It is very difficult to go into a theater with great expectations when you are seeing an iconic film that has been converted to a Broadway Musical. “Ghost”, a 1990 film classic starred Patrick Swayze,Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg thus , we as an audience have to anticipate nothing comprable. Then there is the whole concept of special effects- in a film , even 14 years ago, we know that they can do many adventurous things with cut and splice and of course computer technology, but “live” , on stage, how could they do this? Well, let me tell you! The special effects in this production, now on the stage at the Oriental Theatre as part of the Broadway In Chicago Season, has some effects that will knock your sox off! In particular the subway scene which on its own is worth the price of the ticket.
For those of you who do not know the story, it is one of “the power of love”. The secen is New York. Sam ( a powerful performance by Steven Grant Douglas) and Molly (a charming performance by Katie Postotnik) are the perfect couple, she is an artists and he is a banker/money management. They have just found a wonderful loft that can be her studio in what is a changing neighborhood.
Sam works with Carl (Robert Haltiwamger) who is not what he appears to be, a friend. As it turns out, Carl has been moving funds around and has been using Sam’s PIN to do so. When Sam changes his number, Carl is forced to take drastic measures and what ensues is Sam being mugged and killed. He is caught between the worlds and cannot leave because he finds out that Molly is in danger as well.
He learns how to make contact through a storefront Psychic, Oda Mae Brown ( a superb character deftly handled by Carla R. Stewart, who develops her own image instead of trying to imitate Ms Goldberg’s original performance on film). She is a hoot!
The basic film story is pretty well followed by Bruce Joel Rubin with music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, but to be honest, the music is not really spellbinding and or even integrel to the story itself. Oda Mae’s “I’m Outa Here” is adorable, Molly’s “With You” is romantic, but the musical key to this production is the various uses of the movie’s theme “Unchained Melody”.
Directed by Matthew Warchus on an amazing set with stage illusions that you will find awesome and amazingly real, this is a live play that follows the movie well and while a bit long ( over 2 hours and thirty minutes) is a theatrical experience that one will remember in the same vain as the movie. I guess that the emotion of the original story came through for most of the sold out opening night audience and while they would give these actors a standing ovation, it appeared that many were in a dazed sense of what they just experienced, so fewer than normal rose to their feet. I think, however, that many couples found themselves holding their partner’s hand during the final scene’s of this true love story, and maybe, just maybe, we felt that the late Patrick Swayze was in the balcony watching with us.
“Ghost The Musical” will continue its short run here in Chicago through the 19th with performances as follows:
Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. ( no evening on the 19th)
There is also a 2 p.m. on January 15th.
Tickets range from $27-$95 and can be purchased at any of the Broadway In Chicago box offices, by calling the BroadwayInChicago Ticketline 800-775-2000, at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com ( where you can also purchase discount parking a block away).
The Oriental Theatre is located at 24 West Randolph Street ( between State and Dearborn) and is easy to get to using public transportation as well.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Ghost The Musical”