“Beetlejuice” musical teems with wit and charm

Written By Erin Yudt, Editor Elect

Two weekends ago I had the honor of seeing the musical “Beetlejuice” at the Benedum. My roommate got season tickets and has been taking our other roommates to shows one by one. I thought I was getting the short end of the stick by seeing this one with them, but I was wrong.

The only prior knowledge of “Beetlejuice” I had going into the show was that the opening number was an absolute banger, as the Broadway cast performed it during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade a couple of years ago (I am a dedicated viewer); I did not even know that “Beetlejuice” was a movie until a few weeks before I went to see the musical. So being the person that I am, I decided to go into the performance relatively blindly.

In short, the musical follows Lydia Deetz whose life is turned upside down when she moves into a new home haunted by a recently deceased couple called Barbara and Adam Maitland, and the rambunctious demon Beetlejuice. With the help of the Maitlands, Lydia sets out to bring her mother back to life and foil  Beetlejuice’s nefarious plans to come back to life as well.

When I tell you that the actor that played Beetlejuice looked exactly like the original Broadway cast Beetlejuice, I am not exaggerating. The resemblance was uncanny. After googling what Beetlejuice looks like in the movie, I prefer the musical Beetlejuice much more, as he is more realistic and embodies the dad energy of the character much better. 

Speaking of the character’s energy, as a straight woman, I will say this with my full chest that Beetlejuice is a queer icon. The way he flirted with both Barbara and Adam throughout the show, as well as basically all the other characters, was both hilariously unexpected and provided proper representation, according to my queer and fellow attendee roommate. In fact, there was nothing really to suggest that Beetlejuice was a man, which makes me want to see a female presenting Beetlejuice even more. 

I am a simp for anytime a show breaks the fourth wall, and Beetlejuice does this a lot. I loved how the actor kept making jokes about audience members in the opening number throughout the show. There was one in particular about a man understanding Beetlejuice’s loneliness and was pointed out during comedically perfect times, even getting some of the cast to break and laugh as well, which I loved and implied that these jokes were made on the fly, a true testament to the actor’s talent. 

On the topic of loneliness, I loved how at the end of the day, Beetlejuice is just like all of us. They want to be loved and surrounded by good people. Yes, demons can be misunderstood, too and are deserving of our love and attention. And yes, Beetlejuice’s black and white striped frayed suit with green hair is kind of a look too. 

Coming from a small town, I tend to be  extremely impressed anytime I see a professional production, but I truly enjoyed the set design and lighting for this musical. The strobe lighting in between scenes carried the eerie nature of the show, it kept me engaged and gave color that the set naturally lacks.It is a show about death, afterall. My roommate’s seats were also right behind the lights and sound board, so it was cool to see the crew setting up equipment. They even had an adorable sandworm plushie wrapped around a wire.

In terms of musicality, there was nothing too special, but like I said, I really loved the opening number “The Whole ‘Being Dead’ Thing.” The “blah blah bible Jesus magic” line had me cackling. There is a number called “Creepy Old Guy” that the cast sings when Lydia is about to “marry” Beetlejuice, which I thought was a little creepy as Lydia is underage in the show, but the song perfectly roasts and boasts Beetlejuice and will be something I sing to catcallers on the street. Another song called “Girl Scout” was really random as it opened up act two, presented a character that we had not seen before, and it was not really at all important to the plot, but the randomness of this number fit perfectly with the show’s overall theme. I loved how innocent and joyful the girl was singing about her deadly heart condition; the contrast fit well with how she was going into the house now haunted by Beetlejuice. 

All in all, “Beetlejuice” has now made it on my Spotify playlist and my stomach hurt from all of the laughter for like two days after seeing the production. I would gladly see it again and Ihave the movie on my watchlist, but I am afraid that it will not live up to the greatness that embodied the musical version.