The retooling done since its out-of-town tryout in D.C. - along with a host of others plot twists and character tweaks - gives the latest film-to-musical adaptation fresh snap, surprises and (gasp!) even heart. Sure, the narrative becomes a bit of a cluster-muck in the second act - but mostly it's just screamingly good fun.
BEETLEJUICE Broadway Reviews
It's showtime, folks! The ghost-with-the-most makes his Broadway debut in this edgy and irreverent musical comedy based on Tim Burton's dearly beloved film.
BEETLEJUICE tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager whose life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and Beetlejuice, a demon with a thing for stripes. When Lydia calls on Beetlejuiceto scare away anyone with a pulse, this double-crossing specter unleashes a (Nether)world of pandemonium, and the biggest sandworm Broadway has ever seen.
BEETLEJUICE stars Tony Award nominee Alex Brightman (School of Rock) in the title role, Two-Time Lortel Award nominee Sophia Anne Caruso(Lazarus) as Lydia, Tony Award nominee Kerry Butler (Mean Girls) as Barbara, Tony Award Nominee Rob McClure(Honeymoon In Vegas) as Adam, Obie Award Winner Adam Dannheisser (Rock of Ages) as Charles, and Two-Time Drama Desk Award Nominee Leslie Kritzer (The Robber Bridegroom) as Delia.
See what the critics had to say!
Beetlejuice, with music and lyrics from Eddie Perfect (King Kong: The Musical) and a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King, was crafted from a group of creative minds who clearly love the source material, though not all of it works. There are still second act problems and a song list void of any real bops, but it's a fun time for the Burton novice and pure fan service for the Burton stans, thanks in large part to the titular puckish undead spirit breathing life into a Broadway experiment that could've been dead in the water.
If you are a fan of the film, there are plot similarities and divergences. Actually, the story careens all over the place, which doesn't matter because the performances are mostly excellent and the sets by David Korins notably stunning (including a mansion living room seemingly redecorated mid-performance).
And thus is conjured a very enjoyable, very self-aware, very slick, very tuneful, very constructed-to-please-the-crowds new Broadway musical. It opened tonight at the Winter Garden, that frequent home to now-and-forever-running staples, and it's nearly guaranteed to follow suit.
The score by Eddie Perfect -- who also provided songs for this season's King Kong -- is full of wit and grit, and Scott Brown and Anthony King's book propels it forward smartly. There are also hilarious performances from Leslie Kritzer and Sophia Anne Caruso as the mistress and daughter respectively of the house's new buyer Charles (Adam Dannheisser). Beetlejuice is the last new show to open this season -- but could be haunting Broadway for a long while.
Writers Scott Brown and Anthony King, along with composer Eddie Perfect and director Alex Timbers, approach the 1988 Tim Burton cult comedy with the giddy excitement of rabid fanboys in their imaginative musical adaptation of Beetlejuice. That enthusiasm translates to the audience, too, with every visual reference lifted directly from the movie yielding huge laughs. The show is a loving homage to a wonderfully weird original, reconceived for the stage with eye-popping design, full-throttle performances and a mischievous sense of fun that literally seems to drip from the Winter Garden Theatre's chandeliers, tinged a ghoulish green for the occasion.
The score by Eddie Perfect isn't exactly perfect but it's plenty jaunty, though "The Banana Boat Song" and "Shake Senora" from the film are the show's musical highlights. Director Alex Timbers matches film director Tim Burton's ceaseless creativity. Obviously the challenge was on having to compete with all the filmic effects, and thanks to scenic designer David Korins and the special effects creators, the imagery is truly dazzling. Besides Beetlejuice, the showcase character is Leslie Kritzer's ditzy Delia, and she utterly slays us with this off-the-wall performance. For all the talent here, the show suffers from sensory overload. Then again, that may be just the way "diehard" fans prefer it.
