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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Enter the Rivoli Theatre - if you dare!

Already haunted venue gets scary makeover

By Allison Ruef - staff writer

Allison Ruef | Democrat
The Haunted Theatre Tour begins by climbing up this normally off-limits staircase to a trap door that you must knock on to gain entrance. We won't tell you what comes next...don't want to spoil the surprise!
SOUTH FALLSBURG — Each October at the Rivoli Theatre, home of the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop (SCDW), someone dies on stage.
“It's a tradition in honor of Halloween,” explains Jim Schmidt, technical director at the theatre.
In keeping with that tradition, the workshop will present “Postmortem,” a classic murder-mystery by Ken Ludwig on October 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 and for the first time, is hosting “Haunted Theatre” tours, an 18-stop journey through the bowels of the theatre, guaranteed to spook even the bravest of Halloween revelers.
The Haunted Theatre tours kicked off on October 1 and will be offered again on October 22, 23 and 24.
“Postmortem,” set in 1922, tells the tale of the cast of William Gillette's latest Broadway revival of "Sherlock Holmes,” who have assembled for a weekend of relaxation at his magnificent medieval castle on a bluff overlooking the Connecticut River.
For entertainment, heartthrob William Gillette, best known for his 30-year portrayal of the famous crime sleuth Sherlock Holmes, has arranged a séance - only someone is trying to murder Gillette, and he suspects it is one of his guests.

The Haunted Theatre Tour takes those who dare throughout the theatre - upstairs through the many rooms of the large theatre and into the dark, dank basement. The journey features 18 blood-curdling scenes, including a visit to a creepy surgeon, crematorium, mad scientist, butcher and more - all of which are not for the faint of heart.
The tour was created by Dawn Perneszi of Hurleyville, who along with her six sisters enjoyed playing Dracula as children (and also enjoyed playing practical jokes on each other).
Coming up with the scenes throughout the tour wasn't difficult. According to Perneszi, she simply asked herself, “what are people afraid of?” Darkness, spiders, tight spaces, and the presence of death and the unknown are incorporated into the tour.
According to Schmidt, the theatre doesn't need much help when it comes to haunting - there are two ghosts in residence already.
“Vladimir” is a gypsy and “the Queen” is the official grand dame of the venue, who often expresses her dissatisfaction by making the lights flicker on and off, creating disturbances backstage and breaking things that shouldn't be broken.
“Every building has a life of its own,” explains Schmidt. “No on has died here for real, so we don't bother them, and they don't bother us - too much.”
The Haunted Theatre Tours continue on October 22, 23 and 24 and cost $5 per person. Tours begin at 6 p.m. and run until 9:45 p.m., for ages 13 and up only.
“Postmortem” will be performed on October 9, 10, 11 and 16, 17 and 18, and the cost is $10 per person. Showtime is Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
For more information, visit or call 845-436-5336.

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