Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Theater Review: GHOST The Musical Broadway Tour

Filed under: Performing Arts — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:25


The touring production of a musical that I absolutely fell in love with during its short Broadway run back in 2012 is making its way to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre in Orlando this week. GHOST: The Musical opened Tuesday and plays through Sunday. The show tells the classic love story from the 1990 motion picture of the same name. Sam and Molly are soul mates who become separated after Sam is murdered; but Sam cannot move on before helping Molly solve his murder through the comedic character Oda Mae Brown, who is a psychic that until meeting Sam, isn’t very “gifted.” The show’s music is written by Dave Stewart (of the 1980’s band The Eurythmics) and mega-producer Glen Ballard (the man behind the big hits from the likes of Michael Jackson, Wilson Phillips, and Alanis Morisette) while the book and lyrics were written by the Academy Award winning writer of the film, Bruce Joel Rubin.

The production is non-equity, which set me up with very low expectations. However, I was pleasantly surprised of the high quality of this mounting of the show. Although scaled back slightly, the overall lighting, sets, and digital screens that work in concert throughout the show to serve as backdrops and scenery rivaled the Broadway production. And while the leads Steven Grant Douglas (Sam Wheat) and Kate Postotnik (Molly Jenson) aren’t even remotely comparable to the vocal qualities and abilities of the original Broadway cast (Richard Fleeshman and Cassie Levy, respectively), they get the job done superbly. Postonik gets the opportunity to show her skills most effectively in the first act power ballad “With You.” And she really hit that number out of the park. Unfortunately, she cracked the high note of Act II’s “Rain/Hold On” but rebounded nicely later with the concluding numbers. Douglas’ Sam is played well; and his singing, while not exceptional, is at times absolutely beautiful. He conveyed the dynamics of the character quite well.

But while Douglas and Postotnik are good lead actors, they are dwarfed by the amazingly talented Carla R. Stewart, who truly steals the show as Oda Mae Brown. Stewart has some truly remarkable vocal skill and is also a fantastic performer. She had the audience laughing out loud in countless scenes; and her presence was cherished in each scene featuring the character. Another showstopper is Brandon Curry, who’s Subway Ghost character raps an incredible number in Act II entitled “Focus” that ultimately provides Sam a major advantage to his mission. The villain of the show, Sam’s best friend Carl, is played by Robby Haltiwanger. His performance is adequate and seeing as the audience (which gave the cast an immediate standing ovation at the show’s conclusion) booed lightly during his curtain call, he obviously did his job. The digital imagery of the production coupled with the special effects are at time dazzling. Scenes in which Sam learns how to “float” through doors and passes through other objects are well done. And the digital screens that create everything from the New York skyline to a moving subway car are breathtaking.

Overall, this touring production of GHOST is excellent. The vast majority of our group and everyone around us in the theater really enjoyed the show. While I yearned to hear Fleeshman and Levy together once again, the experience of seeing the show I loved in New York performed and produced quite well made me very happy. This show also concluded the 2013-2014 Orlando Broadway Series and marks the final show in the God awful Bob Carr theater. Many of our group expressed belief that this show was this season’s best. It’s too bad this beautiful production couldn’t have been in the new state of the art Dr. Phillips Center that is opening later this year and will house the 2014-2015 series. Despite the Bob Carr’s terrible acoustics and poor seating, this production is definitely worth seeing. GHOST: The Musical plays through Sunday at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. To purchase tickets, visit the show’s official Web Site at: http://www.ghostontour.com.

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