REVIEW: Ghost the Musical

photo by Joan Marcus

Ghost the Musical takes a beloved film and translates it well to the stage. Fans of the movie will be pleased that the story line is largely maintained.

Psychic Oda Mae Brown, played by Carla R. Stewart, stole the show away from lovers Molly (Katie Postonick) and Sam (Steven Grant Douglas), but there’s nothing wrong with that. It takes a lot of charisma to step into Whoppi Goldberg’s shoes and this challenge was conquered by Stewart. She was a joy to watch on stage and provided fantastic comedic relief given the largely predictable script. Her frequent presence in the second act gave the show a strong finish.

Ghost features some flashy special effects, particularly the incredible subway scene in which Sam has a confrontation with a ghost in a subway train full of passengers, where the people and objects appear to tumble in slow motion through the air. I also enjoyed the rap performance of the subway ghost. These atypical scenes captured my interest and I wished there were a few more unique aspects like this sprinkled through the rest of the show. As a whole, Ghost, though isn’t particularly innovative. The choreography, music and acting styles were run-of-the-mill.

There are a couple of other aspects where Ghost fell short. I found the chemistry between Molly and Sam lacking. The two lovebirds had little time to establish their background and to make their love believable. After the first scene, I knew I probably wouldn’t cry. The acting came off as a performance of one show out of a thousand instead of a believable portrayal that the characters are real. I may have been an exception, however, as there were plenty of audience members at the end dabbing tears.

I also could have really done without the chorus. They were often on stage at emotional scenes and were very distracting and took away from what could have been gut-wrenching performances.

Ghost the Musical is at the Orpheum Theatre through June 23, 2014.  Tickets start at $49.

DEAL ALERT: Student/Educator tickets are available for all performances. 2 tickets per valid ID; $25 per ticket, cash only; available only at the State Theatre Box Office during business hours or at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office beginning 2 hours prior to the performance; student/educator must be present with valid ID at time of purchase; resale or transfer of rush tickets is strictly prohibited and all tickets are subject to availability.