"Beetlejuice the Musical" Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts (Worcester, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: The CAST of "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" now playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through January 7, 2024. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)


By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724

“I'm gonna go back home. Adam, Barbara, Delia and Dad. It's messy but they're all that I have. I'll make the best of being flesh and bone...Mama, I'm going home.” 

                                                       - ("Lydia") / Eddie Perfect, Scott Brown & Anthony King 


The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts

Presents the Broadway Smash

"BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL"

It's showtime!

Music & Lyrics by Eddie Perfect

Book by Scott Brown & Anthony King

Based On The Geffen Company Picture, with a Story by Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson

Directed by Alex Timbers

Musical Supervision, Orchestrations, & Incidental Music by Kris Kukul

Choreography by Connor Gallagher

Cast Includes: Justin Collette as “Beetlejuice”; Isabella Esler as “Lydia”; Megan McGinnis as “Barbara”; Will Burton as “Adam”; Jesse Sharp as “Charles”; Sarah Litzsinger as “Delia”; Jackera Davis as “Girl Scout, U/S Lydia”; Veronica Fiaoni as “Miss Argentina”; Abe Goldfarb as “Otho” (U/S Adam, Charles, Maxie Dean); Kris Roberts as “Maxine Dean,” “Juno,” Ensemble (U/S Delia); Brian Vaughn as “Maxie Dean (U/S Charles)”; Swing: Lexie Dorsett Sharp (U/S Barbara, Delia, Maxie Dean, Juno, Miss Argentina), Matthew Michael Janisse (U/S Beetlejuice, Adam, Charles, Otho, Maxie Dean), Ryan Breslin (Dance Captain, U/S Adam, Maxie Dean, Otho), Haley Hannah (Assistant Dance Captain, U/S Barbara, U/S Maxine Dean, U/S Juno, U/S Girl Scout); Ensemble: Kenway Hon Wai K. Kua, Mateo Melendez, Drew Minard, Lee N. Price (U/S Beetlejuice, Otho), Larkin Reilly (U/S Lydia, U/S Girl Scout, U/S Miss Argentina), Michael Biren (U/S Beetlejuice, Maxie Dean, Otho), Haley Fish (U/S Barbara, U/S Delia, U/S Miss Argentina), Corben Williams (NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)   

Additional Creative Team: 

David Korins - Scenic Design; William Ivey Long - Costume Design; Kenneth Posner - Lighting Design; Peter Hylenski - Sound Design; Peter Nigrini - Projection Design; Michael Curry - Puppet Design; Jeremy Chernick - Special Effects Design; Michael Weber – Illusions; Charles G. Lapointe - Hair & Wig Design; Joe Dulude II - Make-Up Design; Lorenzo Pisoni - Physical Movement Coordinator; The Telsey Office & Rachel Hoffman, CSA -  Casting; Eddie Perfect & Kris Kukul - Additional Arrangements; Matt Stine - Music Producer; Kristy Norter - Music Coordination; David Dabbon - Dance Arrangements; Andy Grobengieser - Music Director/Conductor; Alan D. Knight - Production Stage Manager; Joel T. Herbst - Company Manager;  Catie Davis - Associate Director; Michael Fatica - Associate Choreographer; Allied Global Marketing - Tour Marketing & Press; Spotco - Digital & Social Media; The Road Company - Tour Booking; Networks Presentations / Walker White -  Production Management; Jenny Gersten - Line Producer; Gentry & Associates / Gregory Vander Ploeg - General Management   Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures – Producer; Networks Presenations / Mimi Intagliata & Seth Wenig – Producer;  Original Broadway General Manager – Bespoke Theatricals. (NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)   

Performances:

January 2, 2024 until January 7, 2024  

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

Presented at the HANOVER THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, 2 Southbridge St., Worcester. 

For More Information:  

877-571-SHOW (7469) info@thehanovertheatre.org

COVID 19 PROTOCOLS

Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Ringing in the new year with a veritable explosion of energy, the Hanover Theatre in Worcester presents "BEETLEJUICE" - a musical so hot it feels as if someone poured gasoline all over the stage and lit it on fire.

Not really, of course, but this manic musical not only features fantastic songs it is funny as...well, you know...hell.

Much of the show's stage success is thanks to a wonderfully constructed script and heavenl-...uh... "otherworldly" performances by the principals and ensemble.

And, mostly it succeeds because of that diabolically funny "BEETLEJUICE" himse-....uh...itself.  

The musical adaptation of "BEETLEJUICE" is based on the 1988 film of the same name (directed by Tim Burton), features music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect with its book by Scott Brown and Anthony King

After a 2018 tryout in Washington, D.C. "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" premiered on Broadway in 2019

Like all of Broadway at the time, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the show halted performances in March, 2020, remaining dormant until April, 2022

The American tour began in December, 2022 and the Broadway show closed in January, 2023

(Photo: Lydia stands with the master of mayhem as they appear in "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through January 7, 2024. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)

As indicated from the very start of the show, the musical departs from the original source material as the story concerns a ghostly couple who try to haunt the new inhabitants of their former home. 

The doomed couple, Adam (Will Burton) and Barbara (Megan McGinnis) meet their untimely demise in the humorous song, "Ready, Set, Not Yet," then seek help from a mischievous and malevolent ghost named “Betelgeuse” (aka "BEETLEJUICE," magnificently played on tour by Justin Collette), who can only appear by saying his name three times. 

Collette, as "BEETLEJUICE" effortlessly explains the entire premise of the musical in the show's hysterical opener, "The Whole 'Being Dead' Thing" which is more significant an opener than one might think. 

