Tim Burton and Broadway: A 'Strange and Unusual' Match Made in Heaven

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Take a look back on some stage-to-screen and screen-to-stage adaptations Burton has been a part of!

Tim Burton is being represented on Broadway in what is perhaps the most Burton-esque show to grace the stage, Beetlejuice. But did you know that adaptations of Burton's films have been on Broadway before, and that he created the film version of a classic Broadway musical?

Let's take a look back on the screen-to-stage, and stage-to-screen adaptations of Burton's films...


In 2007, the film version of Sweeney Todd was released, directed by Tim Burton. The film is an adaptation of the 1979 musical of the same name, written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.

Sweeney Todd tells the story of the title character, an English barber who murders his customers and bakes them into meat pies with the help of his pal Mrs. Lovett.

The film stars Johnny Depp, who has been featured in many of Burton's films, in the title role, and Helen Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett. Sondheim was not directly involved in the film, but he was heavily consulted during production.

Burton had been discussing the possibility of a film adaptation of the musical since the 1980s. In 2006, DreamWorks replaced director Sam Mendes, who had been working on the film, with Burton, giving him the opportunity to realize this long-awaited idea.

Watch the film's trailer below:

The original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd opened in 1979, and featured Len Cariou in the title role, as well as Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett.

The show has been revived on Broadway twice, once in 1989, starring Bob Gunton and Beth Fowler, and again in 2005, starring Michael Cerveris and Patti LuPone. In 2017, an immersive production of Sweeney Todd played off-Broadway, starring Jeremy Secomb and Siobhan McCarthy, and later, Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello. Hugh Panaro later took over the title role in this production.

Watch the original Broadway cast's Tony Awards performance from 1979 below:


In 2013, a musical adaptation of the film Big Fish came to the stage. The musical is based on the 1998 novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace, which, in turn, inspired the 2003 film Big Fish, directed by Tim Burton.

The film follows the relationship between Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman, and his adult son Will, who looks for what is behind his father's tall stories. The film starred Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, and Marion Cotillard. It also features Steve Buscemi, Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew McGrory, Alison Lohman, and Danny DeVito.

Watch the film's trailer below:

Burton was not involved in the musical, however, it features a book by John August, who also wrote the film's screenplay. It also features music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa.

Big Fish first came to the stage on April 2, 2013, in its out of town tryout at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago. It starred Norbert Leo Butz as Edward Bloom, Kate Baldwin as Sandra Bloom, Bobby Steggart as Will Bloom, Krystal Joy Brown as Josephine, Brad Oscar as Amos Calloway, and Ryan Andes as Karl.

The show came to Broadway in September 2013, playing at the Neil Simon Theatre for a total of 34 previews, and 98 regular performances. The Chicago cast reprised their roles for the Broadway run.

Check out clips from the Broadway production below:


In April 2017, a musical adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory came to Broadway. Burton was not involved with the production, however, he directed the 2005 film adaptation of the fantasy story.

All adaptations of this story are based on the 1964 children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of a poor child named Charlie Bucket, and his adventures inside the chocolate factory of the eccentric Willy Wonka.

Burton's 2005 film was written by John August, and starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket. The cast also featured David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor, Missi Pyle, Ames Fox, Deep Roy, and Christopher Lee.

Watch the film's trailer below:

The musical adaptation of the film, and book, premiered in London in June 2013, running for over three years. A reworked version of the show came to Broadway in April 2017, starring Christian Borle as Willy Wonka. The show ran for nine months. The musical features a book by David Greig, music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

Watch the Broadway cast perform on The View below:


Now, Beetlejuice has come to the stage. The musical is, of course, based on the 1988 film of the same name, directed by Tim Burton. It stars Michael Keaton in the title role, alongside Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder, and more.

Watch the film's trailer below:

Beetlejuice tells the story of a recently deceased couple, Barbara and Adam Maitland, who haunt their former home. The title character is a demon named Betelgeuse (also occasionally spelled 'Beetlejuice') who tries to scare away the home's new inhabitants, namely the "strange and unusual" daughter, Lydia Deetz.

The musical stars Alex Brightman in the title role and Sophia Anne Caruso as Lydia, along with Rob McClure and Kerry Butler as the Maitlands. The show features music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect, and a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King.

Watch clips from the Broadway production below:



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From This Author Stephi Wild