Review: BEETLEJUICE at Keller Auditorium

This production runs through April 14.

By: Apr. 11, 2024
Review: BEETLEJUICE at Keller Auditorium
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The Portland’5 website warns that BEETLEJUICE is a “very sensory impactful show.” That’s the understatement of the year. This musical, now at the Keller as part of Broadway in Portland, is loud, it’s bright, it’s flashy, and it’s a raucously fun time at the theatre.

BEETLEJUICE - THE MUSICAL. THE MUSICAL. THE MUSICAL. is based on the classic 1988 Tim Burton film. Lydia, a teenager who has recently lost her mom, is forced to move with her dad and Delia, the “life coach,” he hired for her into an old, creepy house. As one of the rare humans able to see ghosts, Lydia meets the house’s other denizens, the recently deceased Barbara and Adam, as well as the raunchy, irreverent, green-haired demon Beetlejuice, who hatches a plan to use the others to his own nefarious ends.

BEETLEJUICE is a blast. The story (as you know if you’ve seen the movie) is bonkers, the music is energizing, the production values (set, lighting, design) are very high, and there’s pretty much a joke every second and a half. But there’s more to it than that – at its core, this is a story about home and family, the process of grief, and the importance of being seen. I feel a little sheepish admitting that I found myself teary-eyed during a scene in the Netherworld.

Let’s talk talent. Everything about this show is over-the-top, and the cast has to be as well. Justin Colette, who plays Beetlejuice, is outrageous and obnoxious, which is exactly right for the crazy role. Megan McGinnis and Will Burton are perfect as the straight-laced new ghosts Barbara and Adam, while Sara Litzinger is brilliant as Delia. But the big kudos here go to Isabella Esler, a recent high school graduate making her professional debut as Lydia. Watch out, Broadway! We will be seeing a lot more of her!

If you like musicals, or the original movie, or just fun in general, don’t miss BEETLEJUICE - THE MUSICAL. THE MUSICAL. THE MUSICAL, running through April 14. Details and tickets here.

Photo credit: Matthew Murphy


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