Sally Spectre: The Musical Review – A Ghostly Visit for Halloween

Hasan Crawford, Stella Grimaldi, and Matthew Hoffman in SALLY SPECTRE: THE MUSICAL - Photo by Garry M. Kluger
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Get ready for Halloween with SALLY SPECTRE: THE MUSICAL. This multiple award-winning musical tells Sally’s story, a mix of murder, mayhem and the ghostly Sally, a five-year-old girl stuck alone for the past 50 years in the bedroom of a New Orleans Victorian mansion. Playwright, composer, lyricist, and director David P. Johnson penned this ghoulish but hopeful tale for all the ghost busters out there. SALLY SPECTRE has been critically well received and won several awards, including the Hurricane Season Playwriting Award and multiple scenic awards. The musical also was a finalist for the Richard Rodgers Award chaired by renowned composer Stephen Sondheim. SALLY SPECTRE made her first appearance at Theatre West in 2008 and participated in more Halloween hauntings in 2009, 2012, 2015 (in Texas), and now in 2023 – each time with more narrative, new and exciting songs, and more macabre details. Author Johnson just keeps revising the little gem, striving each time for perfection.

Stella Grimaldi – Photo by Garry M. Kluger

As a bonus, THEATRE ROCKS returns to Theatre West after two successful performances in 2017. Featuring David P. Johnson, Someday September, and the LA local power pop band Shine, THEATRE ROCKS will be performed after SALLY SPECTRE: THE MUSICAL on Saturday 10/21/23 and again on Saturday 10/28/23.

Stella Grimaldi and Steve Nevil – Photo by Garry M. Kluger

Five-year-old Sally (Stella Grimaldi) doesn’t remember how she got into this room, but she definitely knows that – try as she might – she cannot leave. It’s been 50 years, and Sally hasn’t aged a day – but she still misses her mom and her friends “outside.” The audience cannot fail to notice the axe stuck in her head, but Sally seems unaware of it (even if she complains that trying to remember her past does give her a headache). Perhaps her refusal to look into a mirror keeps her in the dark. But Sally is not completely alone. She has her toy soldier Bartholomew (Matthew Hoffman) to guard her and her favorite companion(s) Nero/Winky/Morris/Monaco (Hasan Crawford) – the teddy bear, prince, stuffed cheetah, and clown who somehow ended up in one body – to keep her company. And then there’s the gruesome Wraith (Steve Nevil), who adores little Sally because she sees him as a friend. Gustave (Robert W. Laur), Mabel (Scottie Nevil), and Calypso (Peter Zielinski) round out her menu of companions, so life – or its alternative – could be worse. Yet everyone knows that Sally must be set free – but no one knows how.

Scotty Nevil, Steve Nevil, Matthew Hoffman, and Robert W. Laur – Photo by Garry M. Kluger

SALLY SPECTRE is a cleverly ghoulish tale with a strong but subtle message wrapped up in a highly sophisticated musical package. The characters certainly know how to exercise their vocal skills in delightful musical variations as the tale progresses. Ernest McDaniel’s production design and costume design by Barbara Weisel, Rebecca, Lane, and DPJ join Ellen Juhlin’s and David P. Johnson’s sound to produce a fully realized show. With a nod to Tim Burton, SALLY SPECTRE will appeal to kids and adults alike, and the timing is perfect – with Halloween waiting in the wings.

Hasan Crawford, Stella Grimaldi, Matthew Hoffman, and Steve Nevil – Photo by Garry M. Kluger

SALLY SPECTRE: THE MUSICAL runs through October 29, 2023, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Theatre West is located at 333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Tickets are $40 (tickets purchased in advance online are $35); Saturday night audiences can choose to buy a premium $50 ticket which gains them entrance to SALLY SPECTRE and THEATRE ROCKS. For information and reservations, call 323-851-7977 or go online.

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