‘Ghost the Musical’…Timeless love story, high tech imagery, epic music

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Theater meets the movie theater is how Carla R. Stewart describes “Ghost the Musical” when she was asked to describe the new musical that will be making its Pittsburgh debut at Heinz Hall from Dec. 31 to Jan. 5.

“The audience will be wowed by the LED walls and the projections used in the musical. You’ll feel like you’re in the movie theater,” said Stewart who plays the role of kind-hearted medium, Oda Mae Brown in the show.

Based on the blockbuster 1990 movie of the same name, (which starred the late Patrick Swayze as the main character Sam Wheat; Demi Moore as Molly Jensen; and comedian, actress and “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg as clairvoyant Oda Mae Brown. Goldberg won the best supporting actress Oscar for the role)—“Ghost the Musical” centers around two star-crossed lovers, Sam and Molly who are attacked as they are returning to their apartment. During the attack, Sam dies and is caught between this world and the afterlife. Molly is in danger and Sam cannot crossover. As a result, he enlists the help of medium Oda Mae Brown to help him warn Molly and eventually save her from harm.

“A lot of the same favorite moments from the movie will be in the musical. Molly’s character took pottery classes so the scene at the pottery wheel will be there,” said Stewart.

The self-diagnosed food addict said she fell in love with Oda Mae’s character because Oda Mae is a lot like Stewart who is high energy, funny when she’s being serious and brings comedic timing.

“Oda Mae gets to be the light in the shadows. The comedy aspect is what drew me to the role. I get to show another layer of who I am as an actor because Oda Mae is a larger than life character,” Stewart said.

Stewart was very familiar with the character of Oda Mae because she has seen the movie, “Ghost” numerous times. However, to prepare for the role, Stewart refused to watch Goldberg’s award-winning performance.

“I want to breath new life into the character. I didn’t want everything to be a mirror image of what Whoopi did. Oda Mae is a show time psychic and her claim to fame is that she can talk to people who have passed over. She really wants to give people hope and people just want to believe in her. When she hears Sam for the first time, you realize that what she has been doing is true,” Stewart said.

“Ghost the Musical” is being presented as part of the Broadway Across America Pittsburgh series. A special New Year’s Eve package with special pricing of the musical and Highmark’s First Night are available.

The special package offers more than $20 in savings for revelers who attend both events. “Ghost the Musical” attendees save on the show’s ticket price and also receive free, all access Highmark First Night buttons (one per ticket holder up to a $10 value), which is good for almost 50 indoor and outdoor venues within a few blocks of Heinz Hall between 6 p.m. and midnight. The 20th anniversary of Pittsburgh’s First Night will feature live music, fireworks, dance, theater, magic, comedy, and the raising of the Future of Pittsburgh ball at midnight. Packages are $40 and $50 based upon select seating locations.

For tickets and more information call 412-392-4900 or visit http://www.TrustArts.org.

“Ghost the Musical” was first performed March 28, 2011 at the Manchester Opera House in Manchester, England, and began its American tour on Broadway in March of 2012. The Broadway production closed August 2012, winning a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design and received three Tony Award nominations. The U.S. non-equity tour began in Schenectady, New York, in September, In addition to Stewart, the cast includes Steven Grant Douglas as Sam Wheat, Katie Postotnik as Molly and Robby Haltiwanger as Carl Bruner.

“I want people to walk away with hope when they see ‘Ghost the Musical.’ It’s so important to tell the people that you love that you really do love them. Say it with the words while you can,” Stewart said.

“Everybody ultimately wants love at some point in their lives. We can all associate with love.”

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