Oldham Coliseum says ‘Ditto’ to Ghost the Musical

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 15 January 2016

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Based on the hit 1990 tear-jerker movie starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost the musical took to the stage in 2011 having its world premiere at Manchester’s Opera House.

It gained a rapturous response from audiences and big nods from theatre critics for its spine chilling score and beautiful lyrics penned by Eurythmics Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard and Bruce Joel Ruben. Since then it has had runs in the West End, on Broadway and Internationally.

Now a local Amateur Dramatics Society is bringing it back to the North where it first started by putting on their version of the show at Oldham Coliseum from 24-28th March.

Ashton Operatic Society’s North West amateur premiere of “Ghost the Musical” has already been given star support from the man who made the lead role of Sam Wheat his own – Manchester’s very own Richard Fleeshman.

Richard Fleeshman

The 2 years I spent performing in GHOST were truly unforgettable. 
I hope you all have as much fun and excitement with the production as I did and although I can”t be with you, I will be there in “spirit”

Manchester’s Finest caught up with Lee Brennan, the show’s Director, to find out how it was tackling such a huge show on an amateur production budget.

MF: So Lee what is it like taking on Ghost the Musical?

LB: When I first got contacted about directing Ghost it was exciting as the music, score and story are already classic anyway, but in terms of the magic and technicality that’s where my big challenge was. On the whole rehearsals have gone well, all the cast have grown with the production and have been working alongside an illusionist who has really helped with them understanding how the magic tricks will work. It is all really exciting.

MF: Had you seen Ghost the Musical before?

LB: I’d never seen the show when it was in Manchester, which obviously adds another dimension to our production and allows me to put my own stamp on it without any preconceived ideas. Most of the cast have seen the professional production prior to rehearsals so there’s pretty much been an open dialogue between us about what they felt worked and didn’t work. There’s been things that needed to be changed, which has brought us to where we are today.

MF: What changes have you had to make to the show for it to work for you?

LB: There’s nothing in terms of what we have cut from the original production but we have had to scale back the technical side of it and adapt and rework it. If anyone has seen the professional production there’s a conveyor belt track on the stage, which is used to do a number of scene changes plus large LED screens, so all of that has had to be casino online looked at. The character of Oda Mae Brown was created with an afro Caribbean actor in mind but in our production is played by someone who is white so we have changed a few of the lines to incorporate that.

MF: The musical was created with big backing behind it and has played on massive stages, how difficult was it to rein it in for an amateur production at Oldham Coliseum?

LB: It’s all about managing expectations and being realistic about our budget and what we can achieve. At the end of the day we want to produce a quality production and not everyone who comes along to watch Ghost at Oldham Coliseum will have seen the professional production. We just want everyone to go away with the same experience, engage with the characters and not be disappointed with the illusions we have created.

MF: How difficult was it to cast the lead parts of Sam and Molly?

LB: Throughout the audition process we looked quite closely at the way the characters of Sam and Molly connected to each other, that’s really what for me is what the whole production is held on. So we spent a few days doing open auditions, recalls and then exploring that connection through a number of different workshops with dialogue and singing. It was a tough call but once we cast Sam (Samuel Maurice) and Molly (Hannah Davenport) everything worked around them.

MF: The show runs for only 6 performances, if it goes well is there any chance you may do another run later in the year?

LB: Well we open on Tuesday and run through to Saturday evening and it will depend on the practicality of venues and the availability of the cast but we will see.