Review: Ed Goodman, 5/1/2014
Broward Center, thru May 11th
I always wonder going in, if its going to be worth the trip to see yet another popular movie made into a stage production. So many opportunities to miss the mark. We remember shows like "Flashdance", "Sister Act", "Priscilla, Queen of The Desert", "The Wizard of Oz", etc., for what they were - great fun, music, story... whatever. I always think if you can improve it, bring it on --- if not, leave us our fond memories.
(Steven Grant Douglas, Katie Postotnik)
"Ghost, The Musical" running through May 11th at the Broward Center, struggles to bring us anything that tops the film.
Spoiler alert - Just in case you missed the story: Sam (Steven Grant Douglas) and Molly (Katie Postotnik) are attacked as they are returning to their apartment in Brooklyn. Sam dies, and becomes caught somewhere between the here and now and the next and forever. Molly is in danger and Sam cannot leave her. Sam somehow ends up with a fake medium, Oda Mae Brown (Carla R. Stewart), who helps him to get in touch with Molly to warn her about Sam's bad guy "friend" Carl (Bobby Haltiwanger). He's able to connect, so to speak, and in the end saves the day. Buy the premise, buy the bit.
(Carla R Stewart, Steven Grant Douglas)
In this non-equity tour, Douglas and Postotnik never seem to connect with each other or the audience. Perhaps unfairly, the chemistry that marked the iconic 1990 movie never materializes. The young actors give it their all, but come up short in giving us the spark that's needed to feel the remorse, sadness, happiness, anger and love that are central to the show. Stewart is outsized and funny as the fake psyhic and Haltiwanger is appropriately sinister and smarmy.
More and more shows are relying on glitz, glam and special effects to move a show along on stage. Though modern electronic wizardry really can help, when done well and fittingly, this version of "Ghost, The Musical" just beats you over the head with it. The stage is busy, busy, busy with all those bells and whistles. It does give you the sense of movement of a movie, yes, but ouside of a few "wow" moments like walking through a door and the very ethereal subway scene, its just very distracting. Sort of like a musical arrangement covering up a singer's voice.
(Katie Postotnik, Steven Grant Douglas, Bobby Haltiwanger)
But its not all on the actors. Bruce Joel Rubin's adaptation of his own Oscar winning movie script is weak and untidy. It doesn't give the actors a chance, moving from idea to idea at breakneck speed.
The music comes from Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Glenn Ballard ("Man In The Mirror", "Believe", "Hold On", etc.) and is only servicable, but thats it. Unfortunately, this is "Ghost, The Musical" and the music needs to be more than that. No humming a tune here on the way home here except for the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" used as background for what turned out to be the very choppy, brusk and remarkably unsensual pottery scene. Too bad.
In the end, its the same old story if you can't improve on the original, why do it? I'm always up for something that makes the story better, more entertaining, more enjoyable - not just a vehicle to trot out to the masses. I believe live theatre needs to continue to expand its audience by taking chances, and the show, on the road. Would that it would be more consistent.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Ticket: www.browardcenter.org or by phone 954-462-0222
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