It’s hard to know just how to feel about Beetlejuice being touted out as a musical. Honestly it’s a tossup between outright disbelief and a need to call up Warner Bros. and ask them what in the heck they’re thinking. But right now it doesn’t seem like anything too good could come of this since Beetlejuice WASN’T A MUSICAL. Any other show that features the chance and opportunity to add music into the overall story seems just fine. But something that was meant to be a funny ghost story doesn’t seem like it would live up to that kind of thing.
Like all things I could be wrong and it could be a hit since the production has already managed to procure the services of those individuals that have made other films so great due to their skill and expertise. But what it will come down to is two things primarily: the casting and the fact that music in this movie is just not something that seems like a good idea. Seriously, Beetlejuice had two moments of music in it and they were timed perfectly and didn’t need to go overboard to get their point across. The calypso at the dinner table when the dinner party got broken up, and the dance number at the end when Lydia earned a good grade in math were the only parts in which the music inspired anything other than the comedic qualities of the movie. That seems to be where it needs to stay, but of course that’s not good enough for those that want to run off in a different direction with the same story and do whatever they think will make it great again.
What’s really disturbing is that by doing this it could ruin a lot of memories that people have about this tale. The movie was something that was supposed to originally be dark and quite depressing. But it became something dynamic and very amusing and people enjoyed it thanks to the acting and the overall story line. Changing it in any way was a bad idea when it came time to make the cartoon, and if that’s not a good enough example then this play might be. Now you might argue that there’s a musical number of Beetlejuice in Universal Studios, or at least there was, and you’d be right. But that’s a darn sight different than making it into a Broadway play. What’s the difference you ask? The venue for one, and the fact that so few people knew about it even when it first opened. And the fact that it was more of a theme show than a take on the original movie is another good point. This attempt is something that seems like it’s going to take the movie and make it into something that it was never meant to be.
Again I could be wrong, and if I am then I’ll gladly admit it. But something tells me that this production is going to be falling way short of what people expect.