If I say Beetlejuice 3 times will the Broadway musical transfer to the West End? #WestEndWishlist
| By Jade Ali
On a recent trip to New York, I saw Beetlejuice The Musical on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre and it beyond lived up to the hype I’d been hearing from this side of the pond. The critics and public alike have been raving and it fast became a bucket list must-see for me. This isn’t just a musical but a completely electric experience and it’s one that West End theatre fans desperately need!
During the month of October, Beetlejuice The Musical will be celebrating Halloween every day by giving out limited edition Playbills*, hosting costume contests and offering exclusive swag and Halloween cocktails. Here’s hoping the show's Halloween celebration includes a West End transfer announcement.
*Playbills are the US’ version of programmes and they’re completely free to every ticket holder. Basically, the West End needs playbills.
What is Beetlejuice The Musical about?
Based on the Tim Burton 1988 film of the same name, Beetlejuice The Musical gives the title character a much more active role. Despite the big shoes Michael Keeton left, they are more than filled by Alex Brightman who is simply phenomenal with his comedic timing. Whilst it’s named Beetlejuice, it’s not just the Beetlejuice show. He acts as the narrator, but this story very much still belongs to the weird and unusual teenager Lydia (played on Broadway by the incredible Sophia Anne Caruso).
Teenaged girl Lydia Deetz is a little strange to say the least and obsessed with death and the dead. When her father forces her to move out to the sticks, she befriends the houses’ former residents; who just happen to be ghosts following their tragic and accidental death. Despite their friendship, the ghosts still want their house back and Lydia decides to help them out. However, the Maitlands aren’t the only supernatural beings that want a piece of the action. This is where the truly scary and ever so wacky Beetlejuice comes into the picture. After their plan to disrupt a big shot dinner party hosted by Lydia’s father and stepmother-to-be Delia, goes up in smoke, they unleash Beetlejuice who doesn’t hold back in his hellish tricks and chaotic schemes!
Why does the West End need Beetlejuice The Musical?
Of course, we have countless brilliant musicals, but there is nothing like Beetlejuice The Musical! And yes, we have the film but there’s just not enough Beetlejuice in that Beetlejuice and also, whilst the film has ‘The Banana Boat Song’, it only has the one song. The musical has 18 songs including ‘Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)’. The songs are just off the charts good, Tony Award-nominated too, and are all written by Eddie Perfect. Don’t get me wrong, this whole show will have you screaming with laughter, but there are heartfelt moments that grab you. The song ‘Dead Mom’ is one that will stop you laughing in your seat and truly capture your heart and emotions. It finally gives Lydia the voice that she didn’t otherwise have before, giving us the chance to really get to know and feel for her. Then there are numbers like ‘Creepy Old Guy’, which are beyond silly and seriously catchy, that will induce plenty of laughter all whilst having your knees bobbing along to the rhythm.
My Beetlejuice The Musical West End Dreamcast
First things first, the Broadway cast of Beetlejuice The Musical are all absolutely mind-blowing. They really are incredibly talented but if Broadway can’t spare them for if/when the West End gets its urgently needed transfer then we’re not to worry. We have numerous actors here in the UK that are exceptional and a part of me couldn’t help but think of who I’d cast in a West End production as I watched the show over in New York.
If Alex Brightman was to reprise the role of Beetlejuice here in the West End, then that would be an absolute dream because everyone seriously needs to see his magical performance live. However, the show would be in great hands if Matt Willis was cast in the role. Willis’ most recent theatre credits include the WhatsOnStage Award-winning Little Shop of Horrors (Open Air Theatre) and The Christmasaurus (Eventim Apollo). His other theatre credits include Fiyero in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre), Nick in Flashdance: The Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre), and Chuck in Footloose (UK Tour). It’s his recent role as Orin and various others in Little Shop of Horrors that convinces me he’d be perfect for the role. He has the comedy timing, the voice and the energy that is required.
The role of Lydia was already iconic after Winona Ryder’s portrayal of the character in the film and now even more so due to Sophia Anne Caruso. Here in the West End, we have plenty of talent but the queen that is Millie O’Connell would surely follow suit of ensuring the character of Lydia remains iconic. O’Connell’s theatre credits include 42nd Street (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and another production of 42nd Street (Theatre du Chatelet) but she is most popularly known for her Olivier-nominated performance as Anne Boleyn in Six (Arts Theatre). The role of Lydia requires buckets of sass, heart and talent. Millie has just that and the big voice that is needed. There’s no doubt in my head that she’d be perfect in the head to toe black outfit that Lydia Deetz is known for.
The rest of my Dreamcast is made up of Rob Fowler (Mamma Mia UK and International Tour, Bat Out Of Hell) as Charles, Sharon Sexton (Mamma Mia UK and International Tour, Bat Out of Hell) as Delia, Hadley Fraser (Young Frankenstein, Les Miserables) as Adam and Rosalie Craig (Company, City of Angels) as Barbara.
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice; West End transfer?
It was worth a try to see if we could magically summon a West End transfer announcement. Beetlejuice The Musical tickets will be a must for anyone this side of the pond if the musical makes its way over sometime soon!
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