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Ghost Light (Lincoln Center Theater)

Members say: Ambitious, Great staging, Enchanting, Clever, Absorbing

About the show

Third Rail Projects, the immersive performance company behind 'Then She Fell' and 'The Grand Paradise,' invites audiences to explore the world on the other side of the proscenium.

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'Ghost Light' is a performance about performance which navigates through a series of real and dreamlike landscapes beyond the footlights, the glitter, and the greasepaint. It is a benevolent haunting that reflects on the smoke and mirrors, superstitions, and stage magic that conjure the mystique of the theater. Note: Audience members will be moving for most of the performance. Standing, walking, climbing stairs, staying in confined spaces, and being separated from your party are all part of the experience. Wear comfortable footwear. Due to adult content, the show is recommended for ages 14 and up.

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

The New York Times

"These wandering souls are doomed to an eternity of narcissism, yet there is something they love even more than themselves. That would be the theater. And anyone who shares that obsession will want to spend the enchanted two hours in their company provided by 'Ghost Light'...This production traffics in, and transcends, the enduring clichés of a profession, finding a hypnotic circularity in a craft that is, after all, about recreating the same images and words night after night after night." Full Review


"'Ghost Light' is a site-specific play that seems like it would rather be anywhere else except the site for which it was specifically made...The actors bravely deliver monologues that range from cliché-riddled to completely incoherent...Morris and Willett's most impressive feat is the coordination of several overlapping scenes...It's not that there couldn't be an immersive experience in the Claire Tow, but 'Ghost Light' feels tailor-made for somewhere else entirely." Full Review


"A romantic tribute to a style of theatre that made box offices buzz over a hundred years ago...An enchanting tribute to the world of greasepaint and powder...Sixteen engaging and talented ensemble members perform various vignettes pertaining to the day to day events of a life in the theatre...If there's anything to be learned by ‘Ghost Light,’ it's that the magic of theatre occurs only when you're willing to suspend all disbelief." Full Review

Time Out New York

"There are many captivating sequences in 'Ghost Light’s' mix, especially those we watch from some distance...But the writing and choreography of the constituent parts lean toward the generic—a mash-up of Shakespeare, an idea of a longing pas de deux—and the language is often too stiff to be delivered conversationally at close range...Still, 'Ghost Light' is a hugely ambitious undertaking and a flat-out wonder of coordination. Even when it creaks a bit, you have to admire the spirit." Full Review

New York Theater

“There is more to ‘Ghost Light’ than an impressive feat of coordination…The show takes its cues from the elaborate and oft-mystical theatrical lore…The cleverness of one monologue suggested to me how much more ‘Ghost Light’ could have taken advantage of the centuries’ worth of words that is as much a part of theatrical legacy as its ghosts…Third Rail’s effective and engaging evocation of life in the theater is such a terrific idea that they could take it on the road.” Full Review

AM New York

"The audience takes a backstage tour of the recently constructed Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center, which is made to resemble an old-fashioned playhouse. There they meet haunting spirits...These characters provide intriguing tidbits about their lives and theatrical folklore, but their monologues often drag and lack focus. That being said, the show offers a rare opportunity to see the parts of a theater that are typically off-limits and unacknowledged work that goes into a production." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"The intention is clear—or seems to be for much of the time. Morris and Willett want to acquaint ticket buyers with what they don’t ordinarily see...That’s all well and good—and even amusing from time to time. But it doesn’t explain the interludes where some cast members break into song or into dance routines...Often with immersive theater, a curious effect takes hold...The result too frequently is that the silent audience members become awkwardly docile...It’s not a flattering circumstance." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"If you are looking for shocking moments or a visceral experience, this is not the kind of interactive production for you. All in all, this is a quieter, more cerebral piece than others of its ilk...What is remarkable is how well everything has been planned out and staged so that while specific moments may seem random, everything falls into place as a compelling whole...Truly this is a collaborative effort by the entire company...All contribute to the singular experience that is 'Ghost Light.'" Full Review

Broadway & Me

"The split-second timing of the choreography is astonishingly impressive...While I enjoyed their individual glimpses into how shows get put together it's hard to connect those scenes into a satisfying narrative...We all came together in the end for a finale that stretched on a bit too long. But despite the above carps, I still left the theater with a smile on my face. What can I tell you. It's impossible for someone like me to resist this kind of theatrical magic." Full Review


