Lobero Ghostlight Society
What is a ghostlight? As described in the program: “Ghostlight is named for a theatrical tradition dating back to Shakespeare’s old globe, the ghostlight is a bare bulb atop a rudimentary pole which stands at center stage, lit by the last person to leave the theater each night and extinguished by the first to arrive in the morning. Though stark in stature and artless in form, the ghostlight fulfills many functions – both practical and supernatural.”
Or a more flowery version: “After the curtains have fluttered shut, the audience has shuffled out and the last costumes have been draped back on the rack, the house lights go dark. The spotlights go dark. The footlights go dark. But one lamp glows through the night. Every night. The Ghostlight.” As executive director David Asbell said, “Every theatre in North America has one.”
The Lobero Ghostlight Society has been around since 1924, when a core group of donors were responsible for rebuilding the Lobero Theatre. They pledged their time, talent, and treasure to keep the arts alive. Currently, there are 23 community organizations and two corporate ones that use the Lobero as a home stage.
The Society recently had a black-tie affair that began with cocktails and dinner at the Wine Cask restaurant to induct as Luminaries two outstanding figures in our community, Tim and Louise Casey. When it came time for Jim Morouse to present the award, he joked Casey’s were noted not for time, talent, and treasure but trees. They underwrote and traveled to Visalia to select lovely fungus-resistant and age-appropriate Ascolano Olive trees that now replace and stand in front of the theatre.
The Lobero has been thanked for saving the original trees. Good job! Their support has been on going through the years. Other philanthropic luminaries have been Lillian and Jon Lovelace, Anne and Michael Towbes, Lyn and David Anderson, baroness Leni Fe Bland, and George Burtness.
Morouse also remembered he took his wife on a first date in Seattle to see a k.d. lang concert. That was 20 years ago. And now following a delightful dinner, the 75 diners walked across the street to the theatre for a lang concert. She was celebrating the 25th anniversary of her GRAMMY award-winning album Ingenue, and is doing a 19-city tour with the Lobero probably being the smallest hall. The two-disc set has been re-packaged and re-mastered. It was a platinum-selling record. Lang first appeared on stage as a cowgirl singer with a golden voice. She soon became a crooner who was known for “Constant Craving”. Among her many credits is a collaboration with Tony Bennett in 2002. He says of lang: “She’s the best singer of her generation.”
Some of the folks attending this special evening were Bitsey and Dennis Bacon, Rynell Cook and Cameron Casey, Michael and Nancy Casey, Mike and Lisa Schlagel, Sarah and Roger Chrisman, Chana and Jim Jackson, Leslie and Frank Schipper, Jean Schuyler, and Linda and Doug Wood.
The 145-year-old Lobero Theatre is lit up 150 nights a year. Jose Lobero would have been proud!