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Contemporary Irish Ghost Story Opens at SCT Center Stage

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Contemporary Theatre)

Springfield Contemporary Theatre will open 2015 with Conor McPherson's haunting, inspired Irish ghost story for our times, "Shining City" January 9-18 at SCT Center Stage at Wilhoit Plaza, downtown on the corner of Pershing and Robberson. Guilt-ridden John reaches out to a therapist after seeing the ghost of his recently deceased wife. Wrestling with his own demons, the therapist can only do so much to help. Routine visits between the two men quickly become a gripping struggle to survive, changing both of them for the rest of their lives.

"The writer, Conor McPherson, is a great believer in Irish ghost stories and he tells a lot of them," says the production's director David Rice.  "We've done a couple of them at SCT previously."

Jeff Carney plays the pivotal role of John.  On a basic level, he says, "the play is just about loneliness and redemption."  Jeff is best known as an operatic tenor, but lately he's been doing more non-singing dramatic roles. "It's been a nice change.  I've always thought I was a better actor than I was a singer anyway! With opera especially you're bound to the rhythm, the music, and it's hard to make that character your own.  What I've found in drama, especially working with directors like David, is that we have a chance--we can pause, we can play with the words. I still love opera, but this has been a nice interlude for me."

Also in the cast is Jordan Thomas as Ian, the therapist--who, David Rice says, "is fraught with a lot of his own problems.  His girlfriend (played by Whitney Ice), the mother of their daughter,  he wants to break up (with her)--it's the end of the relationship. And he has trouble reaching out and trying to make a connection with any other people."

This production contains adult language and subject matter. It opens Friday January 9 at 7:30pm and will run Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 and Sundays at 2:00pm through January 18. For ticket information call 831-8001 or visit

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning "Arts News." Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's "Ozzie Award" in 2006.