The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

IB or not to be
Safety barriers flood park
Banned books in 2023
Reactions to new grading policies split 50/50
View All

‘Beetlejuice’: The musical, the musical, the musical

The 1988 classic hits the stage
Fair use from Beetlejuice Broadway

Ever since “Beetlejuice: The Musical” began touring in December 2022, Minnesotans have been anxiously awaiting for its arrival to the state. Written by Anthony Kin and Scott Brown, it retells the cinematic hit of “Beetlejuice” in musical form.

The story of Beetlejuice tells the tale of the couple Adam (Will Burton) and Barbara Maitland (Megan McGinnis), who die in their own house from a freak accident. They’re bound to their house as a new family moves in — dysfunctional after the loss of the mother — wreaking havoc on their eternity. But causing more turmoil is a strange bond forming with the daughter of the family and a seemingly helpful demon with ulterior motives.

“Beetlejuice: The Musical” diverges in several ways from the movie, but often makes for an even better story.

From the beginning of the musical, Betelgeuse (Justin Collette) turns meta. Collette’s first song is “The Whole ‘Being Dead’ Thing,” where he speaks directly to the audience, poking fun at the show and his character. He continues these self aware lines in many of his songs. Betelgeuse also makes many comments and soliloquies to the audience throughout the show, telling them his scheme, his feelings and jokes — even sometimes using the audience as the punchline. Betelgeuse’s meta lines take his zaniness in the movie and improve it to be in a musical format, always getting a laugh from the audience.

One of my favorite parts of the musical is how much more of a focus it puts on the daughter, Lydia Deetz’s (Isabella Esler), pain and depression from the passing of her mom than in the movie. The third song in the musical is “Dead Mom” which is sung by Lydia. Lydia sings to her mom crying for help, expressing how emotionally broken she has become, and how isolating her father’s dismissal is. Esler also sings “Dead Mom” with so much emotion, like it’s coming straight from her soul, showing how great of an actress and singer she really is. The lyrics and singing combined genuinely moves the audience, making Lydia a much more relatable and realistic character and less of an angsty teen stereotype like she can sometimes come across as in the movie.

However, in the process of taking a focus on Lydia’s emotional journey, Adam and Barbara’s characters take almost a backseat in the musical. The couple’s journey through death is about three fourths as long as it is in the movie, which makes their characters slightly less developed. This was a disappointing decision due to how relatable they are in the film.

A very fun point in the film is meeting any of the ghosts from the netherworld. You get some of the most impressive effects in the show and you get to learn the backstory of many different, but very interesting characters. Here, also provides an interesting juxtaposition between some of the most upbeat notes of the show, such as in “What I Know Now,” and the very dark topics that lie in the lyrics.

One character that I did not enjoy in the musical was Delia Deetz (Kate Marilley). They turn her character into a spiritual hippie stereotype as a bad life coach. Her entire character is a joke. You never see any emotional depth to her, character growth or an actual purpose. For all of the musical, they just use her to make the same over-the-top joke, which gets old very quickly and solely turns her character into an annoyance.

The costumes were wonderfully designed. Betelgeuse’s suit had stains and grime to show that he is dead and has been in the ground, but also to reflect that he is a dirty character with ulterior motives. His suit also had accents of neon green to give him a magical element. Lydia’s dress has a beautiful gothic look, containing various layers of lace and ruffles. Her dress also has a stark contrast to the costumes of all the other living characters. The other characters’ costumes are much more flat and plain to show that Lydia is different from them. They alienate her.

One of the most impressive parts is the use of lighting on sets. They use strategically placed neon lights on the sets to turn on at important moments. The placement of these lights can completely alter the look of the set to make it appear like a new one. Specifically in scenes where the dead altered the state of the human world, they used the lights to make the set look very trippy and magical to stand in the place of the special effects used in cinema. 

The set designers also occasionally used projectors for backgrounds. They would project moving scenes onto the back wall of the stage to achieve the look of things like rain or lightning. The moving backgrounds made scenes look more dynamic and added to the atmosphere, especially in ghostly or creepy scenes.

Despite the few complaints I had about the musical, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had some incredible sets, mostly well designed characters and overall was just extremely entertaining. I’d pay to see it again.

“Beetlejuice: The Musical”: ★★★★★

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Rackam Walberg, Echo Staffer
 Hi, my name is Rackam Walberg. I am a sophomore and this is my first year in Echo. Other than writing and photography, I love to draw and read. I also enjoy hiking, listening to music, and watching horror movies. I’m really excited to be in Echo this year!

Comments (0)

The Echo intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet these standards. The Echo does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a name and valid email address submitted that are variable. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible. Please direct any further questions to [email protected].
All The Echo Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *