Caissie Levy, who portrayed Sheila to thrilling effect in the Tony-winning revival of Hair, returns to Broadway later this month in Ghost The Musical, which begins previews March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Levy, who possesses a stirring, wide-ranging, soaring belt, had the rare opportunity to create her role in the musical based on the award-winning 1990 film of the same name on the London stage last year opposite Richard Fleeshman, who will also re-create his performance for Broadway audiences. The supernatural romance casts Levy, who has also been seen on Broadway in Wicked, as Molly, the role created on screen by Demi Moore. Tony winner Matthew Warchus directs the new musical, which features a book by Bruce Joel Rubin, who adapted his Oscar-winning screenplay for the musical, and music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner Dave Stewart (of the Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard. Earlier this week I had the chance to chat with the gifted performer about her latest Broadway outing, which marks the first time the singing actress has created a role in a new musical; that interview follows.
Question: How did the London casting come about for you?
Levy: I actually auditioned for Ghost the day before we closed Hair in London. I met with Matthew [Warchus] while I was in Hair in New York and sort of chatted about this project, but I didn't really know that it was happening in the West End. I think it was just for a reading at that time. And then, they all came, I guess, to see the show—they came to see Hair in London—and I went in to have an audition, and I got the gig, so it was one of those really quick things.
|photo by Sean Ebsworth Barnes|
Question: Was there any problem with Equity? I think things are easier now than they used to be…
Levy: Equity has been amazing. I'm Canadian, as well, so I've always dealt with these immigration issues, and they've always been really supportive, whether it's Canadian Equity, American Equity or British Equity. They arranged the exchange, and it was able to happen. I was so grateful for it.
Question: Had you been a fan of the film, and did you go back to the film?
Levy: Yeah, I've always been a fan of the film, actually, since the time I was a kid, and I didn't really go back to it because I didn't want to create an imitation of Demi Moore's performance. I knew that the script—the stage adaptation—was being done by Bruce Joel Rubin, [who penned the screenplay]. We've had him on board every day of rehearsals since day one in London, and he's back again throughout this whole process in New York. I knew that it was very faithful to the film, so I didn't feel the need to go back and do any research with the film because the words I was saying on stage every night are basically from the movie, but there are many departures as well. I thought it would be best to sort of leave it be. It's one of those movies that's so in everybody's minds. It's in the public consciousness so much that I didn't feel like I was missing anything if I didn't go back.
Question: What was the reaction to the show in London? How did audiences respond to it there?
Levy: The audiences were absolutely amazing. I found it really interesting, actually, that having been there with Hair and coming to London with the entire American cast after we were sort of the toast of the season, and people that came to the show to see Hair in London loved it, of course, but it was a tougher sell over there. And, London audiences don't really give standing ovations, as you probably know… It was tough to get them up on their feet at the end of Hair and what was so interesting was, when we were doing Ghost, people were leaping to their feet before the end of the show. It was amazing! I think because I had that experience with Hair in London, I appreciated it even more. I found it really interesting—I think it's because the story of Ghost appeals to everybody, and everybody can relate to it. It really moves people. I mean, the sobs that you hear during the show are almost hilarious. [Laughs.] It's amazing that people feel so moved. The audiences were wonderful to us… and I'm just excited for New York audiences and American audiences to see this show.
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