Review Roundup: GHOST THE MUSICAL Opens on Broadway - All the Reviews!
Jonathan Mandell, The Faster Times: Ghost the Musical is a literally spectacular stage show. It makes better use of video projections than any previous show on Broadway...No other current Broadway show – and, I would wager, no Broadway show ever – has had an illusionist as part of the design team...Director Matthew Warchus, whose previous directorial efforts on Broadway have tilted toward sophisticated comedies, the Broadway equivalent of art house movies — Art, God of Carnage, The Norman Conquest – is here trying something new. I’m not sure he is presiding over the Broadway equivalent of a date movie; it seems closer to the Broadway equivalent of a theme park ride. That’s not a put-down. The best rides are exhilarating.
Linda Winer, Newsday: The ads for "Ghost: The Musical" proclaim "You've never felt anything like this . . . You've never seen anything like this." The point, well taken, is that this song-and-dance adaptation of the hit 1990 movie attempts to push Broadway technology beyond mere cinematic rip-off to something akin to music videos at the IMAX. Never mind, presumably, that the songs, the story and the acting are paint-by-numbers primers that add nothing to the movie that starred Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg and a pottery wheel spinning to the unhinged innuendo of "Unchained Melody." The main event here is the feeling/seeing of all the neat nonstop special effects (except when a mysterious technical glitch caused a dead stop for almost a half-hour at a recent preview).
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: If you haven't seen Ghost on screen, there's a bittersweet ending. For the musical's producers, the future looks brighter: A third production is set to open in Melbourne next year. Apparently, sentimentality and special effects are draws — even if the latter can play tricks on you occasionally.
Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: The chief draws of Warchus' production are the high-tech set (by designer Rob Howell), the cinematic video projections (designed by Jon Driscoll), the striking lighting (designed by Hugh Vanstone), and illusionist Paul Kieve's onstage magic effects that let Sam move objects and walk through walls. Like Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, the musical version of Ghost haunts the eye, not the ear.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg: If the comic-book ideal appeals to you as much as it apparently did to director Matthew Warchus -- and if you haven’t been to the movies in, say, a couple of decades -- “Ghost: The Musical” has plenty to offer. Palpitating with light-emitting diodes that blink, flicker, zip and flash, “Ghost” is like “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” without the depth.
Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune: Our fervent if fantastical wish that our lives, and the lives of those we love, don't end with death has informed musicals since the form was invented. It is the heartbeat of "Carousel," one of the greatest musicals of all. So that moment in "Ghost" — not so different, really, from the instant Julie Jordan senses Billy Bigelow standing before her — should put a lump in your throat. And for a second, it does (it's why the movie made plenty of people cry). But in this instance, it's quickly replaced by resentment that a show has co-opted and manipulated such an exquisitely raw and potent device, a vulnerable place for any audience where no show should casually tread, and used it so carelessly, tossing away the human vulnerability for a slew of harsh, digitized illusions.
Vulture (NY Mag): I call Stewart (a former Eurythmic) and veteran popsmith Ballard “composers,” but “producers” is closer to the spirit of the thing: This is really not music but production, which is keeping with Ghost’s gestalt: It’s the most impressively overproduced entity on Broadway, and there’s no small thrill in witnessing the technical prowess on display, even when it batters your retinas like timpani on Orff night, drowning out everything else.
Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer: Luckily, the show recovers, delivered by four talented leads who include Philadelphian Da’Vine Joy Randolph in the part of the con-artist spiritualist. Randolph, a Temple University grad who received her bachelor’s degree in classical vocal performance and went on to a drama master’s from Yale, is giving the juicy role a great ride, belting it out when called for, playing it for all the extremes it’s worth and generally sizzling.