If you have heard of Alicia Keys’s “Empire State Of Mind,” you would understand why a lot of people want to live their dreams in New York City and be big at their craft. People want to go to New York City because of the opportunities that it has and it is one of the most diverse states in the U.S. being dubbed as America’s melting pot.
Sunrise in New York City. (Link: https://unsplash.com/wallpapers/travel/new-york-city)
The most common dream that is lived in New York City is to be part of broadways, to produce music, and the like. Speaking of Broadway, New York City has 41 operating theatres. One of which is the New Amsterdam Theatre, which is visited not only for its plays but also for the ghost of a woman named Olive Thomas.
History Of New Amsterdam Theatre
The New Amsterdam Theatre is a Broadway Theatre that is located at 214 West 42nd Street in the Theatre District of Manhattan in NYC. It was built sometime in 1902 through 1903 and was a first of its kind because it used the architectural style called Art Nouveau. It fitted 1,800 people.
The New Amsterdam Theatre as seen from the outside in an old photo. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Amsterdam_Theatre)
The first show at the New Amsterdam Theatre is Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The building was used as the home of the Ziegfeld Follies from 1913 to 1927. The talents like Bert Williams, Eaton siblings, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Olive Thomas, and Sophie Tucker were part of the show. In 1936, the New Amsterdam Theatre closed because of the Great Depression in the United States.
A photo of the women who are part of the Ziegfeld Follies. (Link: http://www.boweryboyshistory.com/2009/01/podcast-ziegfeld.html)
By 1937, it was already used as a movie theatre. And in 1985, it was closed. However, The Walt Disney Company leased it a little after it was closed and they renovated it. It became the flagship for Disney Theatrical Productions presentations on Broadway.
The New Amsterdam Theatre remains to be one of the oldest surviving Broadways venues. The most popular show here is “Aladdin” and it even broke the house record at the said theatre in 2014.
A photo of the Aladdin production at the New Amsterdam Theatre. (Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-disney-conjured-up-a-strategy-to-make-aladdin-a-hit-around-the-world-1452561394)
The New Amsterdam Theatre is open 24 hours a day. As of writing, they are showing “Aladdin” until October 10.
The Ghost Of New Amsterdam Theatre
As earlier mentioned, the most common ghost that people might see at the New Amsterdam Theatre belongs to Olive Thomas. She was once a part of the Ziegfeld Follies as a chorus girl. Olive Thomas’s ghost is coined as one of the most active ghosts in the world.
Olive Thomas in an undated photo. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_Thomas)
Let’s first talk about the backstory of Thomas. She was born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania on October 20, 1898. When her father died in 1906, they had to stay with their grandparents in order for their mother to work. She left school when she was 15 so she could help support her siblings. By 16 years old, she was married to Bernard Krugh Thomas. They separated in 1913.
In 1915, she moved to New York City and was initially a commercial artist. She appeared on many magazine covers like The Saturday Evening Post.
She then became part of the Ziegfeld Follies. She was so attractive that she was part of the more risqué Midnight Frolic Show, where male patrons spent their money on these naked performers who had nothing but balloons to cover their body. Thomas was so popular that she received lots of gifts from these men. Allegedly, Olive also had an illicit relationship with Ziegfeld but called the relationship off when he would not leave his wife for her.
By 1916, she caught the eye of the higher-ups at the International Film Company and was offered a movie contract. She then went to California and later married Jack Pickford. In 1920, Thomas and Pickford went to Paris for a second honeymoon but when they out one night, they did nothing but to argue. Pickford left their hotel room and Thomas was left there. She grabbed a blue bottle of mercury bichloride, which was for Pickford’s syphilis. Thomas downed the bottle and died as a result.
Jack Pickford and Olive Thomas in an undated photo. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/380976449698331903/?lp=true)
An excerpt from a newspaper reporting the death of Olive Thomas. (Link: https://seeksghosts.blogspot.com/2016/04/olive-thomas-new-amsterdam-theatre-part_20.html)
It seems that Thomas found her way back in New York City because her ghost is so active that the staff at the New Amsterdam Theatre even put up photos of her at every entrance so that workers can greet her every morning and tell her goodbye when they leave work.
Whenever people see the ghost of Thomas, she is seen wearing a green beaded dress and she has a blue bottle in her hand. Allegedly, Thomas is only seen by men and she reportedly flirts with them.
A Security Guard’s Story Of Seeing Olive Thomas’s Ghost
The most famous story that involves the ghosts of Thomas belongs to a security guard. He worked at the New Amsterdam Theatre a few years ago. He called the Vice President of Disney Theatrical, Dana Amendola, at around 2:30 in the morning. He said that he saw a woman in a green beaded dress walking on stage and was carrying a blue bottle. The guard yelled at her and said she cannot be there. He claimed that the woman glided right through the wall and out onto the street.
Inside the New Amsterdam Theatre. (Link: https://www.musement.com/us/new-york/disney-on-broadway-exclusive-tour-behind-the-magic-with-new-amsterdam-theatre-5052/)
Olive Thomas Joins A Disney Staff Meeting
Another story also involves Amendola and the Disney staff while they were having a meeting. As the story goes, they were discussing the Oscar-winning film “The Artist.” They then talked about how many of the Ziegfeld Follies became film stars. When one of them mentioned the name of Olive Thomas, another said that the real star during their era was Mary Pickford, the sister of Thomas’s husband, and not Thomas.
After that, a stack of DVDs flew across the room and hit a wall. They believe that Thomas was responsible for this paranormal activity.
Olive Thomas Helps Out A Mother In Need
Although Thomas could be upset sometimes, as what has been mentioned above, she also helps some of the audiences.
One story claims that a mother asked for a booster seat for her child while they were watching a show. However, the staff did not give the seat immediately because they did not want to interrupt the show. They had to wait for the intermission to approach the mother again and give the booster seat. The mother noted, however, that they already have a booster seat and a woman at the back of the theater gestured to them where they could get what they need.
The staff was shocked because they do not have any staff at the back of the theater during the show. It is again believed that the woman who helped the mother and the child is the ghost of Thomas.
Olive Thomas Gives A Female Conductor A Sign
A female replacement conductor had to be part of one of the shows for Aladdin. The conductor then got ready and talked to Thomas. She spoke out loud saying, “Well Olive, I’m back again, and I’m a little nervous. I just wanted to introduce myself again and, ask if you could please give me some good luck. I wonder what the Follies girl would have thought of a female conductor?”
Shortly thereafter, the brand new bulbs at the dressing room flickered on and off for a few seconds. The conductor said it felt like Thomas was winking at her and was signaling that she was fine with the idea of a female conductor.
Dana Amendola On Olive Thomas
Amendola said that they embrace the idea that Thomas is really haunting the New Amsterdam Theatre. She said that Thomas is always playful but is never violent. Amendola added in a statement, “We’re in the business of happiness, and to have someone from so long ago acknowledging that she’s pleased makes us feel like we’re doing the right things.”