The Creepiest Stories Of Broadway Ghosts

Green Broadway street sign

Ghosts, it's said, often like to stick around in places where they left their mark while still alive. Whether those places were host to a person's greatest tragedy or triumph doesn't always seem to matter, so much as those occasions made an impression. Perhaps that's why there are so many tales of ghosts in places that are full of drama and tension, such as White House phantoms , spirits that haunt hospitals , and even haunted movie sets .

Broadway, considered this way, seems utterly primed for ghosts. Indeed, if the stories are to be believed, theaters up and down this famous street in New York City are packed full of spirits. Some of them have been identified as famous faces who graced the stages or built the arts community that still supports Broadway today. Others are more mysterious figures, perhaps individuals who suffered their own tragedies or unrecognized victories on the stage and who, for whatever reason, just can't seem to leave.

Whether or not you personally believe in the existence of specters or the paranormal, it's difficult to deny that these stories of Broadway ghosts are utterly creepy. Imagine working a late night as an usher or security guard or as an actor lingering backstage after a show. You hear strange noises. Props and doors move on their own. You see something out of the corner of your eye or, more chillingly, a phantom appears right in front of you. Who wouldn't feel a cold chill make its way down their spine as they encounter one of Broadway's famous ghosts?

The Gershwin Theatre is reportedly full of Broadway ghosts

Built in 1971, the Gershwin Theatre seems a bit young to be sporting stories of spirits. Yet, if reports are to be believed, more than one ghostly apparition has surprised people in this Broadway theater. According to Playbill , some believe that there are three main ghosts in the theater. One is known as "Drew" or, sometimes, "Dennis." The other two are nameless, though it's said that you can identify them more reliably by their clothing. One ghost appears in a simple white t-shirt, while the other is dressed in a distinctive blue suit from the 19th century.

Besides the sightings, workers in the Gershwin Theatre consistently report odd happenings there. Some claim to have been touched by unseen hands that tap them on the shoulder, only for them to turn and find empty air. In 2010, Playbill  reports, an ensemble actor and stage manager both reported that they had seen what they assumed was another performer watching a rehearsal. Yet, when that person seemed to disappear behind a curtain, both of the observers turned ... to see the same person next to them on the stage.

A chorus girl is said to haunt the New Amsterdam Theatre

Olive Thomas, an ill-fated Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl, makes afterlife appearances so frequently in the New Amsterdam Theatre that, according to Playbill , her picture is all over the structure. Reportedly, Dana Amendola, the vice president of operations for the Disney Theatrical Group, believes that placing Thomas' image at the entrance gives everyone a chance to greet her. Saying hello and goodbye to Thomas is thought to keep her mischief at bay.

As per Catapult , Thomas moved to New York and joined the Ziegfeld Follies Girls in the 1920s and even appeared in some movies in that era, setting her up for a glamorous film career. Then she married Jack Pickford, the wayward brother of Hollywood actress Mary Pickford. On a second honeymoon in Paris, Thomas died. Pickford said that she had accidentally drank a bottle of mercury bichloride after a night of boozing. Others whispered that he had killed her, or that a despondent Thomas had committed suicide. She was only 25 when she died.

Now, people at the New Amsterdam Theatre report seeing her long after her death, sometimes even carrying the fateful blue bottle full of poison. She walks through walls, makes lights flicker, and was even said to have grabbed a booster seat for a young patron. One witness claimed to have seen her disembodied feet and legs descending some stairs, though the rest of Thomas grotesquely faded away at her knees.

Patti LuPone encountered something ghostly at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre

Even high octane Broadway divas, it seems, aren't immune to a scare or two. At the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, recently home to the hit musical The Book of Mormon , headliner Patti LuPone may have herself encountered a spirit.

Playbill reports that LuPone was at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre during the 2006 run of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd . According to a report from fellow actor and singer Donna Lynne Champlin, LuPone's dressing room seemed to have been a locus for paranormal activity. As Champlin maintained, the doors to LuPone's room would often open and close without anyone near by. Once, LuPone believed that she had stepped backward onto her friend's foot. When she apologized, the friend revealed that she hadn't been standing anywhere nearby. LuPone turned and saw no one behind her.

