For two weeks running, audiences who attended Prime Stage Theatre’s production of Frankenstein witnessed a haunting at the New Hazlett Theatre. Of course, it was part of the performance, with actor Suzanne Ward appearing as the white-clad spirit of Victor Frankenstein’s mother.
<<< The ghost of Caroline Frankenstein haunts her son’s laboratory in Prime Stage’s Frankenstein.
But if you’ve ever worked on a stage production or spent any time among theatre people, you’ve probably heard that theatres are haunted. Case in point, the old Pittsburgh Playhouse.
Consistently listed as one of the most haunted places in Pittsburgh, the Playhouse was reportedly home to no fewer than six troubled spirits. Among them, a specter dubbed “The Lady in White,” who according to the website Only In Your State is said to have shot her cheating husband on their wedding night. She then supposedly turned the gun on herself and ever since has been making appearances in the Rauh Theatre (the first of many performance spaces to be housed at the Playhouse facility).
Then there is the legend of an entity alternately referred to as the “Red” or “Green Meanie,” which CBS Pittsburgh claims is “believed to have been summoned at a seance in the 1970s, [an entity] who comes from the other side to bounce off the walls and ceilings of the theater.”
Whether the stories are true, fabrications, or the products of overactive imaginations has been debated since the first apparition made its appearance in the complex that once occupied the block between Craft Avenue and Hamlet Street in South Oakland.
Above: A ghost hovers over the old Pittsburgh Playhouse in an illustration from The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, October 1979.
But one thing’s for sure, the tales are compelling. And you can hear some of them this week on Mystery Theatre when Prime Stage’s Producing Artistic Director Wayne Brinda opens the show to share his firsthand accounts of encounters with some of those Playhouse spirits. In particular, he shares his story of taking part in that fabled seance that attempted to conjure the “Green Meanie” back in the 70s.
Wayne also shares an eye-witness tale of an encounter with The Lady in White and a host of weird specters that seemed to fill the auditorium when a costume designer took him and some of his friends on a ghost tour.
After listening to his interview, I think you’ll understand why mystery writer August LaFleur (the super sleuth featured in all of our Mystery Theatre episodes) is writing a book about the place.
<<< The Lady in White as pictured on the website Only In Your State.
Click the player below to hear our interview with Wayne Brinda and the latest installment of our five-act mystery “In the Ghost Light’s Glow.” And after listening, if you have a ghost story of your own to share, drop us a note in the comment box below or via the social media apps in the upper right of this page. You can also reach us via the comment section of the Prime Stage website.
Go ahead. Don’t be afraid. Hit play. I’ll meet you there.