GHOST THE MUSICAL Is Searching For It’s Soul
There is a lot to take in with the new national tour of Ghost The Musical, the latest (and arguably the weakest) in the onslaught of film to stage adaptations. Based on the 1990 Academy Award winning movie, Ghost The Musical, premiered on the West End in 2011 then transferred to Broadway last season for a very brief run. With a book by Bruce Joel Rubin, who also penned the original screenplay, the stage adaptation is faithful to the film, retaining the most all the iconic scenes and dialogue. Thanks to some stunning new special effects created specifically for this production, the actors are seemingly able to walk through walls, float on air, appear and disappear right before your very eyes.
But the novelty of these new effects cannot overcome the undeveloped musical structure of the production (directed by Matthew Warchus). The forgettable score composed by Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard, and Mr. Rubin does nothing to advance the story or allow the actors any type of individual character development. Rather than create songs that would flush out the motivations and choices of Sam, Molly, Carl and Ode Mae, the creative team opts instead for over the top, superfluous, production numbers with bizarre choreography. Thus, the actors are never allowed the opportunity to inhabit these characters as fully as their film counterparts. To compound the problem, the sound was so out of balanced on opening night that it was affecting the actors’ vocal pitch causing them to go flat in the middle of certain numbers.
And that is a shame because even though this is a non equity tour, the cast members turn in some solid performances, including Steven Grant Douglas (Sam), Katie Postotnik (Molly), and the scene stealing Carla R. Steward (Oda Mae Brown). But as good as they are, they unfortunately can’t overcome the obstacles the creative put in front of them. Ironically, the film of Ghost has all the ingredients to make a successful stage musical; unfortunately, this time around, we got the wrong chefs.
Ghost The Musical plays through Jan. 19, 2014 at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL, call 800-775-2000, www.broadwayinchicago.com, tickets $27 – $95. running time is 2 hours, 30 minutes with intermission. For calendar information, please visit TheatreInChicago.com