Otherwise, objects in the O'Neill Theatre seem to move of their own accord, sometimes disappearing and then reappearing in odd places like on a forgotten rack in the theater basement. Other objects appear to have been pushed or pulled off the prop shelves by unseen forces, while ghostly hands have been felt yanking on actors' hair. Sometimes, the smell of lilacs wafts onto the stage for no discernible reason. Actors have also reported hearing names whispered right next to their ears, though no one can be seen at their side.

Vaudeville performers are said to haunt the Palace Theatre

Louis Borsalino was a vaudeville performer in the early days of the Palace Theatre who made his name as an acrobat. One night, reports Curbed , he was going through a tight-rope routine when the worst happened. Borsalino fell and, according to some versions of the story, died right there in the theater. Thereafter, people in the space have reported seeing the unfortunate man endlessly reenacting his death, complete with the lurid accident and appropriately frightening screams. Yet, as a 1935 article from The New York Times reports, Borsalino fell 18 feet and was "badly hurt" but wasn't killed. Still, the legend persists that someone can be spotted walking a ghostly tight-rope above the stage of the Palace Theatre. Rumor has it that anyone who sees this specter is doomed to die in the near future.

Whether or not Borsalino really haunts the Palace Theatre, some people are convinced that a far more recognizable ghost appears in the structure. According to Theatre Nerds , singer and film legend Judy Garland herself has been seen there. She reportedly hangs out near a door at the back of the theater, which was put in just for Garland to use while in residence.

The Palace Theatre may be packed full of ghosts

Though the Palace Theatre is rife with named ghosts, it's also said to be full of yet more unnamed spirits. For some, considering all the tales of hauntings that have been reported here, it could be that the Palace is one of the most haunted theaters on all of Broadway.

Playbill reports that the orchestra pit in the Palace is haunted by the utterly spooky apparition of a cellist wearing a white dress. An office in the theater contains further frights, as people sitting in the room have reported the sudden appearance of a man in a brown suit who walks quickly past the office's open doorway. When they go to investigate, no one is there, of course. A sad-faced girl has been spotted in the balcony, while a ghostly boy plays with his toy trucks on the theater's mezzanine level.

Perhaps all of the ghosts are here because the Palace is one of the older theaters still operating on Broadway. According to Curbed , it was built in 1913 and quickly became known as one of the most coveted spots for performers to make their mark. With acts like Fred Astaire, Mae West, Frank Sinatra , and more gracing the stage, no wonder that "to play the Palace" meant a performer had finally secured a place for themselves in the difficult industry. Perhaps some of those people, having achieved a measure of glory at the Palace Theatre, don't want to leave. Ever.

David Belasco won't leave his Broadway theater

Even before his 1931 death, theater producer David Belasco was making memorable impressions with his colorful, indomitable spirit. As Playbill recounts, Belasco built his namesake theater on Broadway in 1907. He was already well known as a playwright himself and was a passionate lover of the theater. Belasco was rarely seen outside of a playhouse, in fact, to the point where he set himself up in an apartment above the Belasco Theatre and was known as the "Bishop of Broadway." It is absolutely unsurprising, then, to hear so many stories of his spirit returning again and again to what must have been the site of some of his happiest, most heartfelt experiences.

Witnesses have reported seeing Belasco in his trademark outfit of a priest's cassock and collar, though he was never ordained in any church. Some actors have said that this man would speak to them and even shake their hands. More unlucky ones have said that he also had a propensity to get a bit too close, especially if the ghost finds them attractive. Other times, workers were forced to check on his uninhabited apartment after they heard a raucous party going on upstairs. Yet, when they entered, they found only dust and emptiness in Belasco's old quarters. As the word got out, actors began to believe that getting goosed by the ghost of Belasco, or at least spotting him, was a good omen.

A Blue Lady may also scare people at the Belasco Theatre

As outsized as his personality may have been both in life and perhaps now in death, David Belasco isn't the only spirit said to be inhabiting his theater, at least now if reports are to be believed. Those reports, as per the Museum of the City of New York , include sightings of a mysterious and ethereal "Blue Lady." One story maintains that she is the spirit of a showgirl who died after plummeting down an open elevator shaft. She may also be the source of an odd blue glow witnessed by one actress, who said that her dressing room bathroom was suddenly steeped in the light while she was in the midst of a shower.

