Beetlejuice is one of Greg’s favorite childhood movies, so when he heard the show was coming to Broadway he mentioned… over and over again… that he wanted to see it.
I picked up on the subtle hints, and got us tickets one Saturday via the Broadway lottery (I’m just lucky that way)! Having never seen the movie myself, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I did know it was a Tim Burton film, so that gave me an idea.
We stepped into the theater and, because of its dim lighting, fog, and spooky music playing from the speakers, immediately felt like it was Halloween, rather than the middle of summer, which felt a little disorienting.
Many people wore black and white stripes in homage to the title character, and I regretted not dressing in theme too!
The show centers around a couple who dies in their home and, once they realize they are ghosts, attempts to scare away the new owners. When the ghosts are too nice to accomplish this, they enlist the help of Beetlejuice, a more malicious ghost who has his own objective: get someone living to say his name three times, thereby allowing him to be seen.
The first half was entertaining, with many laugh lines and a captivating plot.
But the second half dragged. I found myself becoming bored, waiting for the show to end.
I left feeling not at all impressed, and disappointed by two things.
The first is that the show has a “Magic and Illusion Designer” whose entire job is dedicated to creating optical effects, separate from the “Special Effects Designer” who also works towards that end. And yet, the musical’s effects weren’t all that remarkable. With a show like this, premised on the unreal and imaginative, there was so much potential for a stunning visual spectacle and instead it fell short.
My second disappointment relates to the songs. In my opinion, the mark of a good musical is when you leave the theater humming the songs to yourself. And the mark of a great musical is when you go home and want to listen to the music again and again.
With Beetlejuice, I left the theater not being able to hum a single melody from the show. The music went in one ear and out the next, so mundane that it barely registered. The only song that did stand out is the Banana Boat Song (Day O), but that is a traditional Jamaican folk song that wasn’t written for the musical.
With its spooky essence, Halloween is the best time of year to see Beetlejuice on Broadway, so if you’re going to go, I recommend going in October. However, if you don’t see the show, I really don’t think you’re missing anything.
You can find tickets here if you’re interested.
~Ashley Ashley Ashley