Blithe Spirit, a classic comedy by Noel Coward, will be presented at West Springfield’s Majestic Theater February 24 through April 3. The opening of the show follows a brief hiatus in the Majestic’s 24th season of live theater that was caused by an uptick in reported cases of COVID in the region.
The story focuses on Charles, a socialite and successful writer who is researching the occult for his latest novel. He arranges for clairvoyant Madame Arcati to hold a séance in his home, during which she inadvertently summons the ghost of Charles’ first wife Elvira, who has been dead for seven years. Only Charles can see or hear Elvira; his current wife Ruth doesn’t believe Elvira exists. The ghostly Elvira makes ongoing efforts to disrupt the marriage, including sabotaging Charles’ car in the hopes that he will join her in the spirit world. Instead, it is Ruth who is killed in the car, and her ghost immediately comes back for revenge on Elvira.
Producing Director Danny Eaton feels certain the play will lift the spirits of its audience. “We’re really glad to be reopening our doors after closing for a few weeks when COVID numbers were climbing in our area,” he stated. “We were very dismayed to reschedule our January play, Betty and the Patch, for June of this year, but it really made sense, given the circumstances, and our mission to help keep attendees, performers and staff in good health. We, along with everyone else, feel weary at times due to the pandemic, but Blithe Spirit will provide great laughs and we think audiences will really enjoy this solid comedy.”
Eaton reported that the down time was put to good use to upgrade amenities at the venue. “We’ve installed all new carpeting, stage lighting and sound equipment. New chairs have been ordered, and new HVAC systems are improving air quality throughout the theater and café. We’ve been very busy during the time we’ve been closed,” he stated.
The cast of Blithe Spirit includes Fleece (Ruth), Russell Garrett (Charles), Jeannine Haas (Madame Arcati), Sara Corbyn Woolf (Elvira), Stuart Gamble (Dr. Bradman), Christine Voytko (Mrs. Bradman) and Caelie Flanagan (Edith). Understudies include Myka Plunkett, Jack Grigoli, and Alexandra O’Halloran.
Sue Dziura, who is the associate producing director, is directing the play, Stephen Petit is production stage manager, and set design is by Greg Trochlil. Costume designer is Dawn McKay, Dan Rist is lighting designer and Aurora Ferraro is the associate production manager.