In 1997, Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner took a tour of the closed and decaying New Amsterdam Theatre and said the 1903 building “must be restored.” Disney kicked in $36 million and received a 49-year lease on the theatre. In November of that year, “The Lion King” opened to rave reviews and would go on to win several Tonys in the upcoming awards year. I’ve posted a Disney Broadway excerpt before though. So let’s dive into the madness of this theatre. The New Amsterdam is said to be haunted. In 1952, a handyman was spooked by the appearance of a ghostly showgirl with a gold sash reading “Olive.” A Follies girl named Olive Thomas had committed suicide in Paris in 1920 after discovering her husband gave her an STD. Things began mysteriously moving backstage during the restoration period, and a woman’s voice asked a crewman “Hey – how’re you doin’?” But when he turned, nobody was there. In an office, staffers were discussing the silent film era, and one mentioned how Olive became a film star from the silent era, but one mentioned how her sister-in-law, Mary Pickford, was the REAL star of the silent era. A stack of DVDs on the table next to them crashed through the air immediately after without being touched. House manager Dana Amendola posts framed photographs of Olive Thomas inside all theatre entrances so employees can greet her to stay on her good side. Olive’s craziest fans try to hide in the theatre after shows so they can maybe get a glimpse of her, but the staff now completes a special sweep to catch them and escort them out.
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