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“Ghost the Musical” at DPAC Sets the Classic Cinematic Paranormal Romance to Music

Katie Postotnik and Steven Grant Douglas play potter Molly Jensen and her boyfriend, banker Sam Wheat, in "Ghost the Musical" at DPAC (photo by Joan Marcus)

Katie Postotnik and Steven Grant Douglas play potter Molly Jensen and her boyfriend, banker Sam Wheat, in “Ghost the Musical” at DPAC (photo by Joan Marcus)

Straight from the Great White Way, the first U.S. national tour of Ghost the Musical, which sets the classic 1990 cinematic Paranormal Romance to music, will play eight performances Nov. 12-17 at the 2,700-seat Durham Performing Arts Center, in the American Tobacco District of the Bull City, as part of DPAC‘s stellar SunTrust Broadway Series.

Produced by Troika Entertainment, LLC and Michael Coppel, in association with Hilary Williams, Margot Astrachan Production/Dennis Grimaldi Productions/Paul Lucas Productions/Robert Sher, and Paramount Pictures, the 2013-14 tour of Ghost the Musical stars Steven Grant Douglas as banker Sam Wheat, Katie Postotnik as his girlfriend the potter Molly Jensen, Robby Haltiwanger as Sam’s best friend and business colleague Carl Bruner, and Carla R. Stewart as shady storefront psychic Oda Mae Brown, whom Sam employs as a medium to communicate with Molly after he is murdered under mysterious circumstances and comes to believe that Molly is in mortal danger.

Ghost is a classic romantic story about a couple … whose relationship takes a shocking turn when Sam is killed,” explains 27-year-old Virginia native Evette Marie White, who plays Oda Mae Brown’s sister Clara and understudies the psychic who reluctantly aids Sam in his quest to protect Molly and bring his murderers to justice.

White is a member of the show’s featured ensemble, which also includes Fernando Contreras, Brandon Curry, Nichole Turner, Hana Freeman, and Shannan E. Johnson. Also performing in the ensemble are Omar Garibay, Susan Leilani Gearou, Tony Johnson, Beth Stafford Laird, Ben Laxton, Jake Vander Linden, Michael McClure, Jack O’Brien, Andrea Rouch, and Maria Cristina Slye.

Evette Marie White notes, “Sam gets stuck between two worlds, because he wants to warn Molly that she is in danger. He tries desperately to communicate with her by teaming up with a psychic who helps him protect Molly and, in the end, avenge his death.

Ghost is overall a story of love, of passion. In the end,” White says, “love conquers all things and you will always carry that love with you. So, there’s something for everybody in this play.”

"Ghost the Musical's" cast includes (from left) Nicole Turner as Louise, Carla R. Stewart as psychic Oda Mae Brown, Evette Maria White as Clara, and Hana Freeman as Mrs. Santiago (photo by Joan Marcus)

“Ghost the Musical’s” cast includes (from left) Nicole Turner as Louise, Carla R. Stewart as Oda Mae Brown, Evette Maria White as Clara, and Hana Freeman as Mrs. Santiago (photo by Joan Marcus)

Ghost the Musical features music and lyrics by Grammy and Golden Globe winner Dave Stewart, who teamed with Annie Lennox to form the Eurythmics, and six-time Grammy Award® winner Glen Ballard, plus a book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, who won a 1991 Oscar® for his original screenplay for Ghost. The Broadway musical’s score also includes “Unchained Melody” (written by Hy Zaret and Alex North), which was memorably performed in the film by The Righteous Brothers.

Ghost the Musical made its Broadway debut on April 23, 2012 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it played for 136 performances before closing on Aug. 18, 2012. The show, which starred Richard Fleeshman as Sam Wheat, Caissie Levy as Molly Jensen, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Oda Mae Brown, and Bryce Pinkham as Carl Bruner, earned three 2012 Tony Award® nominations — for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (projection design by Jon Driscoll and scenic design by Rob Howell, who also designed the show’s costumes), and Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Hugh Vanstone) — and won the 2012 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Set Design (projection design by Jon Driscoll, scenic design by Rob Howell, and illusions by Paul Kieve).

