By Erika Sasseville and Jacob Froelich
We won’t give away any spoilers for those who have somehow evaded the 1990 cult classic. GHOST the Musical, now playing at the Old Log Theatre in Excelsior, is an entertaining and very accurate representation of the movie starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. The music is contemporary and provides several opportunities for strong belting which the cast delivers.
Young couple, Sam and Molly, have just moved into an apartment in Brooklyn with help from their friend – and Sam’s business partner – Carl (Mathais Becker). Everything seems to be going well, if only Sam would say three little words. Everything changes when Sam is shot and killed. He becomes a ghost, unable to communicate with Molly except through a formerly fraudulent psychic, Oda Mae Brown. Together they work to solve Sam’s murder and bring the two lovers peace after death.
The ensemble works seamlessly as a team of extras, set movers, and wonderfully fun shorter roles. China Brickey and Emily Jansen stood out during their scenes as Louise and Mrs. Santiago. Their delightful energy and passion showed every time they appeared on the stage.
Frank Moran and Mollie Fischer each have incredible voices and use them well to bring the characters Sam and Molly to life. Fischer plays the grief-stricken Molly with breathtaking sincerity and feeling. She is both engaging to watch and a real delight to listen to. Moran carries himself well from life to afterlife and easily develops the physicality to portray the titular ghost on stage. Becker was suitably sinister and charming as the antagonist, Carl. Heather McElrath steals the show, playing an eccentric and truly lovable psychic, Oda Mae Brown. Her personality, pipes and passion would do Whoopi proud.
This production spared no expense when it came to the lighting, set pieces, and projections, but suffered when it came to their sound system. The scenic and lighting design by Erik Paulson are incredibly complex in their kinetic simplicity and work seamlessly with Miko Simmons’ projection design.
The only qualm we had about the production was the sound system of the Old Log theatre. Sitting in the fourth row, the main source of sound we could follow was from a single monitor above the stage. The monitor piped in both the actor’s voices as well as the orchestra, sometimes muddling the audio. These reviewers would have loved to see the orchestra live on stage, it might have helped with the sound issue, as well as an interesting addition to the very physical set.
Music and Lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, Book and Lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin. Directed by Eric Morris, Musical Staging/Choreography by Christine O’Grady, Musical Direction by Kyle Picha, Stage and Lighting Design by Erik Paulson, Projection Design by Miko Simmons and Sound Design by Jacob Davis.
GHOST the Musical will run June 2 – September 23, 2017 with performances Wednesday 1:30p, Thursday – Saturday 7:30p, and Sunday 2:00p. Tickets $30 – $40. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.oldlog.com or by calling 952-474-5951 (toll free 1-866-653-5641).