B.W.M.T. haunts Beck Center in ‘Ghost’ musical adaptation

Based on the 1990 movie of the same name, “Ghost” is a “love story turned ghost story” that will take audiences on an emotional and frightening journey. 


Austin Patterson, The Exponent

Danny Bo Delongaig rehearses a scene in “Ghost,” premiering at Lakewood’s Beck Center for the Arts on Feb. 9.

Baldwin Wallace musical theatre students will give Lakewood’s Beck Center for the Arts a glimpse of the afterlife this February with the musical “Ghost,” premiering on Feb. 9 and running for three consecutive weekends. 

Directed for BW by Victoria Bussert, “Ghost” is based on the hit 1990 film of the same name. The story follows Molly and Sam, a couple living in New York who are struck by tragedy when Sam is murdered and becomes a ghost. 

Adjunct professor Lauren Tidmore, the production’s choreographer, said the production team approached “Ghost” as a “love story turned ghost story.”  

“It’s really following the love story of Molly and Sam, and how that quickly becomes a story about ghosts in the supernatural world,” Tidmore said. 

Sophomore Jonathan Horowitz, an assistant stage manager, said that B.W.M.T.’s version of this musical will not be a direct remake of the original movie, but rather, it will be a new take on the story and incorporate many different sources of inspiration. 

Because “Ghost” centers around the supernatural, the cast and creatives for this production needed to learn how to convincingly pull off that Sam, played by senior music theatre major Mark Doyle, was a ghost that no one in the world of the musical could see. 

“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?” Doyle said. “It’s been fun to play with how to make that work on stage.” 

Tidmore said she was excited to bounce off ideas with the cast and creatives of “Ghost” to create the world of this show because nailing the technical elements is difficult without the movie magic seen in the film. 

Horowitz said that the company needed to use “clever storytelling to achieve ghostly … effects in lots of practical ways.” 

While the audience will be able to physically see Sam, audience members will see the story through the eyes of Molly, played by junior musical theater student Jessi Kirtley. 

“Molly is the person that the audience gets to experience the story with because, obviously, the audience doesn’t know anything about what it’s like to die,” Kirtley said. 

Kirtley said that a big challenge for her was learning how to convey an emotional journey through her performance because her character has to deal with the grief of losing a loved one and how to live on without them. 

“It’s such an emotionally deep show, and I think everybody can relate to grief and then finding your way back to hope,” Kirtley said. “But, obviously, in real life that takes people months, and I have to kind of show people how to do it in less than two hours.” 

Kirtley said that the music for “Ghost” pulls from contemporary pop music, as well as other genres, which, when paired with the upbeat choreographed pieces, is both challenging and exciting.  

Tidmore worked within these different music genres as well as varying emotional layers when creating the choreography for the production, and the students helped her with this creative process. 

“It’s really inspiring as a creator,” Tidmore said. “They really are bringing a lot of their own ideas to the table, which is really wonderful to bounce off of while also taking my specific choreography and really elevating it.” 

Performing “Ghost” at the Beck Center has given the students an opportunity to operate in a professional space that is unlike the facilities at BW. Doyle said that the theater is still “intimate” despite its larger size. 

At the Beck Center, the cast and crew have also been able to work with professionals who are a part of the Actors’ Equity Association – the labor union for live performers. 

“You get to see more of what it’s like to work with Equity,” Horowitz said. “[There’s] kind of a degree of professionalism that is still in BW shows, but it’s just like, up a notch because [this is] semi-professional.” 

Even in a semi-professional environment, being a part of “Ghost” is still a learning experience for all the students involved. Horowitz said that working with stage manager and BW alumnus Jack Ina has created a “forgiving environment” where students can “learn before the failure,” solving an issue before it becomes a true problem. 

Doyle said that this learning experience was a “confidence boost” for him as an actor because it brought with it all the challenges of playing a lead role, something that he has not experienced in quite some time. 

“I’m a senior, and I’m about to graduate, and I’m about to go to the real world and hopefully do more things like this, professionally,” Doyle said. “Just to be able to have the confidence that I can do all this work and put all this work in and have a good product come out of it is a good thing.” 

Kirtley said that she hopes audiences will leave the show inspired to treat others with kindness because life is not guaranteed, and the love shown to others will be the things remembered in this life and the next.  

“It’s just a really great show about connecting with people,” Kirtley said. “It just shows that there’s nothing that can beat human connection and to love the people you have while you have them. But even if you have lost somebody, there’s some[one] out there looking after you.” 

“It really takes you on an emotional journey,” Tidmore said. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and maybe your feet will be tapping along to music too.” 

“Ghost” runs the weekends of Feb. 10-26, with additional performances on Feb 9, 16 and 23 in the Beck Center’s Senney Theater in Lakewood. Tickets can be purchased here.