I am usually leery of plays or musicals that come from popular movies. They are in danger of being labeled as cheesy and sentimental. Musicals are traditional classics like Rogers and Hammerstein or artistic masterpieces like Andrew Lloyd Webber plays. But Broadway in Chicago has once again brought commercial theatre to the masses. These are people who either come here on buses or don’t really have the theatrical background to appreciate theatre in places like Steppenwolf or Lookingglass. Mostly, these theatre goers have an appetite for spectacle and glitz.
Tonight , we were invited to see “Ghost-the Musical” As you might recall , it is the chick flick that starred Demi Moore, the late Patrick Swayze, and the guy on Scandal. It was one of the biggest tearjerkers ever. Before the show even starts, you are drawn into this world of romance by the large portrait of the lovers on the skein. It gives an indication of what the audience is in for the next two hours.
We are introduced to the two young lovers, Sam and Molly. Steven Grant Douglas carries the show as the tragic hero, Sam Wheat. His singing voice is almost haunting as he croons the signature “Unchained Melody” It is very easy to perceive him as the man who is caught between two worlds. Kate Postotnik is the romantic heroine , Molly. The audience was transfixed when she belted out the emotional solos, “With You ” and “Nothing Stops Another Day.” With her powerful voice, she allowed the audience to share in the character’s sorrow. Robby Haltiwanger contributed to the show playing the villain, Carl. This was the role that made Tony Goldwyn famous prior to playing the charismatic President on “Scandal.” Carl is motivated by greed and uses this in his evil ways. Finishing out the main cast is the delighful Carla R Stewart who returns to her home as the hilarious Oda Mae. She definitely captures the comic perfomance of Whoopi’s from the movie. I couldn’t stop laughing at the exploits of her and her sisters.
I always like to acknowledge the work of the ensemble because of the many shows that I have done that kind of work. I know that audiences have a tendency to remember the leads and memorable characters, but forget the rest of the members of the company. The great thing about this show was it allowed everyone to shine in various parts.Even though some of the dance numbers were a little too cheesy for my taste, there were some great parts. Brandon Curry was terrific as the Subway Ghost who softened as the show progressed. Other than the characters, the other star of the show was the visual effects that were created by illusionist Paul Kieve. These added to the magic of the show and enhanced the audience’s enjoyment.
You too can go back to your favorite moments from the classic movie. But you had better hurry because like Sam, “Ghost” will vanish because after January 19. Tickets range from 27 to 95 dollars. Groups are also encouraged to ask about tickets as well. For more info , go to www. Broadway in Chicago.com