DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Ghost Star Caissie Levy

By Andrew Gans
02 Mar 2012

Levy in the London production
Photo by Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Question: How would you describe Molly?
Levy: Well, I think she's an incredibly strong woman. She's an independent person. She's an artist. She goes her own way. And, I think her love for Sam and her connection to Sam is a really interesting one because they're people from two different worlds that come together. He's this very-much over-achieving, Wall-Street jock, kind of, and her back-story is quite different than that. I think they just have this primal connection, and maybe she ended up with Sam as somebody that she never really thought she'd pick. But it happened. And, they have this connection that transcends in a very sexual and very raw and a very loving [way]. She's a tough cookie, but, obviously, she goes through it quite a bit in this story when she loses him. As an actor, that's what's so good about the role is I get to really explore a whole section of emotion with her and take her on this really great journey. She starts out very strong, very funny, very sort of free-spirited, and then her spirit gets broken with the loss—the sudden, tragic loss of her boyfriend. And, her world gets torn apart, and she has to go through all of the pain before she can hit the other side. I really like her. I think she's pretty great. [Laughs.]

Question: How would you describe the score?
Levy: The score. Oh! The score is fabulous. It's Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics and Glen Ballard, who's written about every pop song you've ever heard! They're like rock legends, and it's crazy that we get to work with them. And, they're two of the most genius, generous guys I've ever met really. They've written this score that's a great hybrid of pop and musical theatre with a rock edge to it. These are two guys that know how to write a pop song better than anyone. These songs are really catchy, they're really emotive, they're really tuneful. I've got a lot of really wonderful ballads and sort of anthemic songs in the show. I get to sing some really great stuff, so I feel really lucky, and then the Oda May [character's] stuff is really bluesy and up-tempo and funky. What's great about it also is that the music is quite specific to the show, but also relatable outside of the show… For instance, my song "With You," which is sort of this big—I shouldn't say big, actually, it's a small moment on stage, but it's one moment in the show where things are very still and there isn't a lot happening, and I'm just singing about losing Sam. Kind of the first moment Molly's alone and processing this loss, and it's such a beautiful song, and it seems to be the song that people pluck out of the show and, you know, cover on YouTube. All the young kids are doing their own rendition of it, which is amazing! What's beautiful about it is that it's so perfectly placed in the show, and it makes so much sense right where it is, but if you do take it out of the context of the show, it's such a really great pop song—a really great song about losing someone, whether they died, whether you just broke up with them. That's what Glen and Dave are so brilliant at. I think the score is pretty fabulous.

Levy in Hair.
photo by Joan Marcus

Question: How do you find the score in terms of vocal demands compared to Wicked and Hair?
Levy: It's a huge sing. It's a huge sing, and very much like Elphaba, where every time I'm on stage, I'm rocking out. [Laughs.] And, it's amazing. I'm so fortunate to do it, but it's a big undertaking. Because I've been singing it for a year now, it's really in my body, and I've found moments where I get to lay into the songs and moments where I get to show my softer side and my folkier side. The show, itself, is quite demanding, vocally, in addition to the songs because we do a lot of screaming, a lot of crying. [Laughs.] Sounds like so much fun, doesn't it? But it's a big sing for myself and for Richard as well. Like I said, we've been living with the show for a while, so it's doable—definitely doable. I don't think I missed any shows for the first nine months of the run.

Question: Has much been changed for the New York production so far?
Levy: Yeah, things have been changing. We've been fine-tuning things quite a lot. This is our third tech process for the creative team and myself and Richard, who plays Sam, so we've gone through this process a couple times now already. I think there's always been sort of a short list of things to get to at the next process. Now that we've played the show in Manchester, we've played the show in London, and now we're bringing it to New York, and Ghost is preparing to open all over the world in a bunch of other cities, they've really taken the time now to focus certain scenic elements… Emotional moments in the show have been fine-tuned, a line or two has been changed here or there, some songs have been tightened, some things have been replaced, a couple of songs have been replaced, some characters have been tweaked. All for the better. I'm finding this process really exciting because I think the show is just becoming stronger and stronger, and that's what we want. When we open on Broadway, we want it to be the best version of Ghost that it can be.