"Third Rail and Lincoln Center? It’s an alliance that sounds unholy at first blush, but ultimately proves felicitous...Some of the segments evolve into indulgent performance art pieces that unnecessarily bog down 'Ghost Light'...On the other hand, Third Rail is more liberal here letting audience members 'get our hands dirty,' something I wasn’t anticipating...What theatergoer wouldn’t be enticed by a backstage pass to this opulent venue, seasoned with just a touch of the supernatural?" Full Review

Stage Buddy

“One of the greatest achievements of this production is how they are able to infuse a space with nonexistent history…The show runs like a well oiled machine…Even though audience participation isn’t heavy or obligatory, the show has a strange quality that allows one to be completely at ease…‘Ghost Light’ is the rare show that feels like it would be rewarded from a repeat visit, it’s the kind of show that you want to get lost in regardless of the consequence.” Full Review

The Washington Post

"The type of interactive show that should be replicated in every theater town in the country with a yen to take audiences by the hands — literally — and remind them of what the stage can do that no other entertainment platform can. The beguiling images and encounters it catalogues feel as if they’ve been designed specifically with you in mind...The effect is hypnotic and you should know, the interaction is only as invasive as you want it to be." Full Review

This Week in New York Blog

"An unpredictable journey through nearly every nook and cranny of the Claire Tow...The two-hour show has a premise involving ghosts that never quite comes to fruition, but most everything else is a complete blast...In many ways, it’s like a miniature 'Sleep No More,' except you can’t follow your own path. 'Ghost Light' shines a fun and fascinating light on the creation of theater, mysterious ghosts and all." Full Review


"The most powerful parts of the experience are the intimate monologues, when we sit with performers who describe one moment: maybe it's the writing of a scene, maybe it's the moment a needy actor thinks back on her roles. 'Ghostlight' is enthralling not only because it brings us inside the warren of rooms normally off-limits to the audience—but because it also brings us inside the minds and hearts of the actors and playwrights and ushers who inhabit them." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

“I think they’re trying to speak to the universality of theatre, but somehow get sidelined into the generic. Which is a shame because there are plenty of moments imbued with magic…About halfway through I realized it was just a series of pastiches and wasn’t going to offer more than that…I do feel like there was a through-line, or a central conceit, missing. I think perhaps they got a little stuck on the concept of ghosts.” Full Review

Village Voice

“Third Rail was originally the project of a group of dancers, and several hit shows later that pedigree is still evident; the ensemble privileges physical theater, treating language as an afterthought. But my favorite parts are the most verbal…A collaboration among many craftspeople with diverse skills. For two hours it keeps you so busy running and climbing, fielding flying props and taking orders from people you’ve barely met, that you manage to forget the mess in the outside world.” Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Creative, Ambitious, Delightful, Exquisite, Great staging

See it if you like immersive theater. This time in Lincoln Center. An unique experience.

Don't see it if you are in bad shape. You have to walk and i saw people struggling.

Also So beautiful to live an immersive play in Lincoln Center. It is incred... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Dizzying, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy immersive theatre. You like Third Rail Projects. You want to see something different and aren't afraid of getting out of your seat

Don't see it if you want to see a play, or want to see LCT3 do what they've done before. You don't like works-in-progress.

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy Third Rail's other productions like the brilliant "Then She Fell". While the plot here is not quite as defined, there is a story.

Don't see it if you don't like immersive theater, or are hoping to actually get onstage -- you're everywhere in the theater, it seems, but there!

Absorbing, Clever, Enchanting, Resonant, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of the Third Rail Project. The cast had many familiar faces and were more seasoned than ever. The execution was impeccable.

Don't see it if you prefer traditional theatre.

Confusing, Fascinating, Intricate

See it if you love immersive theater and are a long-time participant in live theater in any capacity.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy stairs or plot-less, avante garde offerings.

Also Audience logistics in this piece alone are a spectacle to behold. Cert... Read more Read less

Fascinating, Haunting, Amazing logistics

See it if you like participatory immersive theater that takes you all over the space, including dressing rooms, the fly, backstage and hallways.

Don't see it if you need a linear story or have a problem walking, climbing stairs or perching in small spaces.

Also I really loved this. It could have used some edits, but it was a thoro... Read more Read less

Inventive, Banal, Disappointing, Great staging, Somewhat boring

See it if you love site-specific and interactive theatre, up close & intimate, and enjoy episodic vignettes rather than a linear play.

Don't see it if you like traditional theatre with dialogue, conflict, and structure; don't care for experimentation; and don't like dance elements involved.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if You aren't shy about participating in the show, enjoy choreographed scenes. A great mix of acting, dance, and immersive theater.

Don't see it if You need to sit in an audience or need a cohesive story line.

Clever, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if it's a trippy series of vignettes, most of them silly but entertaining. The astonishing achievement is the precision of the choreography.

Don't see it if for anything resembling a plot; or if you dislike: moving for each scene, standing, or interacting w the players. Goes on way too long.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Riveting, Great staging, Immersive

See it if you're ok with atmospheric vignettes taking precedence over plot, and you don't fear a little audience participation

Don't see it if you don't want to be on your feet roaming for 2+ hours, or you're expecting a linear plot - this is no traditional affair

Absorbing, Epic, Quirky, Indulgent, Entertaining

See it if you are a fan of theater and all the things that happen behind the scenes.

Don't see it if dance/movement is not your thing (from the actors, not participants) or if you don't like being mainly on your feet for 2 hours.

Ambitious, Enchanting, Refreshing, Entertaining, Fun

See it if you love immersive theatre, and theatre magic in general. It took a little while to get going but then it reeled me in. Totally enchanting.

Don't see it if you're not into immersive/participatory theatre and are unable to or don't want to move around throughout the space.

Also The Taming of the Shrew mock rehearsal was a blast. I went to the late... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful

See it if you are not an actor, and want a glimpse of what it is like to be backstage. Truly, "the roar of the greasepaint, the small of the crowd".

Don't see it if you are not comfortable walking in narrow, dark hallways for 2 hours, and participating with groups.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Disappointing

See it if Parts of this experience were incredible. I loved getting to be backstage at the Claire Tow. It was a fun experience, overall.

Don't see it if Parts of it didn't work for me. Some scenes seemed like filler and dragged. It felt like it kept building, but there was never any payoff.

Ambitious, Clever, Cliched, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you want a rare glimpse of the goings-on back-stage of a theatre... courtesy of some theatre ghosts.

Don't see it if you'll be uncomfortable w/immersive theatre, where actors interact w/you, some participation is required & you're constantly on the move.

Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You love the magic of theater an its creation and are willing to be transported into a backstage world ingeniously created here.

Don't see it if You cannot endure some repetition of themes and/or despise any audience interaction, even if appropriate and minimal.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Enchanting, Confusing

See it if You're interested in new dramatic forms that break the 4th wall & use audience interaction & non-linear storytelling to romanticize theatre.

Don't see it if You intensely dislike all interactive theatre (e.g., Sleep No More), especially pieces that have you moving around for over two hours.

Enchanting, Great acting, Masterful, Must see, Great staging

See it if What a brilliant, immersive experience! Seamless transitions of the audience among the various spaces. I forgot about the outside world,

Don't see it if You are a first-time show seer. This may be a bit advanced.

Creative, Ambitious, Entertaining, Fun, Experiential

See it if you enjoy creative participatory experiences, great venues choreography and acting.

Don't see it if you need a story to link the different scenes or a semblance of a plot. A couple of scenes are not as great.

Also The timing/choreography of these actors alone is something to marvel a... Read more Read less

Enchanting, Epic, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Great staging

See it if You are a lover of theater! Every possible space was used in this immersive production! To experience the story of the ghost light - See it!

Don't see it if Not willing to give yourself to the imagination & creativity of this play. You will be walking up stairs, be in the dark & will take part.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Entertaining, Fun

See it if You enjoy immersive theater. Very cool unique experience that puts you in the middle of the action.

Don't see it if More of a theatrical 'experience' than a regular play. The story is weak & some scenes are slow & unnecessary.

Also Would have been incredible if they had a stronger story, but altogethe... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Clever, Innovative, An exquisite piece about living a life in the theatre

See it if you enjoy experimental theatre, especially immersive theatre. This is an exquisite piece of theatre that lets you draw your conclusions.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy immersive theatre. Or if you don't want to be walking or standing during the course of the production.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Enchanting, Must see, Great staging

See it if you want to see stunning use of stage and brilliant theatrical devices combine to make a fully satisfying piece of theatre

Don't see it if you can't stand and walk a little

Ambitious, Clever, Refreshing

See it if you want an immersive theater experience with an impressive ability to move over 100 audience members around seamlessly.

Don't see it if You prefer to stay seated, don't enjoy interactive theater, or may have trouble climbing stairs.

Also The production was impressive but the Claire Tow seemed a little too n... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Indulgent, Great staging

See it if You enjoy abstract & existential forays into the bones and ghosts of a theater, complete with monologues and interpretative dance. Seamless

Don't see it if You dislike audience interaction, shows where everything is left up to interpretation and abstract and lots of interpretative dance parts.

Also This nontraditional show was impressive in how seamlessly it flowed. T... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (28)