The crowd at the Winter Garden Theatre erupted with applause on July 31 as Alex Brightman, the leading man of Beetlejuice, took the stage. Brightman had the audience hanging onto every note, meta-reference and hilarious joke for the entirety of the musical.
With an incredible cast, an updated storyline and more special effects than you can count, Beetlejuice is an electric new addition to Broadway’s lineup.
Unless you’re completely blind to popular culture, you’ve at least heard of the film Beetlejuice. Directed by Tim Burton, the film follows a teen named Lydia, who’s forced by her dad and stepmom to move into a house that’s already inhabited by a ghost couple and a demon named Beetlejuice. Lydia makes it her personal mission to befriend the ghosts and scare her parents into moving.
However, the musical holds a slightly different plot, with the couple dying in a house accident instead of a car crash and pulling the time period into present day, so technology and 2019 lingo are present.
With the updated storyline comes updated jokes, such as Brightman telling the ghost couple “New phone; who dis?” and the use of a “you up?” text at 3 a.m. The jokes are funny not only for fans of the film but also for adults and millennials alike.
Though the jokes are quite funny, it’s Brightman who truly brings the show to life. His energy is unmatched by any actor in the game right now, and he is truly the definition of triple threat. To be able to sing in the Beetlejuice character voice for eight shows a week is no easy feat, and Brightman truly knocks this role out of the park. Brightman is truly a treasure, in more areas than just Broadway.
Beetlejuice is a Broadway gem for multiple reasons, but one of the biggest ones is the fact that there are no weak links among the cast. At the ripe age of 18, Sophia Anne Caruso is co-starring with Brightman as Lydia. Lydia is a really iconic role pioneered by Winona Ryder, and Caruso takes on the challenge and absolutely thrives. Her goth-like edge and phenomenal vocals are a huge chunk that puts the Beetlejuice puzzle together.
Adam and Barbara, the ghost couple who inhabits the house, are portrayed by Rob McClure and Kerry Butler. The duo play the perfect suburban couple and spew talent in every direction. The other brilliant member of the cast is Leslie Kritzer, who plays Lydia’s stepmom, Delia. Kritzer provides the typical comic relief character in a show that’s already roaringly hilarious.
The musical provides some great nods to the film, like the “Jump in the Line” scene with a floating Lydia, the iconic “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” scene where everyone at the dinner party gets possessed and even the shrunken head man makes an appearance. The nods to the film are done in an elegant way that don’t distract from the updated musical version but properly honor the film.
As far as special effects go, Beetlejuice blows every other Broadway show out of the water. With removable scalps, drawing chalk doors, giant sand snakes and floating people, there’s an endless supply of special effects that keep the audience guessing what’s next at every turn. The musical passes the special effects test with flying colors, providing jaw-dropping moments for audience members.
Another great aspect of the musical is the fact that the music is incredibly on brand. It can be hard to create music to go with a film that’s so iconic so many years later, but Eddie Perfect did an incredible job creating thrilling, audience-interactive music that’s captivating from the moment the orchestra begins to play.
If you’re able to, Beetlejuice is certainly a must-see Broadway musical. With a phenomenal cast, rocking music and wild special effects, it’s safe to say Beetlejuice the musical is a Broadway diamond.