Review: 'Ghost: The Musical'

March 5, 2014
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A shipping mistake left the opening night crowd at the Murat Theatre without programs for "Ghost: The Musical."

And perhaps that's a good thing.

Is there any real reason to track down the name of the blue-light-slathered non-Equity actor floundering in the thankless title role? Any reason to check the credits of the choreographer saddled with adding dances to a story that doesn't cry out for such services? Any benefit to seeing if the pop composer and lyricist who offer one generic and forgettable song after another have inflicted tunes on prior shows?

Lou 300
I'm not one to generically knock Broadway for trying to adapt movies for the stage. Sometimes, such efforts work (see "Once"--which I'm still hoping we get here next season). Sometimes, they don't (we've already suffered through "9 to 5" although, to be fair, the movies was pretty bad, too). Sometimes, they are good enough ("Legally Blonde"). Like the worst of the genre, though, "Ghost" feels like it was created at a business meeting, not in the hearts and minds of artists. Even the stage version of "Flashdance" managed to find more of a human heart.

It has some slick projection-based special effects, but to what end? Narrative coherence doesn't seem to matter to the show's creators, particularly in a subway sequence that might have wowed if it actually communicated anything. A cast that seems to have been delivered whole from a mid-level college theater program doesn't have the skills to get any of this to rise above the level of time filler.

I don't blame Broadway in Indianapolis for this theatrical why-bother. We don't have the subscribers to get many shows right out of the gate and, besides, BAA can only choose from what's available. Unfortunately, "Ghost" is one of the few new musicals on the road.

"The Book of Mormon" can't get here too soon. (It's due in June).

  • Ghost
    The musical was fun. Full of great music. Don't miss it if you liked the movie.
  • Thanks for justifying
    I was very excited about the possibilities of this musical when the London recording was first released. Unfortunately, I have never listened to it again because the tunes are so forgettable. I love the film version, however I don't think I will be spending my money on this one. Thanks for the justification.
  • You're too harsh
    I was there last night, the 6th, and must have seen a different show. The appreciative audience of almost 850 had a good time, and showed it with a standing ovation. The sets were imaginative and special effects outstanding. When the evil powers swirled around the recently diseased criminals and levitated them away it sent chills down my spine. It tracked the story well and the great lighting made it even more realistic. The music was fine for the action. Yes, these aren't 'famous' actors, but they put their talents to good use. As we left the theater we overheard people saying how the show was much better than they had expected.
  • Agree with Dan
    Lou, I was at the show the same night you were. We missed the programs as it's always a fun game to read the bios and determine who is dating who in the production. Regardless, we didn't expect much from this show, but were as Dan said, surprised that we actually enjoyed it. We have been season subscribers to BAA for years now and have seen the steady decline of the productions they bring to Indianapolis, but this is not one that's on the decline. They adapated the movie perfectly. I couldn't have asked for a better rendition. I agree the music itself is forgettable, but it told the story. The effects were great. I thought the train scene was one of the best parts. What do you expect it to portray aside from what it did? There's a ghost on the subway who can move things with his mind. It was intense and exciting and added some life. Oda Mae Brown's character was fantastic. She was enthusiastic, fun and really got the audience excited. I would watch this show 10 times over watch Wicked again. Readers, don't listen to Harry's review here. It's a good show, go see it.
  • C'Mon Lou -- You Laid a Serious Egg on this One
    I'm a member of the senior generation -- not particularly oriented to this kind of production, and our party of 4 enthusiastically joined the standing ovation (Saturday matinee). Any damage you did with your review is a genuine shame (and it certainly clouded my incoming assumptions. I'd consider a follow-up confession that you might have been having a bad day.
    • nope
      Bill, I am glad you enjoyed the show far more than I did. However, I will not confess to an untruth. In my view, the show was awful. You may not get an opinion you agree with here, but you will always get my honest assessment. After writing my thoughts, I did check reviews for the Broadway production and the tour and, frankly, my comments were more positive than most. That's not to say that that makes my comments any more valid, of course. I've often disagreed with others. That is my right...and your right. Thanks for reading. Sincerely, Lou
    • Right on the money
      Saw the show last evening and feel that the writer's review was dead on. While some of the screens and special effects were interesting, some of the musical numbers were downright embarrassing and the actors were clearly not up to a true Broadway show.

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