Stunning Performance of GHOST THE MUSICAL at The Grand

by Dennis Bloh

A new theatre, a new show, and a wonderful two and a half hours of entertainment. That was my experience seeing GHOST THE MUSICAL at The Grand Theatre in Williamstown, NJ. A lovely, well-appointed theater capable of large musical productions, The Grand presents the area premier of the musical version of the Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore film.

Director, Lauri Hudson has mounted a highly energetic and slickly piloted production. First of all, kudos to the technical crew. The voices and music were beautifully balanced and the stage manager made sure that the scene changes were quick and effective. It is a play that requires a great deal of smoke and video projection, all of which were handled with tremendous efficacy by the technical crew.

Next, the choreography was wonderfully inventive. The ensemble was an energetic mix of trained dancers and enthusiastic actors. Choreographer, Lauren Pantanovich gets the best of both groups, often mixing them allowing the dancers to be surrounded by the synchronized movements of the non-dancers. These movements helped sweep the plot along and control the changing tempo.

Andrew Ruggieri as Sam demonstrates alternately power and tenderness. We feel his pain and embrace his struggle. Jill Bradshaw as Molly captures the longing and confusion of her character, while JD Shaw as the traitorous Carl plays the villain with both ambiguity and menace.

As the iconic Oda Mae Brown, Danielle Hartley-Scott chews the scenery serving up a triple threat of singing, dancing and comic acting that lets her steal scenes from the impressive actors mentioned above.

If this production is indicative of the quality at The Grand Theatre, then South Jersey surely has a gem that should not be missed. The show runs until February 7th and this tremendous production deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.

Book & Lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin
Music & Lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard
Directed by Lauri Hudson
Musical Director – Rusian Odintsov
January 22 – February 7, 2015
The Grand Theatre
405 South Main Street
Williamstown, NJ 08094

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