New Musical Ghostlight, About Ziegfeld Follies Girl Olive Thomas, Offered Fall 2014 Workshop

By Michael Gioia
and Andrew Gans
15 Jan 2014

Phillipa Soo
Phillipa Soo

The new musical Ghostlight, seen this week in a Manhattan industry reading that starred Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 star Phillipa Soo, has been offered a fall 2014 workshop, Playbill.com has learned. 

Following a recent backers' audition for Ghostlight, the musical was given a Jan. 13 reading and was offered a workshop the same day, Tim Realbuto, the show's creator, confirmed to Playbill.com. 

Realbuto added that the creatives are "taking as many meetings as possible before making the correct decision for us." 

Ghostlight, which has book, music and lyrics by Matthew Martin and Realbuto, tells the "true story of Ziegfeld Follies girl and silent film star Olive Thomas, her rise to fame in the Follies alongside Fanny Brice, her affair with a married Ziegfeld, her Hollywood marriage to movie star Jack Pickford, and ultimately her tragic downfall which led to her mysterious death at age 25 in Paris," according to press notes.



Drama League Award nominee and Juilliard graduate Soo, acclaimed for her performance as Natasha in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, portrayed Olive Thomas in the recent reading. She was joined by multiple Tony nominee Carolee Carmello in the role of Billie Burke, who is best known for playing Glinda in the classic 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz"; Tony Award nominee Robert Cuccioli as Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.; Abigail Ludrof as Molly Cook; Kimberly Faye Greenberg as Fanny Brice; Trevor McQueen as Jack Pickford; and Jennifer Hope Wills as Doris/Cora/Lois Long.

The ensemble included Brad Rakushin (as Irving), Tayrn Tonelli (as Annabelle), Ryan Rhue (as The Man), Stephanie M. Weatherly (as Rachael), Angelia Golden (as Annie), Nathan Jentink, Elliot Lane, Jessie MacBeth and Emily Witte.

Ghostlight had a sold-out and extended run at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre in 2011 as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival. It was directed by creators Martin and Realbuto.

Kevin Lambert is producing the reading. Industry folk interested in attending should email Ghostlightthemusical@gmail.