It’s Showtime, with BEETLEJUICE the Musical

The wicked, entertaining pandemonium comes to The National

by Dara Klatt

Isabella Esler (Lydia) and Justin Collette(Beetlejuice). Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2022

Timed this month alongside the announcement by Warner Brothers of a “Beetlejuice” sequel to Tim Burton’s original 1988 horror-comedy movie (premiering September 2023), the demon in the black-and-white striped suit makes his way onto D.C.’s National Theatre stage. Based on the classic film, the retooled musical tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a pale teenager in all-black mourning wardrobe whose life changes when she meets a recently deceased couple and a raunchy, green-haired demon.

At the D.C. show premiere, a surprisingly sizable Beetlejuice fandom surfaced, dressed in garish designs, bold monochrome stripes, and a strong sense of self-expression. Judging by the immediate standing ovation, the Burton cultists – and even those who just appreciated rapid-fire death humor –  wildly cheered the astonishing set, catchy scores, “gimme” Washington political jokes and screamingly good stars.

Loud and excessive, yet cheeky and fun, Justin Collete (as Beetlejuice) gives a spot-on performance as the gross-out, snappy ghoul while Isabella Esler (as Lydia Deetz) demonstrates her goth vibe and musical prowess.

Isabella Esler (Lydia)
Photo by Matthew Murphy, 2022

Come for the splashy supernatural mayhem of this film-to-musical adaption. But you might want to leave the kids at home (based on crazy, inappropriate demon stuff) and just tell them later about the biggest sandworm Broadway has seen.

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BEETLEJUICE is directed by Tony Award® winner Alex Timbers with an original score by Tony Award nominee Eddie Perfect; a book by Tony Award nominee Scott Brown and Tony and Emmy Award® nominee Anthony King, music supervision, orchestrations and incidental music by Kris Kukul and choreography by Connor Gallagher.

BEETLEJUICE is playing through May 28, 2023. Single tickets begin at ; go to BroadwayAtTheNational.

com.

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