Oscar E Moore

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GHOST – the musical on Broadway is a paranormal phenomenon

April 30th, 2012 by Oscar E Moore

Love conquers all.  A mugging.  A murder.  A double crossing buddy.  A phony psychic.  A potter’s wheel.  And even death.  Loves lives on in the amazing, top notch, highly entertaining production of GHOST, the pop musical imported from England based on the 1990 Paramount movie and adapted for the musical stage by Bruce Joel Rubin (Book & Lyrics – who wrote the film) and Dave Stewart & Glen Ballard (Music & Lyrics) and featuring the unforgettable “Unchained Melody” written by Hy Zaret and Alex North.

GHOST must have the highest electric bill on Broadway.   With its 1950’s “Cinerama” influenced projections (Jon Driscoll) that take you on a three dimensional journey through the skyscrapers of New York City and beyond, its incredible lighting design by Hugh Vanstone, tread mills that allow expert director Matthew Warchus to keep the show moving at a dizzying speed, and the LED screen set design by Rob Howell that catapults the musical design form into the 21st century GHOST is the technological Eighth Wonder of the World.

The first act is simply spectacular, finding a wonderful balance between the extra special effects, vivid choreography by Ashley Wallen, quiet romance, brutal violence and some truly magical illusions (Paul Kieve) while infusing it with traditional musical comedy humor with the introduction of Oda Mae Brown (Da’Vine Joy Randolph – giving a rousing comedic spin on the “phony psychic”) who is as surprised as anyone else that she can communicate with the ghost of Sam Wheat (Richard Fleeshman) the handsome and convincing lover of his sculptress girlfriend Molly (Caissie Levy) who has been murdered by his best friend and co-worker Carl Bruner (a sleazy Bryce Pinkham) to obtain a secret code that will enable him to transfer ten million dollars into an off shore account in a money laundering scheme.

It’s to the creative teams credit that the famous song from the film “Unchained Melody” is not overly used.  It occurs at just the right moments and allows the rest of the tuneful and sometimes exciting score to come into its own. 

There is the quietly beautiful “Three Little Words” – words that Sam has a problem saying to Molly.  When she repeatedly voices her love for him he can’t say “I love you” but replies with a simple “ditto” which is how Molly can finally believe that his ghost is speaking to her through the outrageous and eventually comforting Oda Mae.

With the exception of a small Act II detour with a group of ghosts that seem to have been borrowed from The Addams Family which interferes with the progress of the story GHOST the musical gets back on track culminating in its beautifully realized romantic ending which proves that there is life after death in musical comedy heaven.

You will be emotionally drawn into the love triangle of Molly and Sam and Carl, wowed by the incredible comic performance of Oda Mae and bedazzled by the eye popping effects that will leave you spellbound.

www.ghostonbroadway.com  At the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

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