Ghost: The Musical Appears: My Review

Categories: Theater

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When you first saw the 1990 afterlife romantic-comedy thriller Ghost, did you think: "This needs songs! Like a number for a ghost telling the Swayze character, 'You gotta let go.' And a mopey power ballad every time the Demi girl looks sad without her man and her pottery wheel"?

Did you also muse, "This needs to be redone with live actors shuffling around scrims filled with constantly swirling video images--you know, sort of like a movie?"

If so, you'll love the Matthew Warchus production of Ghost: The Musical, which is Ghost the Movie, but more so--more emoting, more screaming, and way more scenery.

The sets and projections are amazingly conceived and executed, but they're so relentless, they come to overwhelm the material, which needed a gentler touch. I mean this is an afterlife romantic-comedy thriller, not The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.

(And at the press performance I was at last Thursday night, the show had to be stopped for 15 minutes to fix a set problem. That's what happens when high-tech is the star of the evening at the expense of everything else.)

Big-voiced Caissie Levy and big-chested Richard Fleeshman serve earnestness as the universe-discordant couple, while Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Oda Mae--the run-down fake psychic who strikes gold when she connects with Fleeshman's talking corpse--plays it extra rough and emphatic, coming off more Mo'Nique than Whoopi.

A real spark plug, Randolph pushes too hard, but at least she's lively and gets the laughs. But after scoring in her big account-closing scene, she gets another "huh?" number that doesn't let her soar into the moment.

In fact, all the songs--by rocker Dave Stewart and Glenn Ballard, with book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, who wrote the movie--come off serviceable but unnecessary.

So for all its sleek determination, Ghost doesn't prove the right to an afterlife for this material. And can you imagine that Con Ed bill when the set works?

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12 comments
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Musto
Musto

By the way, the best song is "Unchained Melody." Which was in the movie.

BetteD
BetteD

"... big-chested Richard Fleeshman "?  I'm in.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

You can see it in the photo above.

Melinda9
Melinda9

Thanks for the warning. The tourist crowd might still want to see it.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Yeah -- all these movies are just begging to be made into Broadway musicals .

Get a clue, guys - along with an  original idea, if you can muster one.

Arch212nyc
Arch212nyc

GHOST at the Lunt Fontaine Theatre is a masterpiece !!!!!!!The critic from the Village Voice should be ashamed for putting down this showarch212nyc

Thevoiceofreason
Thevoiceofreason

And the critic from the Times should be ashamed for putting down this show. And the critic from the Wall Street Journal should be ashamed for putting down this show. And the critic from the Daily News should be ashamed for putting down this show. And the critic from....

NOLADude
NOLADude

Yeah, I saw it and I agree with the reviews. I am not ashamed.

Randa
Randa

Nope. Sorry. But maybe there should have been.

Tony
Tony

Please tell me there's a big number called "Molly...You in Danger, Girl!"

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

Sounds like an utter high tech horror!!

Marilyn
Marilyn

Great review. I bet they won't be paying their Con Ed bill for long.

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