A version of the Blue Lady legend shared at Curbed says that some believe she's a girlfriend of Belasco. If that's true, maybe she's drawn to the theater by Belasco's libertine, romantic ways. Yet another tale, as reported by NYC Ghosts , says that this figure could also be the shade of a dancer who worked in a rather seedier capacity when the theater housed a gentleman's club known as "The Follies." Clearly, no one's entirely sure who the Blue Lady is, but enough people have spotted her to bolster the belief that someone else is lingering around the Belasco Theatre other than Belasco himself.

Some believe that Broadway legend Ethel Merman haunts the Imperial Theatre

In life, Broadway superstar Ethel Merman was possessed of a legendary personality and a powerful, commanding stage presence. With her unique, arresting voice, she captured attention on film and stage, including her appearances at Broadway's Imperial Theatre. According to Haunted Histories in America , some people who have witnessed odd goings-on at the Imperial believe that it's Merman who's opening and closing doors without a visible person moving things around. It just might be that Merman's spirit is still hanging around a theater where she garnered plenty of critical acclaim, as some suspect. Or, maybe she just enjoys messing with people, as she sometimes did while still alive.

Other people who have worked in the theater claim that there's a different presence haunting the staff, actors, and dancers inside. Playbill reports that the ballet dancers who were part of a performance of Billy Elliot at the Imperial claimed to have been bothered by a ghost they named "Fred." The spirit, they say, is busy haunting the girls' dressing room and creeping out the young occupants there. One young dancer reported seeing a bathroom door moving on its own while she was sitting by herself late one night, doing homework.

Crewmembers say dancer Bob Fosse is still at the Lyceum Theatre

The legendary dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse may haunt the Lyceum, if actors and crew are to be believed. According to Playbill , Fosse was also a well-known and well-regarded director, leaving an outsize mark on the already pretty outsize world of Broadway theater.

People who claim to have experienced something supernatural at the Lyceum report hearing odd noises from the catwalk, the smell of cigarettes, and a weird, almost unexplainable presence in the seats. The smoking is especially noteworthy, as it's now banned entirely in Broadway theaters and other indoor spaces in the city. Fosse, however, was rarely seen without a cigarette while he was still on this side of existence. While he was alive, Fosse also told actor Roger Rees that he enjoyed getting a view of the theater from the balcony, where he could overlook the entire space in all its glory.

What could be keeping Fosse at the Lyceum? According to Page Six , it might be some lingering personal connection. In 2015, the theater hosted The Visit , a show starring another Broadway great, Chita Rivera. Fosse was close to Rivera, as well as co-stars Roger Rees and Rivera's understudy, Donna McKechnie. Some speculate that their presence may have called Fosse back for yet another show at the Lyceum.

The Richard Rodgers Theatre is said to attract red-headed ghosts

The Richard Rodgers Theatre has most recently come to public attention as the home of the ultra-hit musical Hamilton , as well as creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's previous show, In the Heights . As per Lights Up On Stage, it was built in 1925 and, though it has changed management quite a few times over the intervening years, it's been in more or less continuous operation since then.

Yet, according to Playbill , this theater is packed full of more than eager audience members. The ghostly sightings and events run the gamut from cheeky to utterly frightening. The ladies room is apparently plagued by red lipstick smudges, which keep reappearing even after cleaning staff have scrubbed them off the bathroom's surfaces. Ghostly footsteps are sometimes heard, which seems to be a hallmark of many a haunted theater. Yet, perhaps most frightening are the reports of eerie howling noises that echo throughout the theater after it's closed to the public.

Multiple people have reported seeing a mysterious series of spectral red heads. Sometimes, they show up in one of the theater boxes, while another has been spotted in a more plebeian seat in the mezzanine. No one's sure who these red-haired women are, but many believe they are largely benevolent and enjoy the performances in the theater much like the living audience members.

One sighting at the Hilton Theatre made women faint from fear

The Lyric Theatre, also known as the Hilton Theatre and Ford Center, was once witness to a notorious incident involving Broadway actors, a rapt audience, and the appearance, they say, of a spirit so frightening that one woman lost consciousness.

Said specter is reputed to belong to one Clyde Fitch. According to Ghosts and Murders of Manhattan , Fitch was a well-known and prolific playwright whose latest work, The City , premiered at the Lyric Theatre on Dec. 21, 1909. At that time, he had written more than 60 plays altogether, though The City was to be his last.

