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Overture Center puts on haunted virtual event just in time for Halloween

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Capitol Theater

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Overture Center for the Arts is putting on a virtual event that's sure to deliver on the frights just in time for Halloween.

"We're recreating the Overture Center as a virtual haunted house of sorts," said Alanna Medearis, the director for education and community engagement. "There will be opportunities for you to explore different parts of the building, especially parts of the building that usually are off-limits to the general public."

The event, which starts at 8 p.m. on Oct. 29, will feature spooky, pre-recorded videos, presentations, and bone-chilling performances. Medearis will be live from the Capitol Theater that evening, guiding the viewers through the experience.

"It's kind of a hybrid event of live, in-person interaction, and choose your adventure," she said.

The name of the event plays off a "ghost light," which is a safety measure used in theaters. The single bulb sits on the stage while the theater is dark and warns stagehands or others who are there after hours that the literal edge of the stage is nearby.

But perhaps, it's a guide for the spirits and apparitions that still supposedly walk the halls of the Overture.

The Overture has its fair share of haunted tales, including one about the ghostly presence of Timothy Hergor. Years ago, he booked performers at the Capitol Theater. He booked a dancer he liked and made a plan for her to fall through the stage's trap door, and he would nurse her back to health. The plan was discovered and never came to fruition. Now, they say, he haunts the floor below the stage, looking for his next dancer.

It's one of the many spine-tingling tales that may be featured on Thursday.

Jenny Maahs is a Madison native and makeup artist. She's also a paranormal researcher and psychic empath. Medearis recruited her to do some eerie stage makeup for some of the recorded performances, as well as talk about paranormal research.

"I was missing doing makeup without having a place to do it this year, not having haunts around and things like that," she said. "I was really excited to have the experience of and time to get to pull all my tools out and just play with it for the afternoon."

Maahs says theaters, particularly the ones inside the Overture Center, hold a lot of energy and spirits because of the time and effort that goes into performances and making the theater run.

"It takes me a little bit to kind of push it off in theaters," she said.

Anyone who's looking to have a spooky Thursday night, and maybe even learn about the Overture's history, can buy tickets for $10. The event is for people 16 and up.

"The pandemic has really hit the arts industry, particularly at Overture because we have so many touring shows and all of our resident companies," said Medearis. "This is a way to support the community, as well as help keep the arts alive in Madison."

Here is a link to tickets.

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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