Broadway has been open since 1735. It has shown over 288 years of theatre productions showcasing different stories in various mediums. With all its years, Broadway is known for being traditional and, sometimes, too old-school. Many musicals and plays in its theatres follow what is deemed conventional. There came a time when it only appealed to a specific demographic: the middle-aged and those in old age. However, Broadway continues to be the premiere theatre in the world. This is because, in the past decades, many productions that have made a mark are game changers. Those productions demonstrated Broadway magic in a different light. Among these productions is Beetlejuice: The Musical.
“A Jaw-Dropping Funhouse!” – The New York Times
Beetlejuice: The Musical is a ghastly tale with dark humor at its finest. It is a stage adaptation of the 1988 Tim Burton movie classic. Dark, weird, and exceptionally hilarious, this adaptation is a must-see. Great music, exceptional staging, energetic choreography, and a whimsical storyline are what to expect from this gem. Beetlejuice: The Musical will be showing at the Orpheum Theatre Minneapolis this September for all audiences to see.
“High-spirited fun, wickedly good tunes and eye-popping visuals make this night of the living dead a scream.” – Variety
“True to its source material, it’s loud, it’s cheeky, and it’s all about excess.” – New York Vulture
Beetlejuice: The Musical has big shoes to fill. The 1988 movie is a cult classic and is a big deal among horror fans. The stage adaptation is a big challenge to its production team and a delight to its many fans. Taking on the challenge, the musical’s screenwriters are Scott Brown and Anthony King. The two took on the heavy task of writing the book, aiming to capture the essence that Tim Burton built in the movie. Alex Timbers, known for his work in the hit jukebox musical Moulin Rouge, took the helm as the director of the dark humor musical. Recognized for his mold-breaking method of directing productions, he made sure that the direction would stay true to the source material but will also break cliches. Completing the development team, Australian comedian Eddie Perfect was then tasked with the musical’s music and lyrics.
The movie’s significant influence on pop culture led to it getting many recreations. However, only some of them gave justice to the original. Among the team, the most aware of the musical’s reception is Brown, who is an esteemed critic himself. He mentions this consciousness in his article for Vulture. “Being part of Beetlejuice (and, contractually mandated poster-font-size aside, I am a very small part of Beetlejuice) means fighting and folding and fulminating and resenting and benefiting from and ultimately submitting to the collective jet stream.” Going into the development period, the team made sure to strengthen their collaboration — and needless to say, the product is a musical masterpiece for all ages.
Similar to the movie, central to the musical’s plot is the experience of Lydia Deetz. She has just lost her mother and is grieving. In the first act, the story begins with the funeral of Emily Deetz, Lydia’s mother. Devasted by her mother’s passing, Lydia introspects on her death, feeling extremely devastated by her circumstance. She also mourns how easily her father has moved on and how neglectful he is to her. The story moves on to a frustrated demon named Beetlejuice, who wants his invisibility to go away so that people will see him and he can haunt them more. To do so, he needs a living person to say his name three times. Lydia and his father, as well as his girlfriend, moved to a spooky house haunted by Beetlejuice and a ghost couple. The act culminates in Lydia summoning Beetlejuice to help her persuade his father to go back to their old mansion.
The second act continues on Beetlejuice, scaring away every visitor that goes to the mansion. Continuing on, his evil intentions started to show. At the same time, Lydia discovered a way to go to the Netherworld. This gave her the idea to retrieve her mother from the dead. Testing them both, a series of rollercoaster events occurred.
“Beetlejuice may be a show about death, but thanks to book writers Anthony King and Scott Brown, the musical pulses with heart.” – Playbill
The musical’s development was completed late in 2017. In October 2018, its pre-Broadway showing commenced at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. It ran there up until November 18. For this run, many were added to the production team, including choreographer Connor Gallagher, scenic designer Kris Kuku, scenic designer David Korins, and costume designer William Ivy Long. The reception was considerably good for this and has led to a secured transfer to Broadway. In April 2019, the musical moved to Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre. After more than 300 performances, the musical transferred to another Broadway theatre at the Marquis Theatre In May 2022. After an overall performance of 679, the musical closed in January 2023.
In December 2022, the musical went on its first-ever national tour and continues to do so today. Also, it has expanded internationally, with a South Korean production opening in 2021.
The Broadway run spawned a great number of nominations for the musical, from the Tonys, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Drama League Awards. During the 2019 Ton Awards, it received eight nominations. That same year, it won the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design and a Drama League Award for the Founder’s Award for Excellence in Directing for Alex Timbers.
When the pandemic occurred, Beetlejuice had its resurgence on Tiktok. It has received an increased following from the younger demographic. During this time, the original Broadway cast recording peaked in the top 10 charts for musicals. It also went viral in other countries and reached international charts. When the theatres reopened after the pandemic, most of its viewers were young people.
Continuing its national tour this year, Beetlejuice: The Musical will be showing at the Orpheum Theatre Minneapolis from September 19 to 24. The full cast includes Justin Collette as Beetlejuice, Isabella Esler as Lydia Deetz, Britney Coleman as Barbara Maitland, Will Burton as Adam Maitland, Kate Marilley as Delia, Abe Goldfarb as Ortho, Karmine Alers as Maxine, Dean, and Juno, Jesse Sharp as Charles, Danielle Marie Gonzalez as Miss Argentina, Karmine Alers as Maxie Dean, and Jackera Davis as the Girl Scout.