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‘Blithe Spirit’ opens Syracuse Stage season on Wednesday

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Syracuse Stage opens its 2013-14 season today with a funny ghost story accompanied by “ghostly legends.”

English playwright Noel Coward (1899-1973), wrote “Blithe Spirit” in just six days after his office and home were destroyed in the London Blitz in 1941, according to Syracuse Stage.

During rehearsals, only two lines from the play were dropped and none were altered. Mr. Coward called the result an “improbable farce in three acts.”

The play, which runs through Oct. 6, concerns novelist Charles Condomine, who enlists the eccentric Madame Arcati to hold a sťance at his home in hopes of raising some ideas for a new book.

Instead, she raises the ghost of his former wife, Elvira, who is determined to wreak havoc on Charles’s current marriage to Ruth.

Directing the production is Michael Barakiva, who previously directed “The Clean House” and “The Turn of the Screw” at Syracuse Stage.

“Blithe Spirit” was revived for four months on Broadway in 2009, earning Angela Lansbury her fifth Tony for her performance as Madame Arcati.

Continuing its seasonal partnership with Syracuse Stage, the Onondaga Historical Association has installed an exhibit, “Ghostly Legends & Haunted Happenings of Onondaga County,” available for viewing in Archbold Theatre’s Coyne Lobby throughout the run of “Blithe Spirit.”

The panel exhibit will explore some Syracuse-area ghost stories, including the apparitions in the corridors of the Landmark Theatre, the mysterious happenings in Elbridge’s Wayside Inn, the legend of a haunted bridge in Jamesville and Syracuse Stage’s own resident ghost, the “Lady in Red.”

The Syracuse Stage production of “Blithe Spirit” has a cast of seven: Jeremiah Wiggins as Charles Condomine, Jody Parsons as Ruth, Patricia Hodges as Madame Arcati, Gisela Chipe as Elvira, Curzon Dobell as Dr. Bradman, Elizabeth Ingram as Mrs. Bradman and Antonieta Pereira as Edith.

the details
WHAT: Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” at Syracuse Stage
WHERE: Archbold Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/Syracuse University Drama Theatre Complex, 820 E. Genesee St.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 26, 8 p.m. Sept. 27, 3 and 8 p.m. Sept. 28, 2 and 7 p.m. Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-3, 8 p.m. Oct. 4, 3 and 8 p.m. Oct. 5 and 2 p.m. Oct. 6
COST: A range of prices are available for adults, those 40 and under, senior citizens and students. For more information, contact the Syracuse Stage box office at 443-3275 or go to www.syracusestage.org.
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