Slated to make its debut this October in a pre-Broadway run at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., Beetlejuice: The Musical could be what '80s fans never knew they needed. In a joint announcement, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Langley Park Productions shared that they are merging to bring Beetlejuice's comedic narrative to a live audience with a bit of song and dance thrown into the mix, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The dark musical comedy, which is an adaptation of the 1988 film of the same name, will tell the story of Lydia Deetz, a peculiar teen who is obsessed with the dead. EW indicates that Lydia moves into new house which is haunted by a recently deceased couple and a "degenerate demon" named Beetlejuice. The two become closely acquainted when Lydia calls on Beetlejuice for help and he comes up with the ultimate plan of hijinks which include exorcism, an arranged marriage, and more.
A logline from the production's website shares,
"Lock up your kids, folks, he’s back! Beetlejuice is ruder, raunchier and frankly, more repellant than ever in this original musical based on Tim Burton’s wonderfully demented film. Directed by Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher), BEETLEJUICE has it all — exorcism, arranged marriages and an adorable girl scout who gets scared out of her wits. It’s the perfect musical to see after a long hard day-o."
Fans of the '80s film appear to be extremely excited about the forthcoming Beetlejuice musical with many sharing their thoughts about it on Twitter.
The musical's director, Alex Timber told The New York Times that he is hoping to translate Tim Burton’s distinctive sensibility to the stage play by using what he referred to as “a handcrafted aesthetic” and “outrageous, edgy humor.” Explaining his focus with the musical, Timber continued,
“One of the things we’re focusing on is the emotional story of the character of Lydia, who has an interesting inverted arc — she’s a living girl obsessed with death, and Betelgeuse is a dead figure obsessed with life. The film is a family drama, with the two Deetzes and the two Maitlands and Lydia and Betelgeuse all in one house, and we’re also seizing on the house as a character, because it’s inherently emotional and theatrical and fun.”
News of the musical adaptation follows years of talk that a Beetlejuice 2 film was in the works. In October 2017, Deadline reported that the movie was in the process of being rewritten for Warner Brothers by Mike Vukadinovich and indicated that Tim Burton and Michael Keaton were extremely "excited at the thought of collaborating on a sequel." The news led fans to speculate that Michael Keaton would return to reprise his role as the film's titular character. However, that remains to be seen as the movie continues to be in limbo and no deals have been made with either Burton or Keaton at this time.
The original Beetlejuice movie, now 30-years-old, was directed by Burton in 1988 and quickly became a cult favorite following it release. In addition to Keaton, the film also starred Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as a couple of ghosts who haunt their old home, while Winona Ryder played the role of Lydia.
Beetlejuice was also a critically and commercially successful film at the box office, grossing $73.7 million from a budget of $15 million domestically, according Box Office Mojo. The film's financial success helped to spawn a Beetlejuice animated television series which ran for four seasons between September 1989 to December 1991.
With plans for the highly-anticipated sequel still unconfirmed, recent news about the musical should certainly be a much needed boost to fans' spirits.