GHOST THE MUSICAL Send This Review to a Friend
I suppose if you believe in the supernatural, you’ll be more receptive to “Ghost the Musical,” based on the Paramount Pictures film, with book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, who wrote the movie, and music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. But one element that is likely to have wide appeal is all the technical hocus pocus that is as much a star of the show, maybe even more so, as the star performers.
So much is accomplished via projection, from crowd scenes to New York backgrounds, and the extravagant, changing lighting. The leading man appears to be walking through a closed door. The villain is bouncing around in the air. There is so much going on visually that after a while the novelty begins to wear off. Still, such power as this musical has is traced to illusions by Paul Kieve, video and projection design by Jon Driscoll, choreography by Ashley Wallen, additional movement sequences by Liam Steel, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, and of course, direction by Matthew Warchus.
The pretty corny story spun here involves Richard Fleeshman as Sam who is killed when being robbed in an altercation with a stranger in front of his girlfriend Molly (Cassie Levy). Sam has watched himself die. He is now a ghost. He can see others but they can’t see him. One of those he observes is Carl (Bryce Pinkham), his close friend, now getting close to Molly. Beware of such friends. What Sam learns about Carl leads him in a desperate effort to save the now endangered Molly, who is heartbroken over her loss.
Romance fills the air, even in death. Sam was never able to say “I love you” to Molly.
Any takers on a bet that he’ll utter those words as a ghost before the show is over? Both Levy and Fleeshman act and sing adequately, assuming you like the kind of shrieking songs that mostly constitute the score. This kind of pop is not to my taste. (I listened to the score a few nights after enjoying Gershwin magic in “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”
The number I did enjoy was “I’m Outta Here,” sung by Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Oda Mae Brown, the over-the-top psychic who helps Sam communicate with Molly. She is a show stealer as she teaches Sam to make objects move and translates his words that only she can hear to Molly. Sam hatches a plan to win the day, even though dead. The important thing is that Molly, in addition to being made safe, knows how much Sam the ghost still loves her.
The plot is a bit much. The spectacle is prime even though it dwarfs everything else. At the curtain call, I suddenly realized how attractive the women and men of the chorus looked after being so overshadowed by the production design. On the other hand, without such technical prowess, this would be an even slighter work. At the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th Street. Phone: 877-250-2929.