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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: May 31, 2016

A stripped down version of ‘Ghost” comes to Maine State Music Theatre

Written by: Bob Keyes

A scene from ‘Ghost’Photo by” Kinectiv

E. Faye Butler suggests keeping a tissue handy. “It’s a love story,” said the actress, who stars as Oda Mae Brown in the musical “Ghost” at Maine State Music Theatre. “Bring your Kleenex. And there’s a little laughter in there, too.”

This musical is a co-production with the Fulton Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Butler and the rest of the 10-member cast closed the show in Pennsylvania in early May. The same show, with the same set and cast, opens Wednesday at Pickard Theater on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick.

Maine audiences will benefit from the second run, Butler said. “We’ve all connected, and we’re all in sync with each other,” she said. “The biggest change is the space itself. It’s a smaller space, so we’ll have to get adjusted to that. But that won’t take long. It’s kind of like a bike. We’ll get back on the same bike and begin riding.”


E. Faye Butler plays Oda Mae Brown, a psychic who was portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie on which “Ghost” is based. The 10-member cast performs the Maine State Music Theatre production from Wednesday through June 25. Photo by Photo by” Kinectiv

This version of “Ghost” is different from the version that opened on Broadway in 2012. It is adapted from the hit movie, which starred Whoopi Goldberg in the Oda Mae Brown role. The Broadway version wasn’t nearly as popular as the movie. After a national tour, the artistic team revamped the musical as a smaller, more intimate show with acoustic versions of the songs that were popular on Broadway, including “Unchained Melody,” “Here Right Now” and “Suspend My Disbelief – I Had a Life.”

The Fulton Theatre workshopped a simpler, trimmer script in 2014 and premiered it this spring.

“For me, this is much better than the one I saw on Broadway,” said Butler, who was involved in the rewrite from the early stages of the process. “It goes back to the story that people remember from the film,”

The story follows Sam and Molly, a tech wizard and a potter. After Sam dies, he is trapped between two worlds. He doesn’t want to leave Molly and enlists a psychic, played by Butler, for help.

Butler is a powerhouse singer and performs jazz, blues, show tunes and standards in a cabaret show that she tours with when not acting. On stage, she has portrayed a pair of jazz vocalists who helped define the genre, Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington. Her goal is playing Mama Rose in the musical “Gypsy.”


WHEN: Wednesday, June 8  through June 25
WHERE: Maine State Music Theatre, Pickard Theater, Bowdoin College, 1 Bath Road, Brunswick
HOW MUCH: $46 to $77
MORE INFO: 725-8769 or

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