Dan, played by Chris Murray, and Diana, played by Margeaux Ljungberg, rehearse in Juneau Douglas Little Theatre’s production of “Next to Normal” at McPhetre’s Hall on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Dan, played by Chris Murray, and Diana, played by Margeaux Ljungberg, rehearse in Juneau Douglas Little Theatre’s production of “Next to Normal” at McPhetre’s Hall on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

There’s a new name for Juneau’s longest-running theater

Say goodbye to Juneau Douglas Little Theatre

Juneau’s longest-running theater isn’t giving up the ghost.

The community theater formerly known as Juneau Douglas Little Theatre announced earlier this month that the company founded in Juneau in the 1960s changed its name to Juneau Ghost Light Theatre.

A ghost light is a light left on the stage of a theater when it’s unoccupied. It serves the practical purpose of illuminating an otherwise dark space, but is also tied to theatrical superstition.

“We are technically a nomadic theater, we bounce for venue to venue, and we feel it reflects theaters around the community leaving the light on for us to come out and perform,” said Heather LaVerne, president of the board of directors for Juneau Ghost Light Theatre, in an interview with the Capital City Weekly.

There were some other reasons for the name change, too.

The little theater referred to in the organization’s old name has been demolished. Also, the diminutive adjective used in the theater’s former name caused some confusion.

“A few people thought we were children’s theater due to the word little,” LaVerne said. “We aren’t a children’s theater. We have worked with younger actors before, but we don’t specifically work with kids.”

While the name is new, the group behind previous full-length productions “Next to Normal,” “Women Playing Hamlet” and “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche,” is sticking with its same annual fundraiser.

“Insomni-ACTS” formerly known as the “24-Hour Miracle” is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, May 25 at the Hangar Ballroom. Admission is $10.

The event tasks four writers with writing a scene in a single night before handing their work in to a director, who then rehearses the work with actors over the course of the day before the shows are performed.

[LGBTQ protection bill unlikely to make it to law this year]

“I’ve heard it described once as the extreme sports of theater,” LaVerne said.

While the resulting works are often at least a bit odd, LaVerne said they generally aren’t profane, and there is not a recommended age restriction for the audience.

“It can be very incredible,” LaVerne said. “We’ve had shows in the past about time travel, about people who were swallowed by a whale and were having jealousy issues down there. There’s been some very odd shows. It really depends on where the writer’s mind goes when they’re delirious in the wee hours of the morning.”

Writers and directors for the upcoming show are still being gathered, and so are actors.

LaVerne said it isn’t unheard of for an actor to decide they’re interested in participating the day of rehearsals. She said interested parties can reach out through Facebook and reach them at juneaughostlighttheatre@gmail.com.

“We definitely encourage people to sign up,” LaVerne said. “The more people who do, generally the better the show is.”

• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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