THE GOLDEN GATE STAGE IS HAUNTED THIS HOLIDAY WITH SOME EYE POPPING GHOSTS THAT WOULD SCARE DICKENS
“WELCOME TO A SHOW ABOUT DEATH” BEETLEJUICE TAKES US ON A HAUNTED THRILLING RIDE AND HONORS TIM BURTON'S LADYRINTHINE
Review by Vince Mediaa
The BroadwaySF Golden Gate stage is haunted for the Holiday Season as BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL invades San Francisco. The National tour of this new musical opened Wednesday night and runs through December 31. What a celebration of “death” to ring in the new year. Originally from the creative mind of the king of goth and camp Tim Burton. Book by Scott Brown and Anthony King. Music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect and Directed by Alex Timbers. The pop ghost from the cult film 'Beetlejuice' sings “I do this BS eight times a week, if I hear your cell phone ring I will kill you myself, this is a show about death.” Justin Collette is the insane goth is BEETLEJUICE and once he is fired up with the right combination of a word code he steals all of the SF Tenderloin.
Brown and King, along with composer Eddie Perfect and director Timbers, bring the 1988 cult comedy a goth pop punk musical version of BEETLEJUICE a new home. The musical has been in previews, this is the first stop of their National Tour. The fan base in the audience, some dressed to honor their hero, are loving the eye candy ghoulish effects and fun on stage. Beetle opens the show with “The Whole Being Dead Thing” and some very funny lines including “You are all going to die I will be your guide to the other side”.
The cast includes some full-throttle performances including understudy Nevada Riley who filled in for the lead opening night. Riley as the teen Lydia prologues the story with the passionate song “Invisible”. “Holy crap!” says Beetlejuice, to the sold out audience breaking the fourth wall. “A ballad already? And such a bold departure from the original source material.” Beetlejuice leads up to the impending demise of a nerdy couple Adam and Barbara played by Will Burton and Britney Coleman, who die in an accident in their Victorian farmhouse.
Lydia’s dead mother was not explored in the movie, but her death in this musical is a main underlying theme of family. She is part of the family that purchases the home after the couple is found dead. The moody teen is always angry at her disillusioned father Charles played by the mixed up Jesse Sharp and Delia, the spacey “life coach” he hired to help his daughter. Dalia is played by the over the top Kate Marilley who is on her way to becoming Charles’ second wife and Lydia’s stepmother. Delia, serves up self-help jargon but is shallow. Marilley is a perfect Lucille Ball type and very camp and over the top.
Charles buys the home to flip it for a gated community charmer. The dead family occupies the attic, Barb and Adam sing “Ready, Set, Not Yet” revealing their boring normal lives. As ghosts of course they just want their home back. Lydia, being “strange and unusual,” is the only one of them able to see and communicate with the resident ghosts, who are new to haunting. Lydia wants to get her dad back to New York so they work as a team to scare off any new buyers. Beetlejuice also makes contact with Lydia, but she’s smart enough to reject his self-serving offer of help, just as Barb and Adam did. Beetle sings “Fright of Their Lives” with Barb and Adam.
The BEETLEJUICE craft left some important shtick from the original, the dinner party scene. The first attempt to terrify the hosts and guests by possessing them with the classic Harry Belafonte original Day ‘O “The Banana Boat Song”. This prompts cheers from the audience when Delia’s toast is interrupted as she involuntarily yelps, “Day-O” This does not frighten them, Lydia has to summon Beetlejuice by saying his name three times, the code and the musical now turns wild and pop fright mayhem.
The craft team has a thrilling time as the first act closes. Designer David Korins easily draws from the vision of Burton yet he adds his own spin on the sets. Clever perspective gives everything an out of focus look that seems to grow more intense as the action goes over the top. Together with William Ivey Long’s goth punk camp costumes, Kenneth Posner’s haunted flashes and death like lighting and Peter Nigrini’s stunning projections this set becomes one of the actors. The scene changes include flocks of bats, ravens, thunderstorms, billowing leaves and much more. I was afraid to look under my seat.
The busy score is a bit uneven and the second act is out of focus, crossing up on the plot holes. But this eye popping haunted musical inventive production values and many jokes deliver non stop laughs. Brown and King establish a bond between Lydia and Beetlejuice as she starts enjoying his chaