Taking a classic Hollywood tear-jerker and transforming it into a musical may sound like an insane idea but Ghost The Musical really does work.
Casting is key and the choice of Rob Mills as Sam Wheat and Jemma Rix as Molly Jensen are perfect. Mills and Rix could carry off this show on any stage in the world. Without a doubt Millsy has become Australia’s leading star of stage. With that Australian Idol year now well in the past Rob Mills has transformed on stage to the point of owning each show that he stars in. ‘’Wicked’, ‘Grease’, ‘Legally Blonde’ and ample other shows along the way have given Rob the path to now be truly called ‘a Star”. He has the ability to attract a new generation to theatre and get a new audience excited about live performance.
A special mention needs to go to Wendy Mae Brown (is that REALLY your real name Wendy?) who plays Oda Mae Brown, the psychic character played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie. Wendy brings the authenticity of the movie to the stage. ‘Ghost’ has a very dark storyline. Without the Oda Mae Brown character, ‘Ghost’ would be just another murder mystery. Oda Mae is the vessel not only for the dead to speak with the living but also that bridge for the audience to connect spirituality with humour.
The other two stars of the show who are very much in the background are Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Glenn Ballard (producer co-write Alanis ‘Jagged Little Pill’). Stewart and Ballard wrote the new music that is the glue that brings an iconic Hollywood movie to life (or in Sam’s case … death). The new songs give momentum to the storyline so that through the music the actors can transition the scenes to keep the plot and imagery true to the movie without ever having to break out into inane dance routines (where King Kong fell down).
‘Ghost’ the movie was centred musically around the 1955 classic ‘Unchained Melody’, best know by the 1965 Righteous Brothers version that is used in the movie and stage show. Stewart and Ballard have kept the flavour of the time and expanded their new music for the stage show to fit the late 80s sounds and 1990 release of the original movie. The stage show remains set in New York in the same era circa late 80s complete with landline phones, telephone chords and old computer screens with early computer fonts, again staying true to the original look and feel of the movie.
‘Ghost The Musical’ is a wonderful night of entertainment. This is Australian theatre at its best. ‘Ghost The Musical’ is easily the most visually captivating live theatre show since Mary Poppins and best live musical since ‘Grease’.
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