In case you’d forgotten that Ghost was originally a movie, this slick and soulless musical will remind you—over and over and over. Throughout the show, cityscapes, street scenes, sets, even a sex scene are projected on rear and front scrims in an attempt to recapture the magic of the 1990 romantic thriller about Sam and Molly (Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy), a comely young New York couple whose love transcends his untimely demise.
It’s easy to understand why this high-tech spectacle was a hit in London and may very well be one here, too. The book by Bruce Joel Rubin—who won an Oscar for the movie’s screenplay—hews close to the beloved flick (minus, oddly enough, the sexy pottery scene), and the special effects are genuinely stunning. The audience gasps at the scenes when Sam slips through a door, engages in a spectral subway battle and makes his way up a stairway to heaven. Tourists will probably feel like Ghost gives them their money’s worth, much in the same way Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark does.
Too bad the production doesn’t also contain powerful performances (save for Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who puts her own feisty imprint on Whoopi Goldberg’s flamboyant psychic role) or strong songs (the only evocative number is the oldies classic “Unchained Melody,” the one tune not penned by noted pop vets Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard). The original movie’s biggest special effect was its ability to make you care and cry. This Ghost tries to mix stage magic and romance, but leaves you cold as a corpse.—Raven Snook