Beetlejuice is the next major property making the jump from the screen to the stage, and the first look at the next generation of the titular character has arrived.
In Tim Burton's original 1988 film, Beetlejuice was made iconic by Michael Keaton. The stage version however, is set to be played by Tony Award nominee Alex Brightman (School of Rock). The show will begin on Sunday night in Washington, D.C., while it will transfer to Broadway in the spring.
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly and People, we now have our first look at Brightman's new take on the character.
Check it out below!
According to director Alex Timbers, Brightman's performance will completely separate itself from what Keaton did 30 years ago.
“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,” Timbers said of his star. “[His Beetlejuice] is definitely not a Michael Keaton impression. It’s his own. It’s filtered through the sensibility of Alex Brightman.”
While Beetlejuice is the character with his name in the headlines, Timbers explained that this musical will focus on the story of Lydia Deetz, who was played by Winona Ryder in the movie, and Sophia Anne Caruso on stage.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Beetlejuice will still have a massive presence in the stage production, becoming an agent of chaos for the two families at the center of the story. Timbers likens the character to Marvel's Loki, who lives to cause mischief.
“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.”
Timbers went on to say that the production will definitely pay homage to the film, and even include several Easter eggs.0comments
“The dinner party scene is in the show, but where it exists and how it functions and how the music functions is surprising,” he said. (Another film-to-stage tease: The musical will make a visit the Netherworld.) “So there are Easter eggs from the film, 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.”
What do you think of the new-look Beetlejuice? Let us know in the comments!