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Arts and Entertainment

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