Curiocity: Q&A With Star Of ‘Ghost: The Musical’
When it comes to romantic love stories, few tales can compete with the classic film, Ghost. The story of a lost love from beyond the grave returning as a spiritual presence to comfort and protect the woman he loves gives new meaning to one’s eternal adoration.
In the iconic movie, Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore capture the never-ending passion between a couple separated by tragedy in a way we hadn’t seen before. Even for an early 90s hit, the special effects used to transform Swayze into a more-than-friendly ghost gave us all the illusion and hope that love truly conquers all.
But when it comes to an on-stage musical, how would this love story translate? Katie Postotnik, who plays Moore’s character Molly Jensen in the show, tells us about the live adaptation, making this love story come to life each night and of course, mastering the pottery wheel.
Most people are obviously familiar with the film, but how does the musical differ?
Actually, I would say it’s pretty similar to the movie. The actual script was written by the same person that wrote the screenplay, Bruce Joel Rubin. The different thing obviously is all of the music. Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart did a fantastic pop-rock score, working with Bruce to kind of bring this show to life in a new way. You know, “Unchained Melody” is kind of the one song that people remember from the movie and it’s played throughout and kind of used as a theme throughout the musical, so you’ll hear that familiar song but then all of the rest of the music is original music that was made for the show. And it’s really awesome.
The songs are certainly powerful and convey a lot of emotion throughout the show. What is it like for you to be able to perform them as Molly?
Yeah, it’s definitely an emotional rollercoaster being Molly in “Ghost.” She’s dealing with such a difficult thing for anyone when they lose someone they love. I think the struggle every night is just to make sure that everyone in the audience feels her and can connect with her and relate to her, so they really get drawn into the story. I think the musical allows for that to happen every night. People leave, you know, sobbing and it’s such a touching story and such a fantastic love story. I think it affects a lot of people deeply – on a deep, emotional level.
And besides being emotional, I think this show is a lot of fun, as well. I think it has something for everyone. Oda Mae is hilarious and such a great comedic relief character. Our Oda Mae (Carla R. Stewart), which is the Whoopi Goldberg character, is fantastic. And then there’s the action with the fight stuff with the guys and we have a stage that’s very technologically advanced.
Yeah, I was going to ask about that. It sounds like there’s quite a bit of illusions and tricks with the show to convey this ghost figure. Without giving too much away, what can audiences expect?
There’s definitely lots of illusions. We worked with a guy named Paul Kieve who taught us all those. We kind of had to bring the idea of when Sam turns into a ghost, live on stage, and things from the movie that you remember, like Sam passing through the door, escaping bodies, there’s different things like that that happen. The technology and some old school magic tricks. It’s really fun and interesting for the audience. We also have these large video walls that project various backdrops and like a subway car, and it really helps bring the idea of New York City and brings New York to life each night.
And of course you can’t have Ghost without the scene at the pottery wheel. I hear you had to take pottery lessons? What was that like?
I had never thrown pottery before and actually, my wrists are sore right now. But actually, I’ve never done pottery – I did art in school but never took pottery class. So we had to go to pottery lessons in New York City and then I had to take what they taught me in class and make it happen every day on stage in a matter of minutes. You know what I mean? Like you don’t have much time to make something and if the clay’s not right, you just do the best you can. It’s a challenge every day.
Have you had any pottery wheel mishaps on stage?
Oh yeah. Definitely every day is different because the clay is different every day. So you just kind of never know. One time, the wheel – they charge it off stage and it didn’t go on – so I just kind of started building the clay with my hands. I was like, ‘Oh no.’ Things like that happen. Just like malfunctions with the wheel or you know, the clay, the clay, the clay.
What was your initial reaction to seeing the film, Ghost for the first time?
Oh yeah, I watched it growing up and I loved it. I remember crying. But I also saw the musical when it was on Broadway and I fell in love with it then and knew I wanted to play this role. I love the music and I love Molly’s songs that I get to sing every night. It’s a joy.
Your co-star, Steven Grant Douglas, is from Minnesota. Will he be showing you around while you’re here for the tour?
Yeah! I’ve been to Minnesota often. I’m from Wisconsin – I’m from Milwaukee – so I have friends from school that are there and friends and family that are driving up. So yeah, I’m very excited.
Ghost: The Musical runs from June 18 to June 23. Tickets range from $49 to $109. For more information or to buy tickets to the show, head to the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s website.