That's because, as Playbill   reports, Fitch had died that summer, well before his final play opened. Yet, if the legend is to be believed, he was still there to enjoy the acclaim. As the story goes, the cast was taking in the applause of the audience at the end of their performance when they were joined by none other than Fitch himself. He's said to have made his way to the center of the stage and taken a bow before disappearing in front of the entire theater audience. A number of women screamed and fainted at the sight of the playwright enjoying one last curtain call.

Radio City Music Hall could still be home to a man associated with the Rockettes

Though it's technically not on Broadway like some other theaters, Radio City Music Hall is still part of the vibrant and spirited arts scene of New York City that's deeply connected to Broadway and the rest of the city. And, like its fellow venues only a couple of blocks away, Radio City Music Hall is also said to be full of ghosts.

Many of the stories of haunted Radio City Music Hall center on Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel, the theater impresario who brought the Rockettes to fame at the venue, which opened in 1932. According to Radio City Music Hall , the place is the largest indoor theater in the world, with a custom-built pipe organ and grand interior design. Could the razzle dazzle of the hall still be resonating with the energetic Roxy? According to America's Haunted Road Trip , he has been spotted strolling about the theater with a beautiful woman, even though he died in 1936, only a few short years after the hall opened. The pair are said to always disappear into thin air before they reach their seats in the audience.

As Curbed reports, ushers also say that his seat is always down at the end of the night, even when all the others have been flipped up. Rothafel's former apartment in the building, which is empty but still maintained by staff, is also reputed to house some ghostly energy.

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A Ghost Story

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‘A modern classic’ Sunday Times
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‘A fantastic piece of writing. Begs to be seen again’ Broadway World

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Broadway’s Best Horror/Thriller Shows

July 19, 2023.

While the horror and thriller genres are typically reserved for the screen, Broadway can sometimes be a spooky place, where audiences have been left with their hearts racing, for one reason or another. Just like in film, horror theater productions often use their thrills and chills as social critiques. Read on if you dare…

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Theater’s ability to comment on social issues while leaving audiences breathless and entertained might just have reached its pinnacle with the nightmarish Sweeney Todd. It’s class warfare via cannibalism, when a barber back in London after 15 years of wrongful imprisonment starts killing those responsible while shaving them, and since the price of meat is otherwise too high (“ times is hard ”), his downstairs neighbor bakes the bodies into pies. Maybe the most horrifying part of Sweeney is how, as we learn about the wrongs committed against Mr. Todd and his wife and daughter, they’re just so awful that his string of murders feels almost…reasonable? It’s that moral dilemma that writers Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler explore in the show. Sweeney Todd came back to Broadway in spring 2023, in a Tony-nominated revival starring Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford. 

ghost story broadway

The first play of the 2023-2024 Broadway season, Grey House intentionally pulls from the American horror film oeuvre. Set during a blizzard in an isolated cabin inhabited by weird and precocious children, a collection of horror movie tropes that the play’s script acknowledges, the production utilizes jumpscares, eerie underscoring, and innovative special effects and makeup to scare theatergoers.

This adaptation of the George Orwell novel was infamously gory–it made Broadway audiences faint and throw up during its run in the summer of 2017. It used the book’s political dystopia as a basis for intense horror, divoting almost a third of its runtime to the ‘torture room’ sequences, unlike anything seen on Broadway before. 

The Pillowman

This 2004 murder mystery made playwright Martin McDonough a household name, with an incredibly dark story of a series of gruesome child murders that are eerily similar to the work of a murder mystery novelist. Particularly shocking to audiences was that, somehow, this play was also funny. 

On the surface, Stephen Karam’s 2016 play might seem like a typical Jewish American family drama, set at a contentious Thanksgiving dinner. But something else is lurking in this Chinatown walk-up apartment, as the floors start to creak. While it’s left ambiguous, there are some forces in The Humans that might not be, well…human.

Angel Street

Have you ever wondered, where did the term “gaslighting” come from? Its source is the 1938 play Gaslight , which premiered in New York in 1941 titled Angel Street , and was later a 1944 Hollywood film. On Broadway in 1941, Vincent Price played Mr. Manningham, a London aristocrat who secretly turns the gas lights in his mansion lower and lower over time for nefarious reasons– but when his wife Bella asks him, he says the lights haven’t been lowered, making her lose her mind. 

