Ghost The Musical defies gravity at Broward Center
“It's amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you. See ya.”

—Sam Wheat

Ghost The Musical opened at Broward Center For The Performing Arts April 29 and captivated the crowd with its mind-boggling special effects and tender story line. Starring Steven Grant Douglas as Sam Wheat and Katie Postotnik as Molly Jenson, Ghost The Musical is set in modern day New York City and very closely follows the script and plot of the wildly popular 1990 film, Ghost, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

While screen-to-stage musicals are nothing new [It’s already been done with Flashdance, Footloose, Big, Rocky and many others], there’s something very different about the stage version of Ghost. Whenever you are attached to a movie version of something, it’s hard to see the stage version without continously comparing it. But I don’t recommend going to any screen-to-stage obsessing over the film version. If you do, you’ll miss the rawness of experiencing the stage version for what it is on its own.

The show’s plot centers on Molly and Sam, lovers with a beautiful future ahead until Sam’s greedy business partner accidentally has him killed by a mugger in an attempt to gain access to his corporate bank account password. For the remainder of the show, Sam’s spirit cannot leave earth until he warns and protects Molly from the impending danger of his murderer and the best friend who betrayed him who are still infiltrating her life.

Directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Warchus, Ghost The Musical offers unique special effects never done before on-stage in a musical. The show opens with an impressive moving city scape of New York City’s iconic skyline and actors and props appear to defy gravity floating through the air. The subway scenes in the show are stunning and so realistic at times, you forget you are in a playhouse.

One of the major highlights of the show was the role of Oda Mae Brown, played by the vivacious Carla R. Stewart. This beloved character, originally portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the big screen version of Ghost, is sassy and provides much needed comic relief in the stage show.

Stewart’s character possesses a gift as a medium that allows her to unknowingly communicate with Wheat and bring word to Molly that she is in danger. While much of Stewart’s lines and actions mimic Goldberg’s original role, she brings her own spark to the character and you can’t help but walk away falling in love with this kooky former con woman with a heart of gold.

Of course, “Unchained Melody” had its own very prominent role in the musical and there were several versions of it performed through the show including acoustic, funky and traditional renditions of the classic love ballad by The Righteous Brothers.

But perhaps what I enjoyed most about Ghost The Musical is not the musical numbers or the dialogue. It’s the feeling I walked away with long after I picked up my car from the valet and settled into my bed that night. I love the karmic message of the film that good comes to those who have done good and for the evil people on the earth, their judgement day is coming. I hugged my husband even tighter that night knowing I have the love of an honest man, not one who has fattened his bank account by taking advantage of others.

Living in a world tainted by greed, it’s a refreshing notion to kick back and see a show that promotes the simple message of undying love and that yes, you can get away with doing horrendous things on earth but one day, you have to take responsibility for it.

Ghost the Musical runs through May 11 at Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $34.50 -$114.50. Call 954-462-0222 or visit BrowardCenter.org.

Contact Joanie Cox-Henry at jkcox@tribune.com or follow her tweets @joaniecox.