Whatever else it may or may not be, Beetlejuice is spectacularly weird. The best creative work in this musical adaptation of Tim Burton's 1988 film-about a pair of sweet ghosts trying to rid their house of its distasteful new inhabitants-has gone into its physical form: The designers come at it from all kinds of crazy angles. David Korins's haunted-house set seems to buckle in the middle and stretch at the edges; William Ivey Long's costumes are a batty vision of colors and patterns at war. There are magic tricks and giant worms and a starkly linear idea of the afterlife that contrasts well with the chaotic world of the living. If only so much of the rest of Beetlejuice were not a busy mess.
Maybe if they'd said it a fourth time. Three times - "Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!" - summons to life the stripe-coated, fright-wigged demon that made a superstar of Michael Keaton way back when. Could a fourth have magically conjured that extra something needed to transform Broadway's Beetlejuice into something beyond the realm of good enough?
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But happily and improbably Beetlejuice, directed by Alex Timbers, lays those problems to rest. (A pretty hectic rest, but still.) Where the show falters is in the more ordinary stuff of musical theater, story and song. But when the conductor rises from the orchestra pit with a shrunken head above the shoulders of his natty suit, you can forgive a lot.
Beetlejuice, the rowdy, raunchy musical adapted from Tim Burton's 1988 horror-comedy, openly embraces the theme park-y aspects of an enterprise like the one it's engaged in. True to its source material, it's loud, it's cheeky, and it's all about excess. It's also-thanks in large part to Alex Brightman's spot-on performance as the incorrigible titular ghoul-a pretty fun time.
So with the adjusted book, audiences are now treated to this watered down, gussied up Beetlejuice. The production seesaws somewhat precariously between the dead Adam and Barbara, and the spots-the-dead Lydia. Adam and Barbara, sometimes throwing sheets over themselves to appear as traditional ghosts, seem to be fighting for attention with Lydia's wanting to resurrect her mother. All the while, the comically desperate Beetlejuice contrives to do his handwringing worst.
Alex Timbers' production looks suitably Burton-esque while also attempting to give more of a backstory to the characters. Despite lots of solid laughs, some clever fourth-wall-breaking, and some strong performances, the middling rock-pop score and the unwieldy, sorrowful storyline sap some of the vitality from the original.
The cast is solid, including a pepped-up and gravely-voiced Brightman, assertive Caruso and delightfully dorky McClure and Butler. By not taking it seriously, "Beetlejuice" may very well offer a reasonably fun time at the theater. But don't we expect better than that?
This problematic adaptation of Tim Burton's 1988 cult movie hit doesn't really know what to do with itself. In the title role, Alex Brightman gets more stage time than Michael Keaton's 18 minutes on screen, and with an abrasive, gravelly voice that's one stop short of laryngitis, he knocks his socks off trying to sell the show. But the material, especially the far-from-memorable songs by Eddie Perfect, simply doesn't cut it.
The show, at the Winter Garden Theatre, might have a better chance of persuading us to go on some deep satiric dive here if it was using an adult actress. But Caruso is not yet an adult, although a whopping teenage talent and about the only human to really emerge well from this disaster. Except perhaps for Leslie Kritzer, whose comic instincts as Delia are so great that even the less-than-Perfect's lyrics and the Scott Brown book cannot bury them in bad taste.
The dead lead lives of noisy desperation in "Beetlejuice," the absolutely exhausting new musical that opened on Thursday at the Winter Garden Theater. This frantic adaptation of Tim Burton's much-loved 1988 film is sure to dishearten those who like to think of the afterlife as one unending, undisturbed sleep.
Elaine Stritch once visited Nathan Lane backstage at the "Addams Family" musical and famously told him, "They're not paying you enough." They're not paying Alex Brightman enough to star in the ghost ship of a new musical called "Beetlejuice," which opened Thursday at Broadway's Winter Garden Theatre to mark the unfortunate end of the 2018-19 Broadway season.
Most of the cast overplays (Butler, Kritzer) or underplays (McClure, Dannheisser), but the talented Caruso, with a Cyndi Lauper-like voice, strikes the right balance. This is a challenge for all involved, especially in the second half of Scott Brown and Anthony King's jumbled book. Indeed, if the actors took their scripts, threw them into the air, picked up the pages and performed them in their new order, Act 2 would be about the same. Director Alex Timbers' hyperactive staging and David Korins' huge-but-ugly set don't help matters much.