"THE HAUNTING OF WINCHESTER" explores the legend of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, and her "Winchester Mystery House", one of the most famous "haunted" houses in the world. The plot revolves around Sarah's relationship with the ghost of Jack Kerrigan, a gunfighter who was killed by a man armed with a Winchester rifle and who has sworn to revenge himself on Sarah. Unfortunately for Kerrigan, he himself is haunted by the ghosts of the men he killed, all clamoring for revenge as well. At first, the recently widowed Sarah is too preoccupied to notice the spirits around her. But as she begins to add on to her house, the voices become clearer. And when Kerrigan forces her to face the fact that she is living “high on the hog” from the sales of a lethal weapon, she realizes she's as guilty as the ghosts haunting her. So the house becomes a symbolic limbo where Kerrigan and Sarah find love, and forgiveness, and the other ghosts find repentance and redemption. This dark comedy has a cast of 11 and musical ensemble of 6 players (which includes the musical director)
Book and lyrics by Mary Bracken Phillips
The Haunting of Winchester was commissioned for the 25th anniversary of the San Jose Repertory Theatre. It opened the season in 2005 and was supported by grants from the NEA, The Knight Foundation, and Meet the Composer.
"The Haunting of Winchester" explores the legend of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester rifle fortune, and her "Winchester Mystery House", one of the most famous "haunted" houses in the world. More legend than fact exists as to why Sarah added on to her home, transforming an eight-room farmhouse into a one hundred and sixty room mansion with stairs that run into ceilings, doors that open on nothing and windows looking out on walls. According to legend, depressed over the loss of her husband and infant daughter, Mrs. Winchester went to a psychic who told her her family was haunted by souls killed by the Winchester rifle and that she should find a house and add onto it to accommodate their spirits. Fact has it that Mrs. Winchester was an avid and gifted student of architecture. The musical is not only a distillation of history but also an attempt to address the mystery of what really went on inside the walls of Winchester House.
Cast of 11- 7 men, 3 women, one 11-year-old girl
Orchestra of 6 – piano/ synth (played and lead by musical director), cello, violin, French horn, percussion, and bass.
Flexible set which can be as complicated or as sparse as needed so as to merely conjure the spaciousness and ever changing nature of the house.