Steven Grant Douglas and Katie Postotnik
Special Effects Outshine “Ghost”
By Skip Sheffield
“Ghost” is the kind of musical in which the special effects outshine the human characters.
“Ghost The Musical” runs through May 11 at Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale.
“Ghost” is based on the hit 1990 movie of the same name. The movie was fired by the intense chemistry of Demi Moore as a sexy potter and Patrick Swayze as an even sexier banker who is tragically murdered early in the story, to come back as a crime-solving ghost. Whoopi Goldberg won an Oscar for her comic performance as the fake medium Oda Mae.
The good news about this national touring production is that Carla Stewart as Oda Mae is even better than Whoopi Goldberg. She is prettier, funnier, and she has a powerful singing voice, showcased in “Are You a Believer?” in what was a non-singing role.
Bruce Joel Rubin also won an Oscar for his screenplay of “Ghost,” and his book and lyrics form the stage show as well. The problem is that there is not a whole lot of substance to the story. Sam Wheat (Steven Grant Douglas) is murdered in the apartment of Molly Jenson (Katie Postonik) by a seemingly random burglar named Willie Lopez (Fernando Contreras).
Sam’s ghostly form is immediately transferred to a kind of waiting room purgatory, exemplified by the song “You Gotta Let Go.”
The songs, by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard are pleasant and serviceable, but none is as good as “Unchained Melody,” which provided the dramatic and romantic backdrop to the movie as well as the play. The song was written in 1955 for an obscure prison movie and became a No. 1 hit for the Righteous Brothers, the version used in the movie, in 1965. It has since become one of the most-recorded songs of the 20th century.
Sam’s ghostly state is artfully enhanced by a blue spotlight, which follows the actor through his every move. Steven Grant Douglas has a powerful tenor voice, paired with Katie Postotnik’s beautiful soprano.
Katie Postonik is a physical opposite of brunette, brown-eyed, statuesque Demi Moore. She is tiny, doll-like, with curly blond hair and blue eyes. She is gorgeous to look at, but the heat that was generated between Moore and Swayze far surpasses what we feel here.
Robby Haltiwanger has the somewhat thankless role of Sam’s treacherous best friend and bank colleague Carl Bruner, whose villainy is what causes the tragedy.
Special effects abound in the show, with characters seeming to levitate, and in Sam’s case fade away and disappear through a door.
“Ghost The Musical” is one of the lesser successful transitions from screen to stage, but this company gives their all, and that’s all they can do.
Tickets are $34.50-$74.50. Call 954-462-0222 or go to www.browardcenter.org.