Sunday, April 17, 2011

'Ghost The Musical' Appears in London This June

Richard Fleeshman (Sam) and Caissie Levy (Molly)
In the UK some recent movie to stage musical adaptations have failed to excite the public. 'Ghost the Musical' which arrives at London's Piccadilly Theatre this June may break the spell just with the sheer curiosity of the film's fans by the undertaking.

Levy and Fleeshman
The romantic film is always a likely candidate to be adapted into a stage musical and 'Ghost' the movie is among the most popular in the genre. Originally released in July 1990, the film starred Patrick Swayze as a ghost who teams up with a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg) to uncover the truth behind his murder and to rescue his wife (Demi Moore) from a similar fate. The film made over $500 million at the box office to become the number one grossing film of the year worldwide. Not just a summer release for the masses, the film was honored at the 1991 Academy Awards with two Oscars (supporting actress for Goldberg and original screenplay). The film also received nominations for best picture, score and film editing. In addition Goldberg won a Golden Globe and BAFTA (British Oscar) the same year for the role.

Sharon D. Clarke (center) as Oda Mae Brown playing the role originated
by Whoopi Goldberg on film.
The film cemented Swayze and Moore's superstar reputations and turned the word 'ditto' into a romantic term of endearment. A memorable scene in the movie featured the song "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers resulting in radio airplay and a resurgence in sales for the recording. The duo re-recorded their hit returning the song to the Billboard top 20 and received a certification for sales of one million copies in the US for the single.

Fleeshman and Levy
Now comes a musical adaption which was previously announced to play the West End two years earlier at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Those plans were scrapped and instead the stage musical adaption is on an out-of-town tryout in Manchester, England from March 28, 2011 before beginning performances in London on June 22.

The creative team includes director Matthew Warchus, a a 2009 Tony Award winner for directing 'God of Carnage'. Some of his directing credits include 'The Norman Conquests,' 'Boeing, Boeing,' 'Art.'. His musical directing includes 'Lord of the Rings,' 'Our House' and the 2003 revival of 'Tell Me on A Sunday.' Bruce Joel Rubin is adapting his screenplay for the stage. Music and lyrics are by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. With Eurythmics' partner Annie Lennox, Stewart delivered a string top 40 hits including "Here Comes the Rain Again" and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)". Ballard is a six-time Grammy award winner. One of his biggest successes was the multi-platinum album "Jagged Little Pill" which he co-wrote and produced with the album's artist Alanis Morissette. The show is budgeted at 6 million pounds (US$9 million). "Unchained Melody" is reported to be included in the show but not part of the score sung by the cast.

Fleeshman (right) in the scene after his character of Sam is murdered.
A review from Manchester's Finest:
Fans of the film will be pleased to know not a lot has been changed in it’s transferral from screen to stage although some scenes occur in a different chronological order, which is good for keeping the audience on their toes.
Richard Fleeshman
A stunning performance is given from Caissie Levy as Sam’s girlfiend Molly. The Canadian born actress, most recently seen as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, plays the role with a truth and emotion that has you transfixed throughout. Her rendition of ‘With You’ before the end of the first half is breathtaking as she belts out each note with passion and perfection. I would definitely bet on the fact that we will see Caissie getting a nod next year at prestigious theatre awards, the Oliviers.
Former Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman gives his best performance to date as the despairing and driven protagonist, Sam. Despite my prior reservations at his casting, thinking him ‘too young’, onstage he shows a maturity that proves the Manchester born actor has definitely ‘come of age’.
left to righ: Sharon D. Clarke, Richard
Fleeshman, Caissie Levy.
Comedy comes in the form of Psychic Ode Mae Brown, played by Holby City’s Sharon D. Clarke-a theatre veteran who has previously appeared in Chicago and Hairspray. Armed with some wicked one liners there are times she truly steals the show and provides a well needed laugh in what could become an emotional tear-fest.
What makes the show so special though is the eye popping special effects which have you wondering ‘how did they do that’ long after you leave the theatre. Fleeshman jumps through doors, people, and at one point disappears right in front of your eyes-a real testament to illusionist Paul Kieve who has worked his magic on the production.

The show appears to have the makings of hit mixing talents from the world of the stage, pop music and film to bring the story to a new audience 20 years later. Those who remember the film fondly may likely want to take the journey again and see the story of 'Ghost' in a new light.

Below are more production photos with rehearsal photos in black and white.

This is the first of four posts about the upcoming production of 'Ghost the Musical' in London's West End.

Richard Fleeshman, center
The company of 'Ghost the Musical'
The company of 'Ghost the Musical'
Andrew Langtree plays Carl Bruner in the role originated by Tony
Goldwyn on film.
Levy and Fleeshman (center)

Richard Fleeshman (left) with Adebayo Bolaji who plays the subway ghost.
Richard Fleeshman (center)
Richard Fleeshman
Caissie Levy
Richard Fleeshman
Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy
Richard Fleeshman
Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy
Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman
Caissie Levy and Andrew Langtree, front and center.
Richard Fleeshman (left) with Adebayo Bolaji who
plays the subway ghost.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...