Sleep No More

Though not on Broadway, New York theatergoers have this McKittrick mainstay on the menu for their ghostly cravings. This immersive take on Macbeth lets you roam the halls of this abandoned hotel-turned-performance venue, which also has other productions besides Sleep No More running from time to time. 

Little Shop of Horrors

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken used tropes from B horror movies and creature features from the 1950s to create Little Shop , a parable about a poor flower shop assistant on Skid Row who raises a mysterious carnivorous plant he names after his crush, Audrey. A revival directed by Michael Mayer has been running off-Broadway at the Westside Theater since 2019, with a revolving door of stage notables playing Seymour, Audrey, and Orin the Dentist. Joy Woods of Six stars as Audrey – here’s her singing “Somewhere That’s Green” with Menken on the piano.

Across the pond, London audiences have had their fair share of scare with the following shows.

2:22: A Ghost Story

A woman hears noises through her baby monitor every night at 2:22 AM. She and her husband invite two close friends over to stay up and try to figure out what’s going on, and to prove that it’s not a ghost. That’s the concept for 2:22: A Ghost Story , which finished successful runs in the West End in 2021 and 2022, as well as Los Angeles in Fall 2022– it might even start terrifying Broadway audiences soon. 

The Woman in Black

This play by Stephen Mallatratt ran continuously in London from 1989 to 2023, for a total of 13,232 performances. It’s a chilling tale of a ghostly apparition and family trauma in Northern England, with a cast of only three actors playing dozens of parts. 

Mark Woods: More than a ghost story, a Broadway play written by Douglas Anderson graduate

ghost story broadway

Growing up in Northeast Florida, Levi Holloway had a twin sister. Or maybe we should say he still has a twin sister. He figures death doesn’t change this, that in so many ways she’s still a part of his life.

He talks to her every time he sees a play that’s now on Broadway.

Walk through New York’s Times Square and, among the sea of colorful billboards for musicals, you can find a purposefully haunting invitation to head to the Lyceum , the oldest continuously operating Broadway theater, for a play that one review described as “spin-chilling and unbearably tense.”

The posters for this play, with an eerie image of a girl in the middle, are all black-and-white, except for one red letter. The typeface has a hand-written feel to it.

“ Grey House ,” it says and, at the bottom, “written by Levi Holloway .”

From Douglas Anderson to Broadway

Holloway, 42, and his wife are in the process of moving from New York back to Chicago, where he’s lived most of his life since graduating from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in 1999.

He grew up in Middleburg, with one old brother and his twin sister. When he tells the story of a lifelong attraction to the horror genre, he often starts with how he got this interest from his father. When Levi was 5, his dad took him to a movie theater, not to see a Disney movie, but for a viewing of “ A Nightmare on Elm Street .”

As you might guess, he had trouble sleeping that night. The next day his father got him a subscription to Fangoria , a horror film magazine, so he could forensically break down fear and film.

His dad also was a big reader. And once Levi was able to read books, his father paid him $1 for every book he read. Comic books didn’t count. His father made suggestions, like Stephen King’s “The Stand.” And he gobbled them up. Decades later, Levi still appreciates the way King can tell a story.

“His prose is so comforting and sturdy,” Holloway says. “He’s very welcoming. And then, of course, he flips it and scares you.”

When Holloway got to high school, he decided he wanted to go to Douglas Anderson. His plan was to study visual arts. But when he got there, he switched to theater. His first acting teacher was Jan Wikstrom.

“She saved me in a certain way,” he said. “She definitely curated the artist in me and was such a guidepost for what I wanted to do with my life.”

Wikstrom, who now lives in California, remembers Holloway as this kid with hair down to the middle of his back. He was, she says, a bit of a rebel, with a bit of anger, balanced with a beautiful sense of wonder.

She says that when he stepped on a stage, his ability to get inside of the text of American playwrights — Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams — stood out, even at a school full of talented students.

“I’m going to use the g-word — gifted — not the other g-word,” she said, avoiding even saying genius. “That word is such a burden. But it was quite clear this guy was very, very, very gifted.”

She says at Douglas Anderson, he was “a rebel who found his home, his first artistic home.”

The theater bug also led him to leave his hometown, to head to DePaul in Chicago. He stayed there after college, embarking on what he calls a hyphenated career. By that he means that to make a living in theater, you do a lot of different things. For him, that included creating shows at the Bell School — one of the country’s oldest schools for deaf and hearing-impaired children.

