Hey Guys, Love You Guys... Saying Goodbye to Beetlejuice on Broadway
As devastating as the theatre shutdown is for everyone involved, there's even greater sadness when you find out that a musical you adore is closing before their time.
Sadly, Beetlejuice played its last performance at The Winter Garden Theatre on March 10th, 2020, as Broadway shut down due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. With the original reopen date of April 13th, this show was to have roughly two months before their closing date to find a new theatre as the highly-anticipated revival of The Music Man was scheduled to move in. When the Broadway shutdown was extended through to June 7th, Beetlejuice closed without securing a new home.
Beetlejuice is a new musical adapted from the 1988 film of the same name by Scott Brown and Anthony King with music by Eddie Prefect. The show opened in April 2019 with a starry cast led by director Alex Timbers and went on to have amazing box office success.
The plot of the musical is very similar to the original film. After the death of her mother, Lydia Deetz reluctantly moves into a new home with her father and life coach only to find that it’s being haunted by its former inhabitants. The recently deceased, Adam and Barbara Maitland, are trying to protect their beloved home when they meet Beetlejuice; a bio-exorcist claiming he can help them get rid of their unwanted guests. However, the self-proclaimed ‘ghost with the most’ has an ulterior motive… To get a living person to unleash his powers by saying his name three times.
Surprisingly, Beetlejuice was my first Broadway show. I had always imagined seeing a classic like Wicked or Phantom, or even the new adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird. But, my best friend wanted to see Beetlejuice. I have never been a Tim Burton fan, and had never seen the original movie until right before our trip to New York City. However, I am a life-long fan of Kerry Butler, and I had to take the chance at seeing my idol onstage. After seeing the Tony Awards performance, I was convinced by the incredible special effects and infectious energy of Alex Brightman.
I left the theatre feeling blown away by this amazing musical and definitely said it’s name more than three times as we discussed it in the following months.
The best thing about Beetlejuice is how it takes a cult-classic movie, honours the camp of the original film, and adds a large amount of warmth. This “show about death” is also a heart-felt tribute to the grieving process. While I expected to laugh until I cried during the iconic “Day-O” dinner scene, I was taken by surprise when I had tears streaming down my face during the eleven o’clock number.
This show is a beautiful beast, and carrying it are some of Broadway’s best and brightest. The all-star cast is led by Alex Brightman as Beetlejuice. Brightman is a force of nature, inviting the audience into his captivating energy from the very top of the show, until the very end.
Eighteen year old Sophia Anne Caruso plays opposite Brightman as Lydia Deetz, with her powerhouse vocals and signature pout. Filling out the principal cast are comedy legends Leslie Kritzer (Delia), Adam Dannheisser (Charles Deetz), Kerry Butler (Barbara Maitland), and Rob McClure (Adam Maitland). The ensemble is also full of wonderful performers taking on various beloved roles to bring the story you love to life.
Experiencing Beetlejuice begins when you first walk into the house at The Winter Garden. The incredible lighting and projections carry into the audience, instantly immersing you in “the strange and unusual.” You have the opportunity to admire how the design has spread from just the stage while purchasing merchandise or grabbing a drink at the bar. The set itself is expansive and beckons the audience in with familiar images from the movie, with added surprises in store.
The bold costumes of Beetlejuice were designed by Broadway legend William Ivey Long, who boldly carries the campy style and patterns of the original film to the stage with grace.
I don’t think we have ever been to a show with as many special effects as Beetlejuice. The combined efforts of Michael Curry (Puppet Design), Jeremy Chernick (Special Effects), and Michael Webber (Illusions) transport us to a world of magic, ghosts, and all things that go bump in the night. Transitions are made seamless by the hardworking cast and crew, and each moment left audiences gasping with surprise!
Beetlejuice on Broadway may have been strange and unusual, but I loved every single second of this amazing production.
I truly hope Beetlejuice will be able to haunt another theatre when Broadway reopens. Until then, we are sending love to those affected by the shutdown.
Regardless, the story does not end here; the show previously announced a national tour set to begin in 2021. I can’t wait for the ‘day-o’ they haunt a theatre near me!
Previously Published on Break A Leg