Oscar E Moore

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BEETLEJUICE on Broadway – a real horror

April 28th, 2019 by Oscar E Moore

The dead have arrived at the Winter Garden Theatre in this almost dead on arrival so-called musical comedy called BEETLEJUICE based on the 1988 cult favorite movie of the same title by Tim Burton.  I am in deep mourning.  My love for musical comedy has just been stabbed to death.

BEETLEJUICE left me stunned into silence.  It left me with a splitting headache.  It left me never wanting to see another film adaptation musicalized.

Musicalized?  There isn’t even a song list in the Playbill program.  That was my first clue.  Second clue was that the so-called songs are by Eddie Perfect.  In his dreams perhaps he imagines them as being perfect.  This score from the same person who inflicted his music and words on that other forgettable horror called KING KONG.

The only song you will remember is THE BANANA BOAT SONG “Day-O” that has not been penned by Mr. Perfect.  It is featured in an engagement party scene that boasts a singing boar (as in pig) who is indeed a highlight.

BEETLEJUICE desperately needs a transfusion.  Of music.  Of lyrics.  Some smart humor.  As opposed to gross.  Full bodied characters.  A plot.  Instead of flashy (appropriately) tacky costumes (William Ivey Long) a magnificent off-kilter haunted house set (David Korins) blinding lighting effects (Kenneth Posner) and ear piercing sounds masquerading as songs in this insanity foisted upon us by its creators.

For the record – the aforementioned Eddie Perfect (music and lyrics).  Scott Brown & Anthony King (book).  Brown and King also penned Gutenberg!  The Musical! An off-Broadway two character opus where in my review I warned readers to beware of too many exclamation points.

This weird madhouse of cartoon characters and puppets (Michael Curry) and ridiculous goings-on has been directed by that mad-cap director Alex Timbers.  Seeking to fill in the missing plot points with whatever sandworm was handy it seems.  What choreography there is can be blamed on Connor Gallagher.

Also in mourning is Sophia Anne Caruso as Lydia who deeply misses her recently deceased mom.  Dressed in Gothic widow’s weeds she wails away at her loss.  We soon encounter our narrator and chief mischief maker Alex Brightman as cocaine snorting Beetlejuice incarnate.  He of the raspy voice that quickly becomes grating wearing his Jail House Rock striped uniform wishing he could come back to life if only he could find someone alive to say his name three times in a row.  I only wanted to say Be Gone! Be Gone! Be Gone! Sorry for the exclamation points.

Alex Brightman is zany, manic, weird, frenzied and freaky and if that’s what you like.  Go.  The production is exhausting, eye-popping and ear drum bursting loud.

The only person to come out alive is the wonderful Leslie Kritzer who makes a silk purse out of that boar’s ear with her portrayal of Lydia’s soon to be step mom and a dead Senora – Miss Argentina in the second act where production numbers take the place of the gone to the Netherland plot.

For the record Rob McClure and Kerry Butler are wasted away rather quickly as the owners of the house that…it’s just too difficult for me to go on…

After the intermission I didn’t think it could get any worse.  But it did.   And it does.  Ending with a Game Show contest – Life or Death…the final nail in the coffin.

For the record this inflated nothingness pleased many in attendance.


Photos:  Matthew Murphy

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