To a degree, that is where he honed his skills as a playwright. To this day, it’s an integral part of how he thinks about how to tell a story on a stage. Even though he has moved far past elementary school plays, everything he writes is deaf and hearing integrated. He says he never writes abou t deafness. He writes of it. He writes plays that include deaf roles — including “Grey House.”

He didn’t write this play thinking it would be a commercial success. He certainly didn’t envision it as his big breakthrough, with performances at a big New York theater, with one of Broadway’s most in-demand directors (Joe Mantello) and a cast that includes Laurie Metcalf (a long and diverse acting resume but you may best know her as Jackie on “Roseanne”), Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Emmy nominee Paul Sparks (“House of Cards”) and Millicent Simmonds (a deaf actress who played Emily Blunt’s daughter in “A Quiet Place”).

He wrote this play with an intimate, 70-seat Chicago theater in mind.

He wrote it with his twin sister in mind.

More than a ghost story

Ashleigh stayed in Florida longer than Levi and, their older brother, Casey. She got married and had three children. She and her family ended up moving to Utah. That’s where they were living when, in 2016, she was killed in a car crash. She was 35.

Levi doesn’t get into the details of what happened — the driver of another vehicle eventually was sent to prison — but, without prompting, he brings up the loss of his sister. He does this often in interviews about “Grey House” because, for him, it’s hard to separate that loss from this play.

“She was killed and it suddenly sort of changed the whole architecture of who my family was, and who I was,” he said. “It made me pay a lot closer attention to moment-to-moment life.”

He didn’t exactly know what to do with all that unmooring grief. So he started writing. And he says that he didn’t so much as write a story as it poured out of him.

A ghost story, about much more than ghosts.

This is how the “Grey House” website describes the plot: “When a couple crashes their car in the mountains, they seek shelter in an isolated cabin. Its inhabitants, though somewhat unusual, are eager to make their guests feel right at home. But as the blizzard outside rages on and one night turns into several, the couple becomes less and less sure of what’s true — about their hosts, themselves, and why that sound in the walls keeps getting louder.”

Holloway doesn’t want to give away, or explain too much, but he adds, “Over the course of their stay, they realize that their whole lives they were heading to this cabin.”

It’s the most personal thing he’s ever written, something that he says “wears the jacket of horror,” but he doesn’t consider it to be horror. It’s more heart. It's about loss and it's about found family. It was written while he was both grieving and falling in love with his wife. And while his sister is all over its pages — he says every time he sees the show, it’s as if he’s talking to her — it has seemed to resonate with people in their own very personal ways.

It had a successful run in the small theater in Chicago in 2019, shortly before the pandemic shut down everything, including Broadway. But that Chicago run led to him being represented by an agency that pitched it for New York, which led to the coveted director, high-profile cast and current run at the historic, 900-seat Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street.

It opened May 30. Jan Wikstrom, Levi’s former teacher, was at one of the first shows.

They’ve stayed in touch through the years and talk nearly every week. After he wrote “Grey House,” he asked her if she’d read it. She laughs when she recalls that she was babysitting a grandson and decided to start reading in the middle of the night.

“I don’t want to say it’s a horror story,” she said. “It’s mystery, in the capital M deep sense. It’s the scary story that keeps you awake at night. It entertains, but it also turns our minds toward something we deeply need to consider as a culture.”

Instead of elaborating, she adds something that others say. She doesn’t want to give away any spoilers. You really need to see it.

She was there for one of the first Broadway performances , along with her husband and her children. She said she was so nervous before the curtain went up — more nervous, it seemed, than Levi.

“He was a cool kid,” she said. “And now he’s a cool grown man. … I’m so deeply happy and thrilled and proud.”

It’s no small feat to get any play — no singing or dancing, just dialogue – alongside the Broadway staple of glitzy musicals and revivals. But an original play like this? The New York Times touched on the rarity with a review that began, “ When it comes to plays that inspire fear, unsettle the audience or display horrific intensity, only a handful come to mind .”

Richard Margulies, a Jacksonville attorney, also went to New York to see “Grey House” (he’s who suggested I write about it). He coached Levi in Little League baseball. And Marguilies’ two sons, Alex and Adam, remain close friends with Levi and his brother.

