Curtain Up: ‘Ghost—The Musical’ Materializes at Segerstrom Center

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Ghost the MusicalOne of the most iconic movie moments in recent memory is the pottery scene from the 1990 movie “Ghost,” starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

That scene lives on in “Ghost—The Musical” that runs through August 10 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

For those who have not seen the film, “Ghost” is a timeless fantasy about the power of love, with a twist. While returning to their New York apartment one night after dinner, Sam and Molly are mugged. Sam is shot to death, but ends up trapped as a ghost between this world and the next. He discovers Molly is in danger, and enlists the aid of a phony psychic to communicate with Molly.

The musical features book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, who has adapted his Academy Award-winning original screenplay for the stage. The music and lyrics is courtesy of Dave Stewart (half of the pop duo Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard (producer of Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”). The score includes “Unchained Melody,” performed in the film by The Righteous Brothers.

“Ghost—The Musical” features Steven Grant Douglas in the Patrick Swayze role of Sam Wheat. It’s a role that Douglas says offers myriad challenges, both vocally and emotionally.

“We do eight shows a week, and it’s a vocally demanding role. Early in the tour I started to have vocal problem—I had to learn how to sing this show,” said Douglas. “We’ve now doneGhost the Musical over 280 performances, so I’m more at ease with performing in the show. By the time we close, I will have done 300 performances and I am still finding things, new discoveries, things I had not thought of, which is so exciting for me. I’m not on autopilot. I’m always striving for more. I had a professor who said great actors always strive for perfection knowing they’re never going to achieve it.”

Douglas noted that the story in the musical version remains the same, but the addition of music to help tell the story adds emotional layers to the show.

“Music moves people in a way they don’t always expect,” noted Douglas. “You hear music and it gives you chills—there are moments in our show that do that. The story is familiar but gets elevated to an entirely new level because the music pushes the door open for people to go through. The show has wonderful original music that will tear your heart strings, and great gospel numbers. And the song ‘Unchained Melody’ becomes the thread that connects all the moments.”

“Ghost—The Musical” is full of special visual effects, including a scene where Sam steps through a door.

“It’s an illusion first performed in 1894,” he said. “It’s newly updated but the blueprint is the same. Professional magicians come and see the show and do not know how it happens. Even David Copperfield came and saw it and asked how it happened. But the illusion is not there for the effects, the illusion is amazing but it needs to happen for the story to continue.”

Douglas said the audience reaction to “Ghost—The Musical” has been the same no matter what city they play.

“We get standing ovations and tears shed.”

Single tickets start at $25. For more information, visit SCFTA.org or call (714) 556-2787.

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