Warchus to Direct Ghost Musical, with Dave Stewart-Glen Ballard Score, in London

By Mark Shenton
06 Mar 2009

Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart

A new musical version of the 1990 film "Ghost" will debut in the West End in 2010.

The musical will feature music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. Bruce Joel Rubin will adapt his own Oscar-winning original screenplay for the stage and will also co-write the lyrics. Matthew Warchus and Rob Howell, who last worked together on the Broadway-bound trilogy of Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests at the Old Vic and before that on The Lord of the Rings (Toronto and London) and Boeing-Boeing (West End and Broadway), will direct and design respectively.

Ghost will be produced by David Garfinkle of New York's Hello Entertainment and London producer Colin Ingram in association with Paramount Pictures.

The story is described in press materials as "a timeless fantasy about the power of love." In it, Sam and Molly are mugged while walking back to their apartment one night, leaving Sam murdered on a dark street. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and unable to leave Molly who he learns is in grave danger. With the help of a phoney storefront psychic, Oda Mae Brown, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving and protecting her.

The 1990 film starred Patrick Swayze as Sam and Demi Moore as Molly, and featured an Oscar-winning performance from Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown.



Dave Stewart, half of the celebrated Eurythmics pop duo with Annie Lennox that formed in 1980, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Brit Awards in 1999 alongside Lennox. They have sold over 75 million albums with hits like "Here Comes The Rain Again," "Who's That Girl," "Would I Lie To You," "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves" (with Aretha Franklin) and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." Glen Ballard, a six-time Grammy Award winner, has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, and has worked with Aretha Franklin, Van Halen, Aerosmith and Michael Jackson. He co-wrote and produced the album "Jagged Little Pill" for Alanis Morissette, named album of the decade (the nineties) by Billboard magazine. He has also written the Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated "Believe" for the film "Polar Express"; other film songs include "Ordinary Miracle" for "Charlotte's Web," and "A Hero Comes Home" for "Beowulf."

In a press statement, Stewart said, "I am delighted to be working with my long-time collaborator Glen Ballard on this musical adaptation of Ghost. We are having an amazing time bringing some of our own musical sounds and styles to the score."

Bruce Joel Rubin won an Academy Award for his original screenplay for Ghost. He has written numerous other screenplays including "Jacob's Ladder," "Deep Impact," "Stuart Little 2," "The Last Mimzy" and the soon-to-be released "The Time Traveller's Wife." He also wrote and directed "My Life."

Director Matthew Warchus is currently represented by his Broadway productions of Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage and the transfer of The Norman Conquests from London's Old Vic. Other directorial credits on both sides of the Atlantic include Yasmina Reza's Art (Wyndham's in London, then Broadway's Royale) and Life x 3 (National and Old Vic in London, then Circle in the Square in New York), True West (Donmar Warehouse, London and Circle in the Square, New York), and Boeing-Boeing (London's Comedy Theatre, then Broadway's Longacre). He has also directed the musicals Tell Me on a Sunday and Our House in the West End, and the 2001 revival of Follies for Roundabout Theatre Company at Broadway's Belasco Theatre.

In a press statement director Warchus said, "Ghost was a landmark film. An unexpected combination of supernatural thriller and romance entwined. It is the kind of powerful, direct and uplifting story which lends itself well to being reborn as a musical. And the melodic strength and exciting driving energy of Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard's music will, I believe, provide exactly the right added engine to the narrative, playing a key role in refreshing the source material for a new audience. From a director's point of view the project calls for a wonderful mix of the very contrasting elements which have always excited me - illusion, spectacle, comedy and raw emotion. In the central triangle of two young lovers, separated by death, and the brilliantly comic reluctant psychic who brings them together, there is an opportunity for some wonderful acting performances by outstanding singers. It is an exciting challenge and we have assembled a very strong artistic team to achieve this goal."

The creative team includes Rob Howell as set and costume designer, and Christopher Nightingale and Tesse Gohl as musical supervisors. No specific dates, theatre or casting has been announced. Further information will be announced at a later date. For more information visit www.ghostthemusical.com.