Sunday, August 05, 2012

Molly, You In Danger Girl!

The same day it was announced that Ghost The Musical would be closing on August 18, I saw the show for a second time as part of a blogger night. Yes, I willingly went to Ghost twice. Because here's the thing: I really enjoy it. A lot of it has to do with expectations. I think director Matthew Warchus's other Broadway-bound musical Matilda is overall the better show, but I had such high expectations for Matilda that I was ultimately disappointed, whereas Ghost pleasantly surprised me.
Photo credit: Sean Ebsworth Barnes

If you're familiar with the movie Ghost, you know the story--screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin also wrote the book. Sam (Richard Fleeshman) and Molly (Caissie Levy) are in love, even though Sam has trouble saying the words. When Sam is murdered, he becomes a ghost who nobody can see except the medium Oda Mae Brown (Da'Vine Joy Randolph). He enlists her help to keep Molly out of danger and to find his murderer.

For every forgettable number in the score by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard (e.g. "I'm Outta Here," meant to be a show-stopper sung by Oda Mae, but is unnecessary and slows down the action), there is a solid pop song, such as "Here Right Now." And for those wondering, "Unchained Melody" shows up a few times, most adorably when Sam plays it to Molly on the guitar to cheer her up.

But let's get to the real reason to see the show--the illusions (by Paul Kieve). The special effects were more impressive than anything at Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (Sam walks through a door!). Still, the projections could have been toned down (my sister described the show as "special effects diarrhea"). The dancing would have been enough without video of dancers behind the actual ensemble.

Ghost is sometimes cheesy, sometimes ridiculous, but it's hard to criticize the show for the reasons I had a good time. There was a touching story there that got lost in the sensory overload, but it was a step in the blending of new technology and storytelling that other shows may be able to build on in the future.

1 comment:

Esther said...

At this point in my New York theatergoing I've created a category of musicals that I can wait to see on tour. Ghost is in that group. I'd like to see it at home, on a weekend when I don't have anything to do. But I don't want to give up one of my NYC theatergoing slots. Just hope the special effects are as good! And the hot shirtless guy!