By: Sharon Aron Baron
Tony Award-nominated actor Rob McClure gave Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas drama department a special ghost light that is traditional in Broadway productions.
Last semester, after students and parents from the school were invited to attend the South Florida production of the musical Something Rotten! that McClure was starring in, a student asked him about the light that appeared at the front of the stage.
He responded that it was called a ghost light and said it was a Broadway tradition to have one. Parent Eric Appel said that the tradition is you leave a light on for the ghosts of the characters when they leave the theater after every performance. Kim Russell, stage manager for Legally Blonde tells Playbill, “Mostly its safety, just because they turn everything off at night. You’ve got the edge of the stage leading to the orchestra pit, and if there weren’t any lights and someone were to get in accidentally, it would be really easy to just walk off the edge of the stage and fall. It could be dangerous.”
McClure asked the students if they had a ghost light at the school. They responded “no”, so he told them that he would have one made and sent to Parkland.
McClure was true to his word and the ghost light was unveiled at Wednesday night’s drama booster meeting where Melody Hertzfeld, Director of the Drama Department, read the attached plague to the parents and students:
“The Ghost Light
May this lamp, of hallowed tradition, light the way for the students and faculty of MSD as they, in turn, enlighten, inspire, and uplift audiences with the stories they choose to tell upon this stage.
With Love, Rob McClure & The Company of Something Rotten.”
McClure’s first starring role on Broadway was in 2012 as Charlie Chaplin in the musical Chaplin where he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. He’s also had various roles in Avenue Q and starred in Honeymoon in Vegas, Noises Off! as well as in Something Rotten!
Appel said that he has had the pleasure of becoming friends with McClure and considers him a friend for life. “What a fantastic human being,” he said.