After a world premiere last year in the United Kingdom, the film-inspired musical "Ghost" has crossed the pond and is now haunting Broadway. NY1's Roma Torre filed the following review.
As a technical achievement, "Ghost The Musical" raises the bar to new heights. As a Broadway show, it falls decidedly short.
To be fair, many of the parts in this film-to-stage adaptation are quite commendable but there’s not a ghost of a chance those parts, including the dazzling special effects, will add up to great theater.
The popular 1990 film about a bittersweet romance cut short by murder had audiences swooning and weeping. But Bruce Joel Rubin’s adaptation of his Oscar-winning screenplay now seems closer to an extended music video. From the credits, that may just be the idea. Composers Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard come from the pop music world which likely explains why the songs sound more suited to "American Idol."
Wisely, the producers made ample use of "Unchained Melody," the film’s irresistible anthem, even though it puts the show’s original songs to shame. The choreographer, direct from British TV, stages lots of nondescript background filler.
As for the technical achievement, in addition to Rob Howell, credited as designer, there’s a video and projection designer, Jon Driscoll, as well as illusionist Paul Kieve who are the real stars. Recreating the movie magic, they’ve come up with some truly awesome visuals.
The lead performers direct from the London production ably manage the score’s requisite wailing. Caissie Levy, in the Demi Moore role, displays nice versatility. Richard Fleeshman in the Patrick Swayze part is also impressive. As the scene-stealing psychic Oda Mae Brown, the part that won Whoopie Goldberg an Oscar, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, making her Broadway debut, is divine.
Designed for short attention spans and instant gratification, the show is geared almost exclusively toward a younger and less discerning audience. If not for the participation of veteran director Matthew Warchus, I’d say "Ghost The Musical" deserves a one-way ticket to Vegas.