2013-14 U.S. national tour director Matthew Warchus, who won the 2009 Tony Award® for God of Carnage, and choreographer Ashley Wallen originally staged Ghost the Musical on Broadway. The creative team for the tour of this supernatural love story also includes music director Matthew Smedal; associate directors Thomas Caruso and Paul Warwick Griffin; associate choreographer Sunny Walters; music supervisor David Holcenberg; musical supervisor, arranger, and orchestrator Christopher Nightingale; lighting designer Hugh Vanstone; associate set designer Paul Weimer; associate costume designer Daryl Stone; video and projection designer Jon Driscoll; sound designer Bobby Aitken; and illusionist Paul Kieve. The production also features additional movement sequences by Liam Steel and hair, wigs, and makeup design by Campbell Young Associates.

Ghost the Musical is a high-quality reproduction of the film,” claims Evette Marie White. “Bruce Joel Rubin, who wrote the screenplay for the film, wrote the book for this musical, so a lot of the iconic moments of the film are in this play.

“[Ghost the Musical’s] creative team worked really hard to make sure that the musical wasn’t merely a remake of the film, but a retelling of the story that we all love, including iconic moments like the famous pottery scene. We actually do make a clay pot onstage during every performance, and the actress who plays Molly has to take pottery classes during rehearsals.”

White says, “[In the musical,] Sam does walk through doors as well, using the illusions of magic…. Paul Kieve is the master illusionist who was able to create all the illusions and magic onstage, so Sam can walk through doors and disappear onstage. In rehearsals, [Kieve] told us how the illusions had fooled [master illusionist] David Copperfield and Teller of Penn & Teller. The illusions in this show are top notch.”

Robby Haltiwanger plays Sam's best friend and business colleague Carl Bruner (photo by Joan Marcus)

Robby Haltiwanger plays Sam’s best friend and colleague Carl Bruner (photo by Joan Marcus)

Evette Marie White was born and raised in Chesapeake, VA, near Norfolk. She attended the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, and earned a bachelor’s degree in musical theater from Howard University in Washington, DC, in May of 2009 before joining the emerging artists ensemble of the Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk.

Shortly after moving to New York City in June 2013, White was cast in Ghost the Musical. She not only plays Clara, one of psychic Oda Mae Brown’s sisters and confederates in crime; but she also understudies the role of Oda Mae. (Nichole Turner plays Oda Mae’s other sister Louise.)

“Clara is part of the dynamic duo of Oda Mae’s sisters …,” says White. “We provide comic relief, and we help Oda Mae out with the parlor that she owns.” Lousie and Clara also accompany Oda Mae on her signature songs, “Are You a Believer?” and “Miracle.”

“I’m excited to come to Durham, North Carolina,” says Evette Marie White. “The closest I’ve come [to North Carolina previously] is the Hampton Roads/Tidewater area of Virginia. So, I’ve lived near North Carolina, but I’ve never performed there.”

SECOND OPINION: Nov. 7th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWorld.com Raleigh interview with Robby Haltiwanger, conducted by Larisa Mount: http://www.broadwayworld.com/raleigh/article/BWW-Interviews-GHOSTs-Robby-Haltiwanger-Talks-Upcoming-DPAC-Engagement-20131107; Nov. 7th Durham, NC Herald-Sun interview with Carla R. Stewart, conducted by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: http://www.heraldsun.com/news/showcase/x2082479552/Oda-Mae-role-in-Ghost-the-Musical-is-larger-than-life (Note You must register to read this article); and Nov. 6th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Zack Smitth: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/ghost-the-musical/Event?oid=3702209.

The Durham Performing Arts Center presents GHOST THE MUSICAL at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12-14, 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).

BOX OFFICE:

DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787), tickets@dpacnc.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.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/getting_here.

PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/parking_guide.

DPAC CONTENT ADVISORY: “Parental guidance [is] suggested. This show contains material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children.”

OTHER LINKS:

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).

Evette Marie White (actress): http://www.broadwayworld.com/people/news/Evette-Marie-White/ (BroadwayWorld.com bio) and https://www.facebook.com/evette.m.white (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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