Beetlejuice the Musical


Mauricio Gomez, Writer

Beetlejuice: The Musical might as well be one of the weirdest musicals on Broadway alongside Cats and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. The musical was based on Tim Burton’s 1988 movie called Beetlejuice. The movie followed the recently deceased couple Adam and Barbara Mainland who try to scare away the new family, the Deetz (Lydia, her father, Charles Deetz, and her step-mother, Delia Deetz)  who have bought their home. Lydia makes a deal to marry Beetlejuice so that Adam and Barbara can come back alive. 


Sure, but people ended up loving it. The movie had grossed over $70 million from just a budget of $15 million. Although at first it had mixed reviews, it became a classic movie for all. 


Quick History:

Fast forward to the future at the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s final performance on Broadway. The show had been another loss for the Warner Bros Theater Ventures. It had lost ticket sales and it ended after 27 previews and 305 performances on Broadway.

But they tried again and Beetlejuice the Musical had officially opened on Broadway on April 25th, 2019 at the Winter Garden Theater. (A very nice theater to be honest) The show had very mixed reviews. Some praised the elaborate set design while others criticized it being overloaded with jokes.

After some time people slowly began losing interest until one of the young cast members (Presley Ryan, remember her?) saved the show by introducing the popular app called Tik Tok to the world of Beetlejuice. The musical had become viral with thousands of videos and fan art appearing. The cast album had become the top streaming original cast album for the 2018-2019 season for all streaming platforms. Although this had saved the show, and allowed Beetlejuice to break the $1 million mark, it wasn’t enough to save the show from one man: Hugh Jackman.


Beetlejuice had agreed to rent the Winter Garden Theater under one condition: if they didn’t make over a certain amount of money for two weeks, they could be evicted without another word (this is called a “stop-clause”). And this is exactly what had happened in May of 2019, and to make matters worse, when the Shubert’s (the group that owns the theater) heard about a very popular production called “The Music Man” looking for a theater, they were immediately considering what they could do. The show would feature the popular actor Hugh Jackman in the starring role, a fact that would ensure its success. And with that, the Shuberts gave Beetlejuice a deadline of June 6, 2020.


During all of this, one of their actors, Rob McClure, who played Adam, had left the show for the lead role in Mrs. Doubtfire. But his role was covered by David Josefberg. Now, as many fans mourned that Beetlejuice would be closing, another tragedy was about to hit. One of the main stars was leaving. Or-well- had left actually.


 Sophia Anne Caruso who played the lead role of Lydia Deetz posted on her Instagram Story that she had already played her last performance. There was no announcement or anything, she was just gone. Although cast members had said she wasn’t being responsible and got into some fights with the other lead role (Alex Brightman who played Beetlejuice) causing her to tell the directors, “It’s either him or me.”

But even with that, no one is sure if that is the true reason since many have stated that they have gotten along well. But nonetheless, the show was saved once again by Lydia’s understudy, Presley Ryan, the girl who saved the show from the start, took over the role. 


But then something occurred that no one saw coming: Covid-19.


The pandemic had caused all shows to shut down, leading the show to have its last performance until reopening on March 10, 2020. But then (as if all this tragedy wasn’t enough) the shutdown was extended until June 7th and we all know where that went.


On June 7th, Broadway would reopen… one day after the show was meant to close. At this point, nothing could be done, but watch how the show’s last glimpse of opportunity faded away to the Netherworld.


In total there were 12 characters (but 10 main actors). Lydia Deetz, played by Sophia Anne Caruso, was the main character who we followed as she looked for a way to bring back her dead mom amongst the chaos that she had released in the form of Beetlejuice (played by Alex Brightman). Beetlejuice was a hilarious charmful character (well demon technically) that wanted to be seen, so he tried manipulating the Maitlands (Rob McClure and Kerry Butler) to scare away the new owners of their house (Charles Deetz, played by Adam Dannheisser, and Delia Schlimmer, played by Leslie Kritzer). For the most part, they are all loved by fans. 


Creative Team:

Alex Timbers was praised by critics of Beetlejuice, Sara Holden, a writer for theNew York’s Vulture, stated “It’s also — thanks in large part to Alex Brightman’s spot-on performance as the incorrigible titular ghoul — a pretty fun time.” Timber was the main reason that Beetlejuice the Musical managed to stay alive for so long.


Beetlejuice the musical has one of the most amazing sets on Broadway. You can thank none other than Tony Nominated David Korins. He was behind the creation of sets from other famous musicals such as Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen which has even got its own movie coming out this September. Korins decided to create a house for this adaptation of Beetlejuice, a house that would change its appearance with each of the new residents living there. 


The music of Beetlejuice was made by Eddie Perfect, an Australian musical comedian. Perfect also worked on the musical King Kong that ran on Broadway from 2018-2019. Although he did receive most of the criticism, his passion for Broadway held up, and through countless rewrites and revisions, he managed to make the 22 songs for the production.


One of the main reasons I like Beetlejuice is because of its humor and the performance done by the actors. Although I saw the show after Rob McClure left the show, David Josefberg still did an amazing job of playing the part of Adam. And the same goes for all the other actors. The set and lighting were incredible, changing and making the characters pop off the stage. I really liked the music, it was catchy. I was really sad when it was announced that the show would close, however. Even sadder when it didn’t even get to perform its official last performance, but unfortunately, that’s the world of show business.

But Beetlejuice always finds a way to come back. In this case, opening at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in June 2021 in South Korea. And in Brazil of 2022, and a very likely National Tour in the fall of 2021.