Our first flagship wine is Ghostlight. Earthy and bold with notes of black cherry and star anise, this wine takes its name from the single lamp that illuminates all darkened theaters, a poignant reminder that even when the marquees are dim, the heart of Broadway remains lit.
The Seven Spring Pinot Noir tells the story of one of the legendary Oregon vineyard sites.
Complex aromas of pear and warm apple pie combine with hints of baking spice and are complemented by subtle toasty oak.
by Jennifer Tepper – Theater Historian, Producer
The ghost light is one of the theatre’s most mysterious traditions. Every night, after each show ends, a standing lamp is placed on stage. The lamp is often ornate, old-fashioned, and elegant, in stark contrast with the more practical technology on display in modern lighting systems for live performance. The ghost light typically has a singular bright bulb. Just like red velvet curtains, a gold proscenium arch, or a glittering marquee, a glowing ghost light is a trademark physical object at each theatrical venue. It is both practical and also symbolizes all that is magical about the world of theatre.
For more than a century, ghost lights have been present not only in Broadway houses, but also in thousands of other professional and amateur theaters, all over the world. Whether you are going to see Hamilton on Broadway or The Sound of Music at your local community theater, there is a ghost light.
When all of the other lights in each theater go dark, the ghost lights shine. If you visit backstage at a Broadway theater after the curtain comes down, you can stand on stage in its dim glow. Right now, the lights of all theaters are dark, but many ghost lights still keep the spirit of theatre alive inside.
There are quite a few theories on why each theatrical venue has a ghost light…
The most popular theory is that the lamp is there for the ghosts themselves. But does the light scare the ghosts away from haunting the theater? Or does it welcome them into the house and give them a spotlight? Theatrical folks are superstitious and there are many eerie theories of how ghost lights impact supernatural behavior inside each house.
One of Broadway’s most infamous ghost tales is about an apparition who wears a robin’s egg blue dress and haunts the Belasco Theatre on 44th Street. Supposedly, this blonde-haired spirit was once a chorus girl employed by eccentric producer David Belasco. She fell down the elevator shaft that historically led to his lair above the theater. Many theatre professionals of
the past few decades claim to have seen her haunting the house, but theorize that the ghost light keeps her from causing too much trouble.
Legend has it that the very first ghost light was installed after a burglar broke into a theater during the 19th century. While robbing the venue, he accidentally fell into the orchestra pit in the pitch darkness, and sued the theater’s owner. A singular light on stage was introduced as a result.
Another origin story claims that the ghost light was instated so that stage hands did not need to be called in to turn on other lights any time activity was taken place on stage. Some say the light was invented due to safety demands from actors, and others claim the light is in place due to fire safety requirements. Indeed, the ghost light is meant to comply with city fire laws, and some Broadway houses are required to have different types of ghost lights due to fire regulations.
It’s undeniable that part of the reason that the ghost light is in place is for safety. But this is not only to brighten the auditorium to prevent accidents—it is also because in the days of gas light, there was a need to keep one light on to relieve pressure in a theater building’s gas valves.
Today, the ghost light is a meaningful symbol for the theatre. It shines on in each house, keeping hope burning bright while the theaters wait to be filled with artists and audiences again.
Jennifer Tepper in New York City’s Time Square