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Human spirit arises in Ghost The Musical

Chemainus Theatre summer blockbuster features the return of a larger cast to the stage
Jennie Neumann (Molly Jensen) and Jacob Woike (Sam Wheat) listen in to Madeleine Eddy (Oda Mae Brown) during Ghost The Musical. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Spirits will be soaring throughout the summer for Chemainus Theatre Festival’s rendition of Ghost The Musical, running June 23-Aug. 27.

All the much-loved elements – like the pottery scene and the iconic Unchained Melody song – from the multi-award winning 1990 movie that starred Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg are incorporated into this production, only with Jacob Woike (Sam Wheat), Jennie Neumann (Molly Jensen) and Madeleine Eddy (Oda Mae Brown) in the lead roles.

Ghost The Musical relives the magical moments from the movie in this Broadway musical that features a thrilling adventure to the afterlife. Book and lyrics are by Bruce Joel Rubin, with music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.

“This show did really well in other theatres pre-pandemic,” said Chemainus Theatre’s artistic director Mark DuMez, who is directing this dynamic performance.

“There are some beautiful moments of connection. There’s a lot of love in this show and there’s a sense of justice. The love is really what is so beautiful how it connects us in all space and time. It reminds us of the good parts of being human.”

A strong team has been assembled that includes returning choreographer Melissa Young, who previously directed the much-loved Lumberjacks In Love – the last show at the theatre that featured DuMez as a performer – and musical director Antony Knight, who lent his magic touches to Naked Radio earlier this year at the theatre, plus an amazing assortment of talent with expertise in all facets of sets, costumes, lighting and sound.

Related story: Station strips down to the basics in Naked Radio

This also just happens to be the largest production for the theatre since the return from COVID protocols, with 10 actors on stage as the recovery process continues. DuMez said it’s nice to be working with a larger cast again for a summer musical and it’s been a fun group during rehearsals.

Related story: Chemainus Theatre staging a bigger comeback during 2023

“There’s some powerful numbers in the show,” he added. “They’re fun and they’re energetic and really beautiful voices in the show. There’s lovely depth and heart. It really goes into so many realms. It’s a solid New York texture and feel and then you get the lights and the projections inside of that and the lovely story-telling elements.

“The closure of Act 1 is just a powerhouse, the way it’s been executed and the way it’s been rewritten.”

The show marks a homecoming for Woike, 30, who was born in Port Alberni but grew up in the Cowichan Valley, and is looking forward to his first-ever performance at the Chemainus Theatre.

“I’m always keeping my eyes on the shows here,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to work with Mark.”

The role of Sam Wheat definitely caught his attention and now “I get to spend the summer season with my family and live on the farm,” he enthused.

Ghost The Musical plays perfectly into Woike’s talents as an actor and singer that has included numerous film and television credits over the years.

“It’s a pretty iconic movie,” he said. “I watched it while I was younger. There’s lots of really fun stuff, very contemporary. It’s going to sound great. It’s a very contemporary, very upbeat soundtrack. It’s exciting to be in a role like this. At the end of the day, I get to tell a beautiful story and I want to do the best I can.”

And Woike loves to sing. “That’s what I first started doing in theatre,” he said.

After graduating from Cowichan Secondary School in 2011, Woike moved to Vancouver, attended Capilano University and started working in various projects around Western Canada. He finished his Bachelor of Performing Arts Degree at Capilano just before the pandemic in 2020.

Among his interesting experiences have been working on Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Sea cruise ship for a year and a recent part in The Dating Game, a film based partly on the popular 1960s game show that’s due for release in the fall.

Co-star Madeleine Eddy also has all sorts of claims to fame to her name, including growing up in Goodwood, Ont. that’s become a famous tourist spot as the backdrop for the Schitt’s Creek TV series.

Eddy graduated from high school in Uxbridge, Ont. and completed the jazz program at Humber College in Toronto. She went on to study acting at Seneca College.

“From that acting program, I continued with singing a lot,” Eddy said.

The Soul of Motown and a lead role in Dreamgirls furthered her career. The Hero Artists talent agency immediately recognized her talents.

“An agent happened to be there and that’s how I got signed,” Eddy said of her Dreamgirls experience.

The Chemainus Theatre opportunity was too good for her to pass up. “I love the sense of community here,” Eddy said. “Toronto, you can feel like a moving piece sometimes. You feel like a family here which reminded me why I wanted to get into the theatre in the first place and make beautiful art.”

Her theatre and television credits are numerous. Ironically, one of those was during a Season 2 episode of CBS’ Ghosts.

Now to be in Ghost The Musical in the Whoopi Goldberg part is like seventh heaven for Eddy.

“When the chance arose to play her character, I felt I was right for it,” she said. “It’s a dream role, for sure.

“The show itself is very intense with its emotions.”

But there is some comedic relief and “hopefully people will be dancing in their seats,” Eddy added.

To book tickets for matinee or evening shows, call the box office at 1-800-565-7738 or visit


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Scene from Ghost The Musical, from left, includes: Jennie Neumann (Molly Jensen), Jacob Woike (Sam Wheat) and Madeleine Eddy (Oda Mae Brown). (Photo by Don Bodger)
Scene from Ghost The Musical, from left, includes: Jennie Neumann (Molly Jensen), Jacob Woike (Sam Wheat) and Madeleine Eddy (Oda Mae Brown). (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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