OMITB: Is The Gooseberry Theater Real?

The third season of Hulu’s ‘Only Murders in the Building‘ revolves around the death of actor Ben Glenroy, who collapses on stage at the Goosebury Theater. While the main focus is on Charles, Oliver, and Mabel as they attempt to solve the famous actor’s murder, the story also crafts some lore around the Goosebury Theater, where Oliver’s play is set up for production. As the narrative progresses, the theater plays a larger role, and its scary and haunting past is revealed in the sixth episode. Naturally, viewers must be wondering whether the Goosebury Theater is real. SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Inspiration For Gooseberry Theater

The Goosebury Theater is one of the main settings of ‘Only Murders in the Building’ season 3. The theater is first introduced in the show’s second season finale during a flash forward to the opening night of Oliver Putnam’s play ‘Death Rattle.’ Actor Ben Glenroy seemingly dies on stage at the Goosebury Theater, starting the season’s central conflict. In the series, the Goosebury Theater is named after the late actor Gideon Goosebury, who also died on stage during a performance in 1919. However, the name is pronounced as “Gooseberry” despite being spelled as Goosebury.

The theater’s name is visible several times, especially in the sixth episode, which almost entirely takes place inside the Goosebury Theater. The Goosebury Theater is not real since there is no evidence of such a theater existing on Broadway. As a result, it is safe to say that the theater, like the actor it is named after, is a fictional location. The filming of scenes at the fictional theater took place at the United Palace Theater located at 4140 Broadway in New York’s Washington Heights.

The United Palace Theater is not considered a Broadway theatre despite its location. The theater was founded in 1930, making the establishment over 90 years old, mirroring the nearly hundred years of history of the fictional theater it represents in the series. The sixth episode of season 3 reveals that the Goosebury Theater is cursed by the dead actor’s ghost, who haunts productions and causes mishaps in the setting. In episode 6, Howard Morris explains the origin of the Goosebury Theater’s supposed curse, revealing that Gideon died on stage after a sandbag from the rafters fell on his head, killing him on stage mid-performance.

Although the United Palace Theater, which doubles as the Goosebury Theater, is not known to be haunted, theater hauntings are not uncommon, especially on Broadway. Theaters such as The Palace on 1564 7th Avenue and West 47th Street, The New Amsterdam at 214 West 42nd Street, The Lyceum at 149 West 45th Street, and The Imperial at 249 West 45th Street, are among some of the most haunted stages on Broadway. Most legends surrounding these theaters’ hauntings originate from an artist’s death. Therefore, the curse of the Goosebury Theater seems to be a general representation of theater hauntings on Broadway.

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