Now in previews at New York’s Winter Garden Theater after a run in Washington, D.C., director Tim Burton’s 1988 cult classic Beetlejuice has become a Broadway musical (opening April 25). The show still tells the story of the eccentric, clownish demon (originated by Michael Keaton and played here by School of Rock alum Alex Brightman) who terrorizes a family grappling with issues concerning both the mortal and the macabre.
One key difference: new music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect (King Kong). “I was in a really fortunate position to have a great, funny and surprisingly moving script in my hands to go off of,” says Perfect, who set out to inject multiple musical influences into the show. “In Tim Burton’s film, Beetlejuice is always turning on a dime by manipulating, seducing and conjuring up magic and illusions all over the place. I knew that if I set out to write one musical style, it would have killed what works for a character who is dynamic and surprising.”