For me to really enjoy a theatrical production there needs to be three major pieces that allow me to get lost in the show. Excellent live music, creative and appropriate set design, and a good story. Ghost has all of this and some more.
Now, I have never seen the movie Ghost. I went into this show knowing nothing about the story. I knew it was a love story of some nature but not anything more then that. The story is filled with betrayal and revenge, yet predicable. Muwahahahahaha... I am not a big fan of romance novels or films. They tend to annoy me because for the most part these stories are not real and I wind up feeling cheated. So I had no desire to watch Ghost, nor did I want to ruin the show. Now, however, I might just watch it because the show was that good.
The music was perfect. A powerful mood setting LIVE orchestra. The actual songs were well written and lyrically beautiful. The set was well thought out and worked for the show. My favorite being the subway set where there is a screen in front of the subway seats and the subway is projected on to the screen while the subway moves from heading right to back to right again. All the while Sam is getting tossed around by a character that is referred to as "Subway Ghost" and actors are dancing and moving around. Also going on are slowly flying objects.
The best part of the show are the special effects. For a welcomed change the effects were not focused on strapping actors into wire harnesses. Think about it; Wicked, Mary Poppins, Little Mermaid, Spider-Man, etc. I love my aerials but I have yet to see a Broadway show really pull off aerials well (Chix 6, fingers crossed!). The flying aspects can be (and for the most part is) excellent, but it's so common place these days that there is no wow factor.
The effects in Ghost were focused on making Sam appear supernatural and the biggest of them being when he walked through the door leaving everyone wondering how they pulled it off! My friend and I are sure it has something to do with the frame that was in front of the door, but how?????? I am still wondering how they pulled off the double bodies in the deaths. Of course there was a touch of wire work when both Willie Lopez and Carl Bruner are killed and pulled up into the air before being pulled back into hell.
I can't say enough about how great this show is and it officially opens TONIGHT! I had no idea we went to a preview show until we saw the sign after we left and I bet if I actually looked at the tickets they say preview.
My friend that came with me happens to be in an air cast on her foot. I happened to mention this to the person running the trip only because he had asked us where we were eating and I said Friday's because she can't walk far and that was the closest place. He re-arraigned the seating tickets and put us on a aisle so she could get in and out easy. How sweet is that? Also when we got to Lunt-Fontanne Theater we were early and the line had not started but a field trip group was getting ready to go in. We managed to jump past them and the staff let us right in. I also did not realize we had orchestra seats. We are usually in the mezzanine and I actually like mezzanine better because of the steep stadium seating, but in this case orchestra was perfect since I have no idea how my friend would have made it up and down the stairs. The staff actually let us in to the orchestra section early and escorted her to the handicap facilities. The usher took us to our seats and told her where every bump in the walk way was on the way down. We also skipped out a just after the cast bowed together so she didn't have to push through the crowd leaving.
We were both very happy with how the theater staff treated her.
Up next in June is Broadways Nice Work with Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara. A brand spanking new show based on the 1920's mansions of Long Island... hrm... I wonder if this is a comedic nod to The Great Gatsby! Not to mention George and Ira Gershwin music! If they pull out some awesome Charleston moves I will be in love.
I am thinking some time soon a trip to see The Book of Mormon is in order as well... Oh Ghost, see what you went and did? Brought back my passion for Broadway. =)
Below is the trailer for the London production which appears to be the same show. They show a clip of the subway scene I mentioned.