Margulies echoes a sentiment I’ve seen elsewhere: “Grey House” is the kind of play that leaves you thinking about it days later. A story on said it “implants lingering questions that will sit in your mind long after the show has ended.”

To a degree, that’s what “A Nightmare on Elm Street” did to Levi at age 5. He knows it wasn’t exactly orthodox parenting. But he says he’s grateful to his dad. His father was, he says, a hard-ass, a biker who had a hard life. He also was his connection to baseball, books and, yes, horror.

Lives are complicated. Death doesn’t change that. Sometimes it illuminates it.

His father died before “Grey House.” But he’s there, too, in the pages and now on a Broadway stage.

Levi Holloway says, yes, it’s a ghost story. But it’s more about the ghosts of the living than the dead. And when he describes walking through New York and seeing a “Grey House” poster, it seems like a surreal moment capable of producing chills. But, at least when he’s recalling it, he sounds calm, cool. Or maybe it's more of a sense of wonder that this story poured out of him and ended up here.

“You see a poster — and there's your name on it — and you’re like, that seems good," he said.

mwoods @

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  • Walking With Ghosts Story

By turns a sensory recollection of a childhood spent in a now almost vanished Ireland, a subversive commentary on stardom ,  and – ultimately – a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that shape our destinies,  Walking with Ghosts  reflects a remarkable life's journey in all its hilarious and heartbreaking facets.

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Ghost Stories Tickets

Ghost stories.

Ghost Stories Tickets

About Ghost Stories

From the spooky to the scary, the macabre to the mysterious, the ghostly to the ghoulish, “Ghost Stories” will take visitors on an interactive tour of all things frightful in the Metropolitan Museum. Participants will travel across cultures and across time to see Flying Dutchmen and fearsome plaques, puzzling paintings, and fearful forests. We’ll look at Egyptian, American, and European works of art, to name a few, plus embark on activities and discussions. All the while, we’ll look at how different cultures depict the fearsome and the gruesome, in pursuit of what scares us…and why.

For the spooky season, we've added new tricks and new treats, from works of art we only visit during Halloween season, to new activities and giveaways

May 19th, 2023

April 27th, 2024

Museums and Galleries , Attractions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

ghost story broadway

Frequently asked questions

How long is ghost stories, where is ghost stories located.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The address is New York, NY, United States, 10028.

How much do tickets cost for Ghost Stories?

Tickets for Ghost Stories start at $45.

What's the age requirement for Ghost Stories?

The recommended age for Ghost Stories is 9+.

How do you book tickets for Ghost Stories?

Book tickets for Ghost Stories on New York Theatre Guide.

The Ghosts of Broadway

By Tim Dolan of Broadway Up Close Walking Tours

The beautiful theaters in our Broadway Theater District hold many secrets and stories within their walls. At my company, Broadway Up Close Walking Tours , we have spent years digging up Broadway’s past, theater by theater, to bring our guests even closer to the magic of Broadway. With Halloween upon us, it feels appropriate to look into the backstage nooks and crannies to see who may still be lurking in the dark…

Photograph for Mrs. Leslie Carter

The New Victory has had many different names since it opened in 1900. Originally known as The Theatre Republic when it was built by Oscar Hammerstein I, it was renamed for another Broadway producer shortly afterward—David Belasco. A little known fact is that there is a ghost still in residence at the New Vic, Mrs. Leslie Carter. She was once Belasco’s leading lady and an American stage and silent film actress. She was born Caroline Dudley but used the stage name Mrs. Leslie Carter throughout her career to spite her husband after a sensational and salacious divorce trial. She quickly rose to fame through her relationship with Belasco and starred in many of his shows. The staff here at the theater have seen and heard signs that she still hangs around the theater, even though she died in 1937. The person who’s experienced her presence the most is Colleen Davis, the New Victory Production Manager. Colleen tells a story about how the bow tie of a performer here a couple of years ago went missing. Moments before showtime, Colleen was walking into the dressing room with two of the crew members when all of the sudden, they saw a storage bin fly off of a shelf—flip 180 degrees in midair and land on its lid. When they carefully picked the bin back up, they saw that the missing bow tie was laying right there on the floor. They thanked Mrs. Leslie Carter for helping them find the missing prop and started the show.

