Review from Edmund Bleakley

Beetlejuice, the hit musical (both on stage and on social platforms) found its way from Broadway, all around the country and then landed in Chicago. Based on the Tim Burton film with music by Australia’s own Eddie Perfect, this genre defying step into musical madness is like nothing else in theatre.

Beetlejuice the musical got its start in Washington D.C. and has been in production in one place or another since 2018. It gained real popularity in 2020 when the Broadway cast joined the video social media app, TikTok and posted videos of themselves to the songs from the show. From there the songs (and by extension the musical) gained popularity and notoriety and became the hit it is today. Beetlejuice the musical ended its Broadway run on January 8th this year with the North American national tour already underway since last December.

Justin Collette takes on the role of Beetlejuice in this production that opened in Chicago tonight as part of a North American tour. The role was previously portrayed by Alex Brightman during its Broadway run. Although Collette plays the role very differently to Brightman, he maintains the high energy you’d expect from the role. Alongside Collette is Isabella Esler as the female lead, Lydia. Esler plays the role in spectacular fashion, carrying the torch with such respect from her Broadway counterparts whilst showing off the emotional complexities that come with the role.

From beginning to end, this musical is top-notch in every way. The use of set, the music, the comedy, the acting, everything. It truly lives up to the hype created for it online. It must be noted, however, that this is not a musical for the whole family but for the adults, it is a thrill.

Whilst the production has a limited run in Chicago, it was announced that it would be returning in May 2024. Other productions of Beetlejuice the Musical are underway all over the world. Australian audiences have a while to wait though as it doesn’t come to our shores until 2025 (and only in Melbourne) but if our cast can maintain the atmosphere birthed by the Broadway cast and maintained by the North American touring cast, it will be worth the wait.

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