Metro Theater Company Presents GHOST At The Grandel Theatre
Metro Theater Company presents the rolling world premiere of Ghost at the Grandel Theatre in the Grand Center Arts District, Feb. 2 - March 1.
Adapted by award-winning playwright Idris Goodwin, Ghost is based on the 2016 bestseller of the same name by New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Award honoree Jason Reynolds.
Ghost is a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature and was nominated as one of America's best-loved novels by PBS's The Great American Read.
The premiere is made possible by a PNC Foundation grant through the PNC Arts Alive initiative. PNC Arts Alive is a multi-year initiative of the PNC Foundation that challenges visual and performing arts organizations to put forth their best, most original thinking to expand audience participation and engagement.
"A thriving arts community bolsters our economy and provides personal value to all of us who live, work and play in Greater St. Louis," said Michael Scully, PNC regional president for St. Louis. "Programs like Metro Theater Company's Ghost introduces theatre to new audiences and future theatre talent."
Ghost, like so many of Reynolds' other award-winning young adult novels, has experienced enormous popularity not only because of Reynolds' authentic voice and writing style, but also because he writes about real issues for young readers. In Ghost, running track is used as a powerful metaphor, exploring the ever-present question: are you running from something or toward something?
Goodwin's compelling adaptation not only artfully translates Reynolds' track metaphor from the page to the stage, but the play also offers something unique in itself: a play for young audiences with a largely African American cast, set in the present.
As Goodwin stated in a Sept. 2019 interview, "A lot of plays that get done that have predominantly African American casts are plays about the past. Plays about the civil rights movement and earlier. This is a play about right now, the challenges of right now."
Running is all that Castle Cranshaw, a.k.a. "Ghost," has ever known, but he runs for all the wrong reasons until he meets Coach, who sees something in him: raw talent. Ghost follows Castle as he tries to stay on track, literally and figuratively, harnessing his aptitude for speed on an elite local track team while battling the difficult realities of his past and present. Ghost also highlights the importance of allyship. As his teammates become friends and Coach stands in as a father figure, Castle finds a place where he belongs. Genuine, inspiring, and entertaining, everyone, regardless of age or background, will easily relate to the play.
The play has been co-commissioned with Nashville Children's Theatre, which first presented the play in Feb. 2019. Unique to the St. Louis production of this rolling world premiere are post-show events Sunday, Feb. 2, and Sunday, Feb. 9.
On Feb. 2, Matthew Carter, the real-life inspiration for the title character in Ghost, participates in a panel discussion with Paralympian and Washington University in St. Louis professor Kerri Morgan and the play's creative team immediately following the matinee performance.
On Feb. 9, MTC partners with We Stories, St. Louis, Missouri Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and Books n Bros for a post-show conversation with community leaders about the resonance in this story and the lived experiences of young people in the St. Louis region today.
St. Louis director, actor, and theater professor at UMSL Jacqueline Thompson, who recently directed Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963 at COCA, directs Ghost. The seven-member cast portrays multiple characters. The cast includes Rae Davis; Joe Hanrahan; Alicia Revé Like; Carl Overly, Jr.; Ernest Emmanuel Peeples; Jaz Tucker; and Jarris L. Williams.
Metro Theater Company co-commissioned Ghost with Nashville Children's Theatre. The full 18 month-long rolling world premiere includes productions in Nashville by Nashville Children's Theatre, Louisville by StageOne Family Theatre, Atlanta by Alliance Theatre, Chicago by Adventure Stage Chicago, and St. Louis by Metro Theater Company.
Ghost is a 70-minute production (with no intermission), followed by a 10-minute Q&A between the cast and audience. The play is recommended for ages 10 and up.
Tickets are $14- $20, and are available now through MetroTix at 314-534-1111 or https://www.metrotix.com/events/detail/metro-theater-company-ghost
PNC Arts Alive is the presenting sponsor of Ghost. Since introduced, PNC Arts Alive has provided a total of $2.75 million to support 102 programs to increase access to arts and culture in the St. Louis region. For more information on PNC Arts Alive and the grant recipients, visit http://www.pncartsalive.com.
Ghost is also supported in part by Whitaker Foundation and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional major support is provided by Arts & Education Council, Berges Family Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, and Regional Arts Commission. The Grandel Theatre is a Kranzberg Arts Foundation venue in Grand Center.