Black and white photo of man in dark suit and priest collar

Belasco was an eccentric man and one of the founding fathers of our Broadway theater district, but he had one strange quirk: he was always dressed like a Catholic priest, even though he was Jewish! After moving out of The Theatre Republic, Belasco christened a theater on 44th Street The Belasco, in 1910. Shortly after Belasco’s death in 1931, it appeared he wasn’t finished with his theater. Just before the audience entered for the next opening night following his death, a strange sight was seen in the balcony—a priest! A man in priestly garb was seen standing at the balcony railing before he took his seat and disappeared. This priestly sighting happened for many opening nights afterward and was deemed a good omen for each production.

Belasco isn’t the only spirit to haunt this theater on 44th Street. Many eyewitnesses have recounted seeing a lady in a large, blue dress walking back and forth in the balcony. The woman seems to be one of Belasco’s ex-girlfriends who died in the building in 1925 when she stepped into the elevator to leave his office atop the theater. The elevator had malfunctioned and she fell to her death. During the run of Enchanted April in 2003, disruptive noise from the elevator shaft was heard onstage. Stagehands tried to take the elevator out of the shaft to stop the noise—only to find that the elevator had already been disconnected. Since then, paying loving homage to “the lady in blue,” costume designers for productions at The Belasco put one woman in a beautiful blue dress if they can.

Just across 42nd Street, opposite the New Victory Theater, sits one of the most lavish and oldest Broadway theaters: The New Amsterdam. This theater is perhaps best known for The Ziegfeld Follies . The Follies can best be described as a mash-up of today’s Saturday Night Live! , Radio City Christmas Spectacular and a Las Vegas extravaganza.

When The New Amsterdam curtain came down on the final edition of The Ziegfeld Follies in 1931, it seemed that the sequins, dance steps and songs would fade into the rafters of the beautiful interior for good. However, one woman apparently wasn’t content to leave her Broadway home just yet. In 1952, the night watchman of the theater was tinkering around onstage in the glow of the ghost light. On that particular night, the watchman heard the clicking of heels behind him. He turned to find a beautiful woman wearing a floor-length green beaded gown with a sash emblazoned with the word “OLIVE” across her chest and a blue glass bottle clutched in her hand. After a few brief words and some casual flirting, the woman turned around and disappeared before his eyes. After some research into the sash and costume, it appeared that the woman was none other than Follies dancer Olive Thomas!

Black and white photo of woman in large straw hat

Olive Thomas was in the Follies from 1915 to 1920. She became the “face of the Follies” and was swept up into the world of press and modeling for posters and advertisements. Mr. Ziegfeld took a special interest in Miss Thomas. A few years later, Olive married actor Jack Pickford and entered what many described as a tumultuous relationship. During a trip to Paris in 1920, tragedy struck. Pickford discovered Olive on the floor of their hotel bathroom. It appeared that Olive had ingested poison—found in a blue glass bottle lying next to her. Olive’s tragic end would become one of Broadway’s first scandals.

According to various accounts, there has been one sighting of Olive every decade since her first sighting in 1952. It is commonly known that actors are a superstitious lot, so, to keep Olive happy, a photo of her is displayed just inside the New Amsterdam stage door where performers and stagehands enter the building each night. Words of greeting to Olive are expressed by those who believe her spirit still lives on. The last sighting of Olive was during the run of Mary Poppins in 2006—so we are due for another glimpse anytime now. Watch out!

Photo of man smiling

Tim moved to the Big Apple shortly after graduating high school to pursue a career in the arts. On the small screen, Tim was featured on Season Two of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” Onstage Tim was the Dance Captain in the Off-Broadway revival of Once Upon A Mattress starring Jackie Hoffman and John “Lypsinka” Epperson. He also performed as Abraham in the long-running hit musical Altar Boyz . His other acting credits include the National Tours of Altar Boyz and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes as well as numerous regional credits. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. As an arts educator, Tim was on faculty at Rosie’s Theatre Kids, Rosie O’Donnell’s arts organization, as well as Dream Makers Performing Arts. Tim combined his passion for storytelling and Broadway history to create a series of walking tours of the Broadway theatre district in 2010. Broadway Up Close Walking Tours offers six different tours – including a brand new interior tour of Hudson Theatre, Broadway’s oldest theater. This past spring the new Broadway Up Close gift shop opened in Times Square complete with a six-foot-tall installation that spells out the word “Broadway” in marquee letters for the perfect photo opportunity for any theatre lover visiting Times Square.

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