Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ghost The Musical to End Broadway Run

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 03:38


The Broadway run of Ghost The Musical is coming to an end. Producers announced last week that the show will play its final performance at the Lunt Fontanne Theater on August 18th. Ghost tells the story of a murdered stockbroker (Sam Wheat) whose spirit remains on earth to help his loving soulmate (Molly Jensen) piece together his death through a comedic storefront psychic named Oda Mae Brown. The theatrical presentation of the story relies heavily on technologically-advanced special effects, including moving sidewalks that simulate walking between scenes and sets and a series of digitally projected screens that serve as backdrops to create various sets–from Sam and Molly’s apartment to a moving subway car.

The show originated in London and the principle members of the cast (Richard Fleeshman as Sam and Caissie Levy as Molly) transferred to NY to reprise their roles for the Broadway bow of the production, which underwent minor changes from its original London staging, including the addition of a couple new songs. Tony-nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph plays the role of Oda Mae Brown. The music of Ghost was composed by Dave Stewart (of the 1980’s pop-rock band The Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard (the major music producer behind such acts as Alanis Morisette, Wilson Phillips, and Michael Jackson). I had the opportunity to see the show back in June and I was very impressed with the way in which the show was able to pull emotionally at my heart and make me seriously assess the way in which the love I have for my partner may live for all eternity.

While I wouldn’t necessarily say that Ghost is groundbreaking theater. I would say that it mostly succeeds in its own right. The special effects are dazzling and the sets are at times breath-taking. And it’s tough to take your eyes off of the handsome and talented lead Richard Fleeshman, who brings a sweet and familiar personality to the role of Sam.  Randolph was spectacular as the over-the-top psychic and Caissie Levy, while at times had a somewhat overbearing voice (I blame the sound technician, not the actor) played Molly quite well. Unfortunately, the show had a shaky opening and experienced a 45-minute technical delay that resulted in a harrowing review by the New York Times. The day we saw the show, we did experience a 20-minute delay ourselves in the middle of the first act. But, in the end, Ghost won me over. I cried like a baby throughout much of the second act; and in my opinion, if a piece of musical theater can evoke that type of strong personal and emotional reaction, it is worthy of praise.

Unfortunately, in an ever-so-competitive Broadway market, Ghost never did find a sold audience. The show averaged around $550,000/week, (well below its weekly operating expenses) and had an average house attendance at only about 60% capacity. By the beginning of July, I was beginning to wonder just how much longer the producers could afford the financial hemorrhage of the production. Hoping it would endure, I purchased tickets for my partner and I to see the show on Sept. 2nd. And I was so saddened when I received notification from TicketMaster that the show was canceled and that my tickets had been refunded. There is a tour planned for Ghost beginning in 2014; and I am hoping that somehow the magic that was captured on stage and that stole my heart (and a million tears) on Broadway makes a successful transition as a traveling show. Ghost The Musical closes August 18th. Discounted tickets are available by clicking on the TicketMaster link on the show’s official Web Site (http://ghostonbroadway.com). Below, check-out some awesome highlights from the show courtesy of Playbill:

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