REVIEW: ‘Ghost the Musical’ has cool effects, good story

Nov. 13, 2013 @ 10:39 AM

When movies are made into musicals, it might draw audiences familiar with the story, but also might deter those who don’t want to see yet another adaption. A scattering of empty seats on opening night of “Ghost the Musical” at the Durham Performing Arts Center might have been due to naysayers, but they missed out.
“Ghost” works as a stage musical, and is not just the hit 1990 movie with a different cast plus new songs. “Ghost the Musical” is its own story, and a well-performed one.
It stands on its own well enough that it doesn’t lean on The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” for applause. That song is included, but in a natural way that works nicely with the plot. Steven Grant Douglas is a handsome, convincing Sam, the main character killed before he has a chance to tell his girlfriend, Molly (Katie Postotnik, who has a lovely voice) that he loves her. If you’ve seen the film, you can’t help but passingly think of Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg (who played psychic Oda Mae Brown in the film) in the roles. But that thought passes by as the characters are refreshed with Douglas, Postotnik and Carla R. Stewart as Oda Mae.
Stewart’s Oda Mae is a scene-stealer, and she rouses easy laughter and applause from the audience. On a set that uses a lot of black and white and grey to show New York City, Stewart is a rainbow of color, visually and emotionally. She does a fantastic job. It’s a funny show, much due to her.
The set design and technology used to convey the city environment is a creative success, but do expect plenty of bright, flashing lights. The technological set design feat is in the subway, though this reviewer won’t spoil the surprise. Just know that it is impressive. Also in the subway is the ghost played by Brandon Curry, in an attention-grabbing performance.
“Ghost the Musical” has cool effects and a well-performed story. If you were wondering if it’s worth your time and ticket to check this production out, it is.

WHAT: “Ghost the Musical”
WHEN: Through Sunday
WHERE: Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St., Durham