The story of Eldridge

More than 65 Mountain Pointe High School students, with the help of a number of teachers, will be bringing back an Ahwatukee Halloween favorite this weekend and next with their presentation of the interactive haunted show.

The parent booster club says the show has such realistic effects that it compares favorably with far more expensive haunted-themed attractions in the region.

Tickets are $7 for the show, which runs 6-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again Oct. 28-29, throughout the theater area, 44th Street and Knox Road, Ahwatukee. Tickets are available at the door.

Figure on spending at least 20 minutes if you go at any point during the three hours the auditorium is open on show nights, said Corey Quinn, a biology teacher and Class of 95 Mountain Pointe alumnus who is a faculty sponsor for the show, along with fellow teacher Kim Bonagofski.

This year’s show, titled “End of Days,” is similar to the Theatre Company’s Halloween productions for at least the last five years, Quinn said, adding that the school has had at least a decade-long tradition of staging some kind of scary offering this time of year.

“We have drawn as many as 500 people in a night,” said Quinn. “This is absolutely one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Theatre Company. We make by far more money on this show than all the other shows we put on in the school year combined.”

The production comes together in a remarkably much shorter period of time than typical shows put on by the company.

Quinn said a call for audition was put out only about two weeks ago, and about 65 students showed up—about half the number who show up for an audition for a musical.

“We’ll be working a couple hours after school every day this week and the show will be ready by Friday,” he added.

The students wear costumes that come from an assortment of sources. Zombies bring appropriate clothing from home, some costumes are made by company members and others are purchased if they are too elaborate.

Then, each room in and around the company area is decorated with a different horror theme.

“There are very few places we don’t take people to in the company area,” Quinn said. The orchestra pit and the catwalk are part of the show.

When people are taken up to the catwalk, they learn the story of Eldridge, the ghost that purportedly haunts the auditorium. Said to be the spirit of a construction worker who died when Mountain Pointe High was being built, the ghost has become such an urban legend that seat E-13 is taped off during any production.

When she was a reporter for the Arizona Republic, Ahwatukee resident Cathy Creno looked into the Eldridge legend and wrote, “As long as anyone can remember, Eldridge has reportedly been haunting the theater with mysterious footsteps, flickering lights and other unexplained occurrences.”

Nevertheless, Creno added, there is no record of any construction death at the school.

Just as the costumes come from different sources, the cast and sponsors approach set decorations the same way.

Over time, the school has amassed various kinds of lights, projected images and other materials to give each room a special look.

There’s even a room called Chicken Little for young children whose parents might not want them exposed to the gorier rooms.

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