‘Ghost of a Chance’ Haunts The Barn at Brooke Hills Playhouse

Cast members, from left, Diana Mendel, Destiny Walsh and Kayley Ohler rehearse for the Brooke Hills Playhouse production of the Flip Kobler-Cindy Marcus comedy, “Ghost of a Chance.”

WELLSBURG — The cast and director of the Brooke Hills Playhouse’s 48th season-opening production of the Flip Kobler-Cindy Marcus comedy, “Ghost of a Chance,” are haunting the former pre-Civil War apple barn in Brooke Hills Park with spectral laughter as they rehearse for the show, which opens this weekend.

Performances for the first weekend of “Ghost of a Chance” will follow the Playhouse’s usual days and times, with shows at 8 p.m. today, Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. The second weekend of the play, there will be no performance on Friday, June 21, two performances on Saturday, June 22, one at 2 p.m. and and another at 8 p.m., with a final performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 23. Reservations are available by calling or texting the Playhouse at 304-737-3344.

According to director Chelsey Barnhart of Follansbee, the cast of Playhouse veterans and one newcomer are having no problems dealing with the ghostly goings-on in the script. “None of the cast has had any issues with the supernatural elements of the show,” Barnhart said. But she admitted “There are some key scenes that evoke emotions from all the cast members because they deal with some more serious issues in the story.

“The writers lean toward quick interactions between the characters for the comedic elements of the story, but Kobler and Marcus also address the more poignant parts, so the timing, pacing and rhythm definitely change in some of the scenes.” Barnhart explained, offering assurances that, “The show is nicely balanced between the comedic and more dramatic elements.”

“Ghost of a Chance” is named for “Chance,” Bethany’s deceased first husband, who still haunts the mountain cabin where he died in a hunting accident. Bethany brings her new fiance, Floyd, and Floyd’s mother, Verna, to the cabin, and Chance is not happy, making that clear to Bethany, the only one who can see him as he attempts to break up the new couple.

Barnhart noted that, unlike some other shows dealing with the supernatural, “Ghost of a Chance” is not heavily reliant on special effects. “We do have a couple of special effects but we’re fortunate to have board members with incredible expertise in that area of production, and they have made the effects easier to accomplish” she noted.

Barnhart also said that the windstorms that recently damaged the theater were not a major obstacle to the production, either. “Even though S and J Contracting of Wheeling finished the main repairs in May, it has been just a little different starting our season in mid-June but we’ve managed to work around any such issues,” she said.

One reason for the lack of major issues in the production has been the cast’s full cooperation, despite some major scheduling challenges. “Everyone involved in this production has had conflicts,” Barnhart said. “Most of the cast members have multiple demands on their time, as do I.

“I cannot thank my cast enough that, despite life challenges, they made this show a priority and have put so much time and effort into making this show a success,” she said.

This year, the season passes to Brooke Hills Playhouse productions will be available all season long at the pre-season prices.

Donations continue to be accepted for the Playhouse’s “Save the Barn” campaign. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Brooke County Arts Council and should be sent to P.O. Box 186, Wellsburg, WV 26070 with “Save the Barn” written on the memo line of the check or money order.

Municipal Mutual Insurance is the Playhouse’s 48th season sponsor.


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