‘Beetlejuice’ musical adaptation reopens on Broadway

Caryl Anne Francia, Business Editor

The Tony Award nominated “ghost with the most” is revived.

“Beetlejuice” reopened at Broadway’s Marquis Theater on April 8. It is a musical adaptation of the Tim Burton movie sharing the same name.

The film follows the ghosts of a recently dead married couple and a goth girl as they try to protect their home while dealing with a raunchy ghost.

After a successful six months since its opening night on April 25, 2019, the show announced that it would end its run at the Winter Garden Theater in June 2020. This is due to a finance-related contractual clause to allow a revival of “The Music Man” to take over. The news left the show’s company and fans disappointed.

The show faced more upsetting news when New York State’s COVID-19 mandate, which initially canceled performances for two weeks, extended beyond June and eventually, closed them. Once a reopening was announced, the company and fans rejoiced.

Featuring an ironically lively original score by Eddie Perfect and two calypso songs from the movie by Harry Belafonte, the musical is bound to give audiences an earworm, if not a sandworm.

A spooky soundtrack composed by Matt Stine, the son of children’s horror author R.L. Stine, gets the audience in the mood for the performance before the show and during intermission.

In contrast with the 1988 movie, the musical brings audiences a story with contemporary and insecure characters telling topical jokes. Some include a revamped Maitland couple who rag on kombucha, the electoral college and life-coaching Delia who listens to crystals.

Additionally, the musical explores more into the “strange and unusual” Lydia Deetz, who grieves for her late mother while struggling to accept her new home and Delia. She delivers the show’s more emotionally-rich and vocally-demanding numbers, like “Dead Mom and “Home,” that strike a chord with the audience, especially teenage viewers.

While still vulgar but more family-friendly, Beetlejuice’s character is written to be more relatable to Lydia, both struggling with being invisible to other people and bearing “mommy issues.” The show utilizes the theater medium to allow the ghost to break the fourth wall and get the audience to joke with him.

The stage presents a fabulous, color-popping set design that honors Burton’s style with everchanging wallpaper, furniture and projections, not to mention a mechanical sandworm. It also boasts a Tony-nominated wardrobe that its fans have adapted into cosplays they wear to the theater and in TikTok videos, which the cast has applauded.

While this review was based on the 2019 production, there will definitely be updates in the 2022 production, such as new cast members like Elizabeth Teeter as Lydia. Audiences should “shake, shake, shake” it to the Marquis to what’s new in the Netherworld.