Baldwin Wallace U and Beck Center for the Arts co-production of 'Ghost: The Musical'
Thursday, March 23, 2023
BEREA, OH (03/23/2023)-- Students from our area were part of the talented cast and crew in the Baldwin Wallace University and Beck Center for the Arts collaborative production of "Ghost: The Musical" directed by Victoria Bussert with choreography by Lauren Tidmore and music direction by Matthew Webb during the spring 2023 semester. The following students were in the production:
Chase Kessler of Mount Laurel (08054), a graduate of Lenape High School majoring in music theatre direction, served as assistant music director/keyboard programmer and played keyboards.
Marius Pearson of Medford (08055), a graduate of Shawnee High School majoring in music theatre, served as Sound A-2 and was a member of the run crew.
Based on the 1990 film starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, "Ghost: The Musical" tells the story of Sam and Molly, whose lives are forever altered when Sam is killed and needs to protect Molly from his murderer as a ghost. Due to its otherworldly storyline, the production posed some hurdles.
The first challenge was portraying ghostly apparitions on stage without the help of "movie magic." Music theatre major Mark Doyle, who played the part of Sam, explained what the actors were up against in BW's student-run newspaper, The Exponent, "How do we do this scene without acknowledging that there's this other person in the room, who we can hear, and we can see in real life, but in the story, we cannot? It's been fun to play with how to make that work on stage." Assistant stage manager Jonathan Horowitz, a theatre stage management major, said they used "clever storytelling to achieve ghostly effects in lots of practical ways."
Another struggle was the story's emotional complexity. Music theater major Jessi Kirtley, who played Molly, told The Exponent, "It's such an emotionally deep show, and I think everybody can relate to grief and then finding your way back to hope. But, obviously, in real life that takes people months, and I have to show people how to do it in less than two hours."
In addition to honing skills to tackle those challenges, the production offered the career-building opportunity of working in a professional theatre. The students also interacted with other industry professionals, including production stage manager Jack-Anthony Ina, an Actors' Equity Association member and BW alumnus, and Colleen Longshaw, an Actors' Equity Association member who played the part of Oda Mae Brown, portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the film.
"Ghost: The Musical" is one of an extensive number of performance experiences providing real-world opportunities for students in the Baldwin Wallace music theatre program. From lead roles on Broadway and London's West End to prime-time television, film and more, music theatre alumni have garnered top acclaim for more than 20 years. As a result, BW's program has earned accolades from leading agents, casting directors, critics and other industry professionals. For upcoming music theatre performances, visit bw.edu/events/music-theatre.
Baldwin Wallace University, founded in 1845, was one of the first colleges to admit students without regard to race or gender. An independent, coeducational university of 3,500 students, BW offers coursework in the liberal arts tradition in more than 80 academic areas. Located in Berea, 12 miles from downtown Cleveland, BW offers students the cultural, educational and business advantages of a major metropolitan area.