Is there an homage to the "BEETLEJUICE" character created by the film collaboration by actor Michael Keaton and the film's director, Tim Burton? Sure. How could there not be?

However, as the opening number clearly indicates, THIS "BEETLEJUICE" is a show that, in almost "Python-esque" fashion, knows exactly what form it is being presented in and then ruthlessly begins to satirize that form.

(Photo: Lydia, Adam and Barbara in a pivotal scene from "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through January 7, 2024. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)

Nothing in this show should be taken as either reverential or canon to the original motion picture. If you come seeking that, you might walk away disappointed. If you accept the changes made in this musical form, though, you will almost assuredly be guaranteed a great time.

Collette mugs relentlessly for the audience but it doesn't matter because that is exactly what this audience came to see. 

Exceeding all expectations, Collette contorts, twists and turns himself on stage in breakneck speed costume changes and effortlessly manipulates props with mastered meticulousness.

Burton and McGinnis are equally vibrant and hilarious as the morally grounded ghosts, countering the morally devoid "BEETLEJUICE" as he "teaches" them on the finer points of haunting their home which, in their minds, has been invaded by a new family.

Later, during the show's second act, the duo simply "kill" in the song, "Barbara 2.0."

That new family consists of widower Charles (Jesse Sharp) and his adviser/lover Delia (Sarah Litzsinger), who have come to the house seeking to woo a potential investor for a gated community.

For those familiar with the movie, the show has reconstructed the relationship of Charles and Delia slightly. Yet, some of those changes do prove a bit more significant (and surprisingly so) once we get to the show's second act. 

Yet, the characters are superbly played out by Sharp and Litszinger who bring a heavy dose of eccentricity to both characters.  

(Photo: The CAST of "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through January 7, 2024. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)

One of the new inhabitants is a young girl, Lydia (incandescently played on this tour by Isabella Esler, making her professional debut), who copes with both her mother's death and her neglectful father.

Esler is a dynamic vocalist, showcased well in her Gothic portrayal of the clever but emotionally destitute Lydia. 

Lydia's obsession with her mother's passing is emotionally conveyed throughout the score in songs such as "Dead Mom" and later in the beautiful "Home" which comes with a completely unexpected and emotional scene with her father, Charles.  

The supporting ensemble for "BEETLEJUICE" brings to...uh..."life" (???) an assortment of characters that are a non-stop scream...sometimes literally they don't stop screaming. However, the ghoulish execution is done with tongue (somewhat) firmly planted in cheek and with surgical precision. 

Actor Abe Goldfarb performs multiple characters but it is his presence in Act Two as fraudulent spiritualist and layman exorcist "Otho" that results in some scene stealing moments. 

Much the same for performer Kris Roberts who shines on stage in multiple roles then, during the show's second act, appears as the smoke-filled "Juno," an imposing figure for the malignant "BEETLEJUICE."  

(Photo: Isabella Esler plays “Lydia” in the latest tour of "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through January 7, 2024. Photo Courtesy Hanover Theatre)

Other musical highlights include "Fight of Their Lives," the pivotal "Say My Name" and, of course, the iconic Harry Belafonte tunes "Day-O (aka "The Banana Boat Song")" and "Jump in the Line (Shake, Señora)" which will have the audience singing along.

Above all else, "BEETLEJUICE" is not only funny and clever, it is also a technical marvel beyond description. 

From the moment you enter the theatre, there is a huge neon sign with the name “Betelgeuse” with spooky music underscoring long before the show even begins - building anticipation and providing a clear indication that you are about to experience a show that is going to be completely weird. 

Then the show starts, the special effects proceed to go off the charts and the musical rollercoaster ride begins.

"BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" haunts the Hanover Theatre in Worcester through January 7th, 2024 and, as the sinister spook himse-...uh...itself, says from the show's opener, "Don't be freaked, stay in your seats." So, sit back, brace yourselves and enjoy the ride.

Up next in the Hanover Broadway series, in February, comes the iconic musical "MY FAIR LADY" by Lerner & LoeweFor more information, contact the Hanover Theatre at # 877-571-SHOW (7469) or via email at info@thehanovertheatre.org

Approximately two hours, 30 minutes with one intermission

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 

@MetrmagReviews

@Theatre_Critics 

ABOUT THE SHOW

It’s showtime!  

Broadway's “SCREAMINGLY GOOD FUN!” (Varietymusical comedy is now haunting houses all across the country! 

He earned his stripes on Broadway… now the "ghost-with-the-most" is coming to Worcester!

Based on Tim Burton’s dearly beloved film, "BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL" tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a strange and unusual teenager whose whole life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and a demon with a thing for stripes. 

With an irreverent book, an astonishing set, and a score that’s out of this Netherworld, "BEETLEJUICE" is “A FEAST FOR THE EYES AND SOUL!” (Entertainment Weekly)

And under its uproarious surface (six feet under, to be exact), it’s a remarkably touching show about family, love, and making the most of every Day-O!  

CONTENT ADVISORY
Contains strong language, mature references, and a lot of the crazy, inappropriate stuff you would expect from a deranged demon.

2 hours and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission

Please contact the box office at 877-571-SHOW (7469) for more information.


ABOUT HANOVER THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Worcester Center for Performing Arts is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which owns and operates The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

HANOVER THEATRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

2 Southbridge Street

Worcester, MA. 01608

877-571-SHOW (7469) 

info@thehanovertheatre.org