POSTPONED: Ghostlight Playhouse debut postponed in Medford
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a postponement of the Ghostlight Theatre debut, which the Randall Theatre Company announced Wednesday, citing more preparations being needed to host audiences. The company said some volunteers had been delayed by the fires in Southern Oregon. The new opening date is Friday, Oct. 9.
“Another op’nin’, another show!”
Broadway comes to Medford Oct. 9 when the Randall Theatre Company opens its new Ghostlight Playhouse in the former Howiee’s performance annex at 115 E. Main St. downtown.
“Breaking Up Broadway-Style,” a concert-style revue of the greatest break-up songs from Broadway musicals, will be performed nightly Oct. 9-18 with seating for about 30, while simultaneously livestreaming to the rest of the world.
“We had been planning this show for a while,” said Kathy Wing, Randall Theatre artistic director. “Now, given the current state of things, we will use this show as an opportunity to poke some fun at social distancing.”
The dinner show will be catered by Apocalypse Chow, a Medford eclectic comfort food-delivery service, born out of the quarantine.
Featured artists include Master of Ceremonies Rhyon Ingalls, Janina Brown, Ella Diaz, Brianna Gowland, Meagan Kirby and Jessi Shieman. All have performed as vocalists, musicians and actors at a variety of theatrical venues in the Rogue Valley and beyond.
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10; and at 2 p.m. Oct. 11 and 18.
Tickets for “Breaking Up Broadway-Style” are $40 per table. Each table can seat two to six people. Livestream tickets are $10 per household.
Tickets can be purchased at randalltheatre.com or at the Randall Theatre Company Facebook page.
When patrons purchase a streaming ticket, they will receive the link to the streaming platform with instructions and a code for accessing the show. Performances also will be archived online, available for later viewing.
Wing took over as Randall’s artist director in January.
“We were still in the space on Fir Street, working on our first production of the season, a great musical comedy called, ‘I do! I Do!’ Three weeks before opening, the first round of COVID-19 restrictions came down, and the venue had to close,” Wing said.
She says the good news is that “I Do! I Do” will be Ghostlight Playhouse’s next dinner show production, scheduled to open in December at the new venue. The two-person musical will feature Nico Hewitt and Shieman. With book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, it’s based on the Jan de Hartog play, “The Fourposter,” which focuses on the ups and downs of a marriage over a 50-year period.
In June, the company’s Fir Street lease was terminated, and the Randall Theatre spent two months looking for a new home. The Howiee’s East Main Street venue was acquired at a discount lease rate while the region remains in phase two of the pandemic.
Ghostlight Playhouse will allow the company to stage Randall plays and musical revues of a smaller scale. It also will serve as a fundraising entity to benefit the company.
“We will host music groups, comedy shows, improv theater, murder mysteries, karaoke and trivia quizzes,” Wing said. “The space also will be used for rehearsals, meetings, classes and workshops.”
The venue has men’s and women’s restrooms with multiple stalls, a green room with its own restrooms for actors, storage space, and a classic wood bar for concessions.
Ghostlight Playhouse has a capacity for an audience of 99, similar to the Randall’s former venue, but it can’t be fully utilized until pandemic conditions meet state guidelines.
Meanwhile, company leadership is keeping an eye out for a bigger venue for larger-scale productions, such as the world premiere of local playwright Edward Miller’s “Waiting Star” in the spring of 2021, a year later than had been originally scheduled.
“Our plan is to look for a second space and keep the smaller venue going as well,” Wing said.
The pandemic has forced businesses of all kinds to look for new, creative ways to operate, and that includes arts organizations.
“The idea of doing smaller shows and adding the livestreaming is our response as we look for ways to keep bringing live entertainment to the Rogue Valley,” Wing said.
“The Randall Theatre was born and raised in downtown Medford, so we hope to partner with other downtown businesses and offer a new way to promote them.”
Wing says the company sees other downtown businesses as neighbors rather than competitors.
“Because of our business model, and as a nonprofit, we have the ability to help lift up downtown Medford in a lot of different ways,” she said.
In addition to bringing new types of entertainment to town, the company relishes the idea of being able to provide another venue where local artists can perform for a live audience.
In developing the technology for livestreaming, the company also acquired the ability to offer subscription Web telecasts. It will be using the Web for other events, live rehearsals and sharing the craft.
To support the company’s programs, donations can be made at the company’s PayPal link, paypal.com/paypalme/RandallTheatreCo, or mailed to Randall Theatre Company, 1750 Delta Waters Road, Ste. 102-362, Medford, OR 97504 (a mail-only address).
Reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at firstname.lastname@example.org.