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Home | Maine State Music Theater Reviews | GHOST the MUSICAL - A Heavenly Experience

GHOST the MUSICAL - A Heavenly Experience

GHOST the MUSICAL - A Heavenly Experience

Review by Charles Crosby

The much anticipated blockbuster 2016 Season has arrived.  Maine State Music Theatre (MSMT) and Fulton Theatre presented the exclusive premiere of the newly revised chamber version of Ghost the Musical to a sold out opening night audience on June 9. 
The movie Ghost was the highest grossing film of 1990, starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. Creator Bruce Joel Rubin received the Academy Award® for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It was so beloved by audiences that it also won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture that same year. However, when the stage adaptation premiered on Broadway in 2012, it did not become the runaway hit that the movie was.  After the show closed and went on a national tour, the creative team decided to rework the musical to make it more intimate, so it could once again touch the hearts of audiences, the way it did in 1990. MSMT helped to create and produce this new version which was well received.  
The romantic and heart-wrenching story features a cast of 10, focusing on the central characters of the original story, with a 10-piece orchestra. New acoustic versions of the songs from the original Broadway production included, "Unchained Melody," "Here Right Now," "Suspend My Disbelief - I Had a Life," and more.
Adapted from the hit film by its Academy Award®-winning screenwriter, Bruce Joel Rubin, Ghost the Musical follows Sam and Molly, a tech wizard and a gifted potter, whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam's murder. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. He enlists storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, whose reluctance clashes hilariously and touchingly with his desperation. Ghost the Musical features original music and lyrics from multi-Grammy winning pop music icons Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.
Gregg Goodbrod plays Sam Wheat and Liz Shivener is cast as Molly Jensen. It is great to welcome back Goodbrod who is one of the most gifted actor/singers to every grace the stage here. He has previously played Jean ValJean in Les Misérables, Radames, Aida, and Jesus, Jesus Christ Superstar at MSMT. Those who have followed him in productions here and on Broadway know of his tremendous talent. He truly becomes Sam and his vocal abilities are unmatched giving the Righteous Brothers a run for their money. The chemistry between his co-star Liz Shivener is immediate.  She is making her MSMT debut in Ghost the Musical and is well cast in that role. Shivener recently starred as Dorothy Gale in the Fulton Theatre's The Wizard of Oz. She has appeared Off-Broadway in the productions of Hell's Belles and The Underclassman and has toured nationally with Disney's Beauty and the Beast as Belle and Shrek the Musical as Fiona. Goodbrod and Shivener are fun to watch and they make ghost come alive in Brunswick. 
Joining the duo is co-star E. Faye Butler as Oda Mae Brown. She has appeared at theatres across the country including the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Arena Stage and La Jolla Playhouse. If you liked Whoopie Goldberg in the original movie you will be blown away by the charismastic actress. She is hilarious, has impeccable comedic timing, a booming singing voice and has some scene stealing moments. If you can get a ticket to see Ghost the Musical, do it.  You will be glad you saw this musical.   
Rounding out the cast are Mike Backes (Carl Bruner), Kyle E. Baird (Subway Ghost/Orlando), Ceasar F. Barajas (Willie Lopez) Jessica Lorion, Janelle McDermoth, Linnaia McKenzie and Billy Clark Taylor (Hospital Ghost). The entire cast gel together to make Ghost the Musical thoroughly enjoyable.  
The creative team for the production includes Marc Robin (Ghost Director and Choreographer and Fulton Theatre's Artistic Director), David Abbinanti (Orchestrations), Jason Wetzel (Music Director/Conductor), Robert Kovach (Scenic Designer), Beth Dunkelberger (Costume Designer), Paul Black (Lighting Designer), Jacob Mishler (Sound Designer), Katelin Walsko (Props Designer), Mark Johnson (Stage Manager), Amy M. Bertacini (Assistant Stage Manager).  
Ghost the Musical show sponsors are LL Bean, The Times Record, Hancock Lumber, and Keybank. The 2016 MSMT Season Sponsors are Highland Green and OceanView at Falmouth.
Ghost the Musical performs at the Pickard Theater on the Bowdoin College campus located at 1 Bath Road, Brunswick, Maine. For more information or to purchase tickets call 207-725-8769 or visit www.msmt.org.
 
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