Oda Mae role in ‘Ghost the Musical’ is ‘larger than life’

Nov. 07, 2013 @ 09:19 AM

Life is really short. That’s cliché but true, said Carla R. Stewart, who portrays Oda Mae Brown in the Broadway tour of “Ghost the Musical,” coming to the Durham Performing Arts Center Nov. 12-17.

“I think if you love someone, you ought to tell them right now,” Stewart said in a phone interview with The Herald-Sun from their last tour stop in Hershey, Pa. The story of Sam and Molly from the Oscar-winning film is the same in the musical. “He missed the opportunity to tell her he loves her,” Stewart said.
The 1990 movie featured Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze as the couple, and Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown, the phony-turned-real psychic go between Sam’s ghost and Molly. “Ghost the Musical,” which was a success in London before coming to the U.S., includes the famous pottery wheel love scene and The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” The musical’s dialogue is line for line the movie, Stewart said. After she got the role, she didn’t want to go back and watch the movie again so she wouldn’t be a replica of Goldberg. Goldberg films have been fodder for other productions adapted for stage musicals, including a few that have come to Durham – “Sister Act” and “The Color Purple.”
When Stewart saw “Ghost the Musical” on Broadway, she thought it was a great marriage between the cinematic feel and theatrical feel.
“I thought Oda Mae was so funny and the sisters so funny,” she said. “Oda Mae is larger than life – she says whatever she feels right off the top. She has a big heart and is tough at the same time. When things get real for her, she’s afraid but goes along with it. She saves the day.”
Stewart said the story is a beautiful rollercoaster. She said she has so much fun singing “Outta Here” every night, the scene when Oda Mae has a chance to hit it rich and leave.
This is Stewart’s first Broadway tour. It’s amazing, she said.
“It’s a lot of hustle and bustle with packing and unpacking, going from city to city and seeing the country. It’s amazing to experience it,” Stewart said. “It’s very exciting to be out here.”


WHAT: “Ghost the Musical”
WHEN: Nov. 12-17
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham
TICKETS: $37.75-$116.75