Go for the visual effects...the story, the music, and the acting leaves a lot to be desired...
GHOST, the musical, stands more than a ghost of a chance to walk away with a number of Tony awards. It is a production well done, very enjoyable, entertaining, musically and visually impressive. Like many of its kind, we know the story, GHOST, the musical, sticks to the original movie script, more or less. That made me think, more than I would like to, more distractingly than I'd prefer, "Let's see how they're going to pull this off," or "pull that off." It's the nature of this beast. However, it was beautifully accomplished by the cast, technology, the writers, creative teams, musical score. I enjoyed the scoring, unlike many, a song thrown in here and a song thrown in there, the music carries the production through its various parts exceedingly well. For me, however, it was not the music or talented performers or tremendous cast, but the director, Matthew Warchus. He handled this complicated production flawlessly. Couldn't help being amazed at his ability to hold all the pieces together, but most amazingly, for me, was Warchus' use of space, architecture. It is rare to find a director who uses space with such flexibility, such effectiveness, such efficiency. Would I recommend GHOST, the musical, definitely, it's a musical, fun, entertaining, it's a must see! However, after experiencing this highly technological production, I am forced to wonder, does the less technological theater stand a ghost of a chance.
If the story was retold from Oda Mae's perspective then it would be a fine show. As it is, it is rather awful and I know it is only in the third week of previews but some of the flaws are so bad it seems prudent to mention them now. First of all the stage lights blinded the audience at several times throughout the show and this should be fixed well before a live audience sets foot in the theater. The rest of the show felt like a mix between a bad highshool play, a gratuitous laser light production, and a decent comedic musical. The staging and blocking of the apartment scenes were terrible, the actors were reduced to picking up props and moving them around repeatedly to indicate "life" in the apartment and the you didn't believe the setting nor the actors playing Molly and Sam. The show relies heavily on lights and projections on the three sides of the stage to tell the story, entertain the audience and divert the audience during scene changes. Some of these were interesting if that was the only thing you were looking at but when the dancing scenes on the screen are more fluid than the live actors on stage and allude to a move Patrick Swayze made famous in another movie (Dirty Dancing) it isn't a good thing. The best part of this show is Oda Mae, she is by far the best actor and is the only comic relief in this otherwise dull story. The show picks up in the second half as Oda Mae has a much bigger part and the show gets rolling but she isn't enough to save this production. When the subway ghost starts "rapping" towards the end it only made me glad the show was almost over.