Filled with visually stunning video effects, Ghost The Musical entertains with a story based on the hit film Ghost, which garnered a couple Oscars and became a beloved love story. Directed by Matthew Warchus, the musical features Book and Lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin with Music and Lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.
Immediately from the opening notes, the visual effects take center stage. John Driscoll’s video and project design captivate, taking the show up a few notches. The innovative design blends in seamlessly with the minimalist set. One of the most impressive and fun to watch sequences, the subway scene includes the most impressive blending of choreography, special effects, sound, video and lighting that I have seen on the stage. Additionally, the effects and illusions designed by Paul Kieve are awe inspiring.
As in the movie, the musical follows recently murdered Sam as he tries to avenge his death and protect his love, Molly. He communicates through physic (and fraudster) Oda Mae Brown, who frustrates him as much as she helps. Until he learns to manipulate objects he must rely on her, but he eventually masters the skill and works to expose his killer.
In the role of Sam, Steven Grant Douglas provides a serviceable lead, and Katie Postotnik gives a heartbreaking performance as Molly. In the role of the brash and extravagant Oda Mae, Carla R. Stewart doesn’t disappoint, but her character seems to be a cartoonish version of the film’s counterpart. As the villain Carl Bruner, Robby Haltiwanger has the vocal chops and the charm, but he doesn’t quite sell the cunning vileness that the character needs.
The trouble with the musical is the music itself. The songs feel like a discombobulated set of songs that seem placed into random spots throughout the movie script. While the composers are known for crafting pop hits, the rock infused score here lacks passion although there are few standouts such as “I’m Outta Here,” “With You,” and the Act I closer, “Suspend My Disbelief/I Had a Life.” Other songs such as “More” seem out of place and do nothing to enhance the story. In addition, the script, which mostly follows the movie script in places, doesn’t have the tenderness that endears people to the movie.
Despite being an uneven production, fans of the movie will find watching the musical enjoyable as well as those who are being introduced to the story.
Part of the Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta series, Ghost the Musical plays at the Fox Theatre in midtown through November 10, 2013. For tickets and more information, please visit Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta’s website, the Fox Theatre website or our Now Stage Onstage listing. Tickets are also available at the Fox Theatre box office or by phone at 1-855-ATL-TIXX. The show’s runtime is about two and a half hours with an intermission.
– Kenny Norton