Review: Fall in love with 'Ghost The Musical'

02:58 PM, Oct 09, 2013

Katie Postotnik and Steven Grant Douglas star in Ghost the Musical at the Auditorium Theatre. (Joan Marcus/ / Photo provided by RBTL)/


Written By | Marcia Morphy

Four words, in two sentences, say it all: “I love you.” “Ditto.”

If Ghost The Musical is a matter of life and death, then both have achieved a sense of immortality of light at the end of the tunnel for this romantic, supernatural thriller.

Although the Auditorium Theatre’s opening night performance was delayed by 20 minutes and the story’s tempo got off to a sluggish start, the essence of this Love Story, Titanic-like experience captures the haunting popularity of the 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg.

Faithfully following the original script by Bruce Joel Rubin, Wall Street banker Sam Wheat and sculptor and budding artist Molly Jensen move into a loft apartment in Brooklyn with help from their good friend and Sam’s co-worker, Carl Bruner. When Sam is murdered in an attempted mugging, he finds himself Earth-bound — able to witness events but unable to communicate with the living. He turns to Oda Mae Brown, a whacky, fake spiritualist (who realizes she does have psychic ability because she can hear him) to help track his killer and protect his grieving girlfriend.

Steven Grant Douglas’ lead vocal performance as Sam is powerful and flawless, and his portrayal of man desperate and isolated, as a result of his life being cut short, is palpable. Similarly, Carla R. Stewart’s Oda Mae Brown is a mercurial, hilarious diva, and when she sings “Are You a Believer?” with sidekicks Clara (Evette Marie White) and Louise (Nichole Turner), I became one of her biggest fans. (Sorry, Whoopi.)

The well-cast villains come in the form of Robby Haltiwanger as Sam’s double-dealing, desperate friend Carl, Fernando Contreras as a very believable low-life hit man Willie Lopez and Brandon Curry as the fearsome and deranged Subway Ghost (with levitation powers).

With a mane of blond curls replacing Demi Moore’s distinctive pixie-crop, Katie Postotnik, as Molly, demonstrates powerful and soul-stirring vocals. But until the show’s finale, there seems to be a lack of chemistry between her and Sam — perhaps because the famous pottery wheel sequence now occurs in the second act and is stripped of erotic content. Since she didn’t shed any believable tears, neither did I.

The show’s success is largely because of the ingenuity of Paul Kieve’s illusions — causing the audience to gape at the projections, creepy fog and visual trickery that has us believing that Sam is walking through walls, getting thrown off of a moving train and occupying the body of Oda Mae Brown. And the use of “Unchained Melody” as a simple refrain, rather than an in-your-face number, was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.

Ghost doesn’t explain why bad things happen to good people, but it does reassure us that there’s divine justice. And this musical’s reincarnation is proof that till death do us part doesn’t have to be the end of something we all cherish in our lives: love.

Marcia Morphy is a Rochester-area freelance writer who specializes in the arts.

If you go

If you go

What:
Ghost the Musical.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Auditorium Theatre, 885 E. Main St.

Cost: $32.50 to $67.50.

For tickets: (800)-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.