Most people have seen the classic (and only slightly melodramatic) 1990 film Ghost, and as is the case with so many iconic films these days, Ghost has been given new life in the form of a major musical. The musical, now onstage at DPAC, offers a sweet, romantic storyline and extremely impressive special effects that are sure to delight longtime fans of the film as well as newcomers to this heart-tugging story.
Steven Grant Douglas stars as Sam Wheat, a guy with a good heart whose only flaw is that he’s not so good at expressing his emotions…and that he dies early in the first act. While Sam may be dead, he hasn’t completely vanished; he’s stuck in a strange in-between state in which he can see and hear those around him, including his love, Molly Jenson (Katie Postotnik). Molly can’t see Sam, but luckily for him, there is one person who can–sketchy psychic Oda Mae Brown (Carla R. Stewart), who serves as Sam’s only hope as he unravels the truth surrounding his death and tries desperately to reconnect with Molly.
The well-known (to most) story plays out with the help of vast special effects, including LED panels that provide effective setting and move Sam throughout New York City where the story takes place. A nice effect involving 3D photos provides satisfying background on Sam and Molly’s long relationship, and plenty of smoke, shadows, and magic lead to an almost surreal visual experience. Special effects are present in almost every scene, while the musical numbers are fewer and further between than one might expect. Some nice musical moments include Sam’s sweet serenade of “Unchained Melody” to Molly and the pleading “Sam’s Lament.”
While Douglas and Postotnik both handle their roles (both singing and speaking) easily, it is Stewart who is the real standout. Her Oda Mae is every bit as lively and hilarious—perhaps even more so—as the iconic one created by Whoopi Goldberg. One also has to mention that Molly and Sam’s “friend” Carl (Robby Haltiwanger) is given more depth and characterization in the musical version, making him much harder to hate and giving the character some much needed if somewhat misplaced dimension.
“Ghost’s” tender moments—including the famous scene in which Sam uses Oda Mae’s body as a vessel and enjoys one last dance with Molly—are handled effectively, made less jarring by soft, gentle lighting. The well-known “potter’s wheel” scene, albeit brief, is there too, so fans of the film are not disappointed. Romantic, fun, and just a tad bit fluffy, “Ghost” is a good choice for a date night or just an evening of frothy fun.
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents GHOST THE MUSICAL at 8 p.m. Nov. 15, 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 16, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701, in the American Tobacco District.
TICKETS: $37.75-$116.25 (including fees).
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), email@example.com, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/how_to_buy_tickets.
Ticketmaster: 800-982-2787 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1500495. SHOW: http://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/ghost-the-musical.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw5a5beiLSw. THE TOUR: http://www.ghostontour.com/ (official website).
TOUR CAST: http://www.ghostontour.com/cast/.
TOUR CREATIVE TEAM: http://www.ghostontour.com/creative/.
SUNTRUST BROADWAY SERIES: http://www.dpacnc.com/suntrust-broadway-series.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.dpacnc.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/DPACNC.
DPAC CONTENT ADVISORY: “Parental guidance [is] suggested. This show contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children.”
Ghost (1990 film): http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/76186/Ghost/ (TCM Movie Database), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_(1990_film) (Wikipedia), and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099653/ (Internet Movie Database).
Ghost the Musical (2011 West End and 2012 Broadway musical): http://www.ghostthemusical.com/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_the_Musical (Wikipedia), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=490919 (Internet Broadway Database).
Glen Ballard (music and lyrics): http://www.glenballard.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glen_Ballard (Wikipedia).
Dave Stewart (music and lyrics): http://davestewart.com/ (official website) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_A._Stewart (Wikipedia).
Bruce Joel Rubin (book and lyrics): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Joel_Rubin (Wikipedia).
Troika Entertainment, LLC (producer): http://www.troika.com/ (official website).
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.