Theater for the New City

Takes you to the past where theater ghosts enlighten the present in:

Ghost Light Now & Then

A new play by Barbara Kahn

Directed by Robert Gonzales Jr and Barbara Kahn

Set & Lighting Design by Mark Marcante

Costume Design by Everett Clark

Sound Design and Operation by Joy Linsheid

Featuring Danielle Aziza, Amanda Boekelheide, Rachel Drayke, Robert Gonzales Jr., Micha Lazare, Brandon Sngdnc Mellette and Steph Van Vlack.

Ghost Light Now & Then is a “time-fluid” play that is both historic and contemporary. A ghost light is a single light left on onstage when a theater is otherwise dark. There is a superstition that every theater has ghosts and that ghost lights provide illumination for the ghosts to perform. New Yorkers Becky and Mandy are not immune to the homophobia that has threatened their marriage. During an inexplicable seismic event in 2017, they are flung through a window into the Greenwich Village Theater in the early twentieth century. Inspired by “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Wizard of Oz,” they search for a pathway back home. The women discover that issues and conflicts confronting their world—homophobia, racism and anti-Semitism—haven’t changed in a century. They learn life lessons about prejudice, trust and love while seeking an exit to the present day. Wandering through remnants of scenery, they encounter ghosts from productions that haunt the site of the theater that was demolished in 1930. Characters and snatches of dialogue from these productions of the past are woven into this contemporary play.


Barbara Kahn’s plays have been produced in the U.S., France and Germany. She has directed in New York, Paris, and at the National Theatre in London. Theater for the New City has been the primary New York City home for Barbara’s plays since 1994. Among her many awards, she was honored with the Torch of Hope Award for lifetime achievement in non-profit theatre, following past recipients Terrence McNally, John Guare, August Wilson, Horton Foote and A.R. Gurney; the joint Robert Chesley Playwriting Award/Wurlitzer Foundation Residency in Taos, NM; and a 2017 Acker Award for downtown theater artists. With Jackie S. Freeman, she co-authored the lyrics to “Actions are the Music of the Free,” music by Jennifer Giering, performed at the United Nations Tribute to Dame Nita Barrow. Ashort list of prominent post-1970’s playwrights who identify as Jewish and who have written about Jews includes Jon Robin Baitz, Richard Greenburg, Alan Havis, Barbara Kahn, Tony Kushner, Barbara Lebow, Jennifer Maisel, Karen Malpede, David Mamet, Emily Mann, Donald Margulies, Elizabeth Swados, Jeffrey Sweet, Alfred Uhry, and Wendy Wasserstein.” (You Should See Yourself: Jewish Identity in Postmodern American Culture. Vincent Brook. Rutgers University Press.) Member: The Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG/AFTRA.

Partial funding for the production is provided by The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation.

From the play:

Becky…My father just needs time. He’s old fashioned, traditional. We shocked him, that’s all. We sprang everything on him all at once. He liked Mandy before that. I know he did. And she liked him.


Ann…Smart women smoke. Well, I did meet a feminist once that didn’t smoke at all; big, fine noble woman—so sensitive—the one that bit the ear off that policeman.


Jacob…This town is full of people who claim to love God, but their God is not a god of love. The town will take and take from you and give you nothing in return but hate.


Jamesina…The problem is tradition. People are trapped by tradition. You should get a divorce. It will be very freeing. After all, as a wife, what are you? Trapped in tradition. Just another lost soul.


Jim… O’Neill thought he was so modern, so open minded. He was as racist as the rest. The great Eugene O’Neill couldn’t allow the Negro to succeed. Gave him the education, but not the reward. Saddled him with a wife who was as sick as she was racist, sick with her prejudice.


Mandy…Becky told me, “Dreams don’t die. Sometimes they just hide. We hide them to protect them, but they never die.” Where is she? Where is Becky? Where is my wife?

Cino Theater

Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th Street)

March 2 - 19

Thursdays -

Saturdays at 8 P.M., Sundays at 3 P.M.

Tickets:$15.00 Group, Student and Seniors: $12.00

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Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
(between 9th and 10th Streets)
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 254-1109
Fax: (212) 979-6570


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