the performance (don’t worry – no chandeliers will crash onstage here!) Colleen has also noticed since we have new dressing rooms in 3 Times Square, no odd things have happened in awhile – but that doesn’t mean we are not on the look out! Happy Halloween, everyone!

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