Introducing Katie Woods, the Director of our upcoming production of Bruce Joel Rubin's 'Ghost: The Musical', which opens in just over a week's time!
When I told my friends last term that I wanted to direct Ghost: The Musical, the name of the show drew nothing but puzzled looks. When I then rephrased it and said “you know the Patrick Swayze film with the pottery,” I got a much more enthusiastic response of "ohhhh yeah,” to which I followed up with, “so like that, but the musical version.”
I guarantee that most people will have heard of the 1990 motion picture starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. It is nothing short of iconic and, dare I say it, one of the best romantic films ever made. It is surprising to me that the musical isn’t as well known, but that is potentially because it is a lot more recent, first brought to London in 2012. Controversially perhaps, I think it’s even better than the film as the songs really bring out its best elements. Molly’s grief is depicted in one of the most heart wrenching songs in musical theatre, 'With You', whilst the Righteous Brothers’ classic 'Unchained Melody' - one of the most emotional moments in the film - is intensified by the immediacy of a live performance.
This is going to be my first time directing a musical, mostly because I am a fan of well-developed character portrayals, something that I believe is missing in a lot of musical theatre. For me, the fact that Ghost: The Musical lifts scenes straight out of the film gives the show a realistic feel, and as such, we are making it a priority to focus on giving the acting and the dialogue as much attention as the songs and the choreography. As a result, what I think drives this production is the relationship between Molly and Sam. Their relationship has to be genuine, subtle and moving to the audience in order for us to feel their pain and to invest in their lives and their death. We are focusing on having simple but effective sets, with an emphasis on technical elements, rather than big cumbersome set pieces. The reason behind our desire for fluid staging is to give the production a modern feel, releasing it from the traditional static way of staging those more classical musicals.
It is a testament to the themes in the original Ghost film that the story is still so popular 30 years later and across different generations. Personally, I think it’s because this story really appeals to the human need to believe. Molly’s faith in Sam is heartwarming and empowering for anyone who’s ever lost anyone. The discussion of how hard it is to let go of someone you loved, as well as the depiction of the enduring power of love after death, is why this story will continue to hold relevance and I hope that this musical will become as much of a cult classic as the film did back in 1990.
Ghost: The Musical runs from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 May at 7.45pm at the ADC Theatre. Book your tickets here!