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'Ghost' closes in London to make room for 'Viva Forever'
After about a year and a half-long run at the London West End Piccadilly Theatre, "Ghost" is set to close its doors on October 6. The show opened in July 2011, after a spring premiere at the Manchester Opera House. The musical, based on the 1990 film starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg, has a similar plot to the movie.
The show focuses on main character Sam, who is trapped as a ghost after he is brutally murdered in a dark street. He is stuck in the in-between in order to protect and save his girlfriend, Molly, whom he learns is in grave danger.
The West End production currently stars Siobhan Dillon as Molly and Mark Evans as Sam. The show also features members of the original London cast, Sharon D. Clarke and Andrew Langtree. The show's original stars, Caissie Levy and Richard Fleeshman, are still performing in the Broadway production in New York at the Lunt-fontanne Theatre.
The "Ghost" production team features director Matthew Warchus, a musical score by Glen Ballard and David Stewart, and a book by Bruce Joel Rubin. Rubin wrote the screenplay for the film, which won him an Academy Award in 1991. The team also includes Ashley Wallen with choreography and Bobby Aitken with sound. In 2012, the production won three Whatsonstage.com Awards, after receiving nominations in nine different categories. The awards won include Robert Fleeshman for Best Actor in a Musical, Rob Howell for Best Set Designer (also winning for his "Matilda the Musical" set design), and Hugh Vanstone for Best Lighting Designer.
Through its running time in London and in New York so far, the show has not received overwhelmingly sparkling reviews, hearing from both The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Times that the show was not memorable, and only the special effects held the performance together. As Charles Isherwood of The New York Times describes, "it is embroidered in the musical by a series of innocuous, forgettable pop songs, mostly love ballads," and "the melodies are pleasant, but just as bland." According to David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter, "the show's saving grace is its dazzling technology." He believes that the musical is too similar to the movie, as Rubin "lobbed it wholesale onto the stage, often with huge chunks of dialogue intact."
Upon the closing of "Ghost" in October, the Piccadilly Theatre will welcome the new musical, "Viva Forever," which is set to open in December at the theatre. This musical about the beloved 90's female pop band, the Spice Girls, will be making its world premiere, according to the Daily Mail.
The show will be directed by Paul Garrington and produced by Judy Craymer with a book by Jennifer Saunders and choreography by Lynne Page. The production team will also include Peter Mackintosh with set and costume design. The book features 16 songs from the Spice Girls' repertoire, including "Wannabe," "Say You'll Be There," and "The Lady is a Vamp," according to Broadway.com. Auditions for the musical begin sometime this month, with rehearsals beginning in September.