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First Look: Beetlejuice The Musical

For those of you who might not know, yes, there is a Broadway Musical version of Tim Burton's BEETLEJUICE headed our way soon. And EW has the first look at everyone’s favorite ghost with the most, played by Tony nominee Alex Brightman (SCHOOL OF ROCK).

Director Alex Timbers says the BEETLEJUICE: THE MUSICAL team went through multiple wig, makeup, and costume tests — including ones close to Michael Keaton’s version of the character and others “in the complete opposite direction” — before landing on Brightman’s “younger, punkier” version.

Director Alex Timbers:

One of the things I love about Alex is, not only is he a great theater performer, but he’s also a writer, so he brings a sensibility that can stand outside the performance. [His Beetlejuice] is definitely not a Michael Keaton impression. It’s his own. It’s filtered through the sensibility of Alex Brightman.

Like the film it’s based on, BEETLEJUICE: THE MUSICAL tells the story of  "a home inhabited by two very different families, the recently deceased Maitlands and the very much living Deetzes, and the titular ghost who happily wreaks havoc on all of them." That said, the stage version is said to bring Lydia Deetz (played by Winona Ryder in the film, and on stage by 17-year-old Sophia Anne Caruso) to the center of the story.

Director Alex Timbers on Lydia

Refocusing the story on Lydia’s emotional journey, Lydia’s relationship to Beetlejuice — who were [both] more like secondary characters in the film — felt like a great way in. Beetlejuice and Lydia are both trickster figures, in a way. Certainly Beetlejuice is, but musical theater has a great history of con men as characters when you think about Bialystock and Bloom or Harold Hill in The Music Man, so it felt to me that the DNA of those two characters felt like great musical theater protagonists in the way they work off each other.

Director Alex Timbers on Beetlejuice:

He’s one of those characters in film that that you can imagine breaking the fourth wall, and I think in theater, you want these characters that vibrate with life and can kick over the footlights and land in your lap. That’s Beetlejuice. He can directly address the audience. He can be an unreliable narrator. He can be a Loki figure, you know? He can be a god of chaos, and that’s really exciting.

On Easter eggs:

The dinner party scene is in the show, but where it exists and how it functions and how the music functions is surprising. So there are Easter eggs, and what I want to do is pass the sniff test for fans, but I want it to feel like its own surprising, exciting piece of theater.

And finally:

We’re embracing the spirit of dark whimsy, but at the center of it, it’s a family drama, right?

The musical boasts an original score by Eddie Perfect and a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King. BEETLEJUICE is now in previews ahead of a Nov. 4 opening. It then moves to Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre in March before officially opening on April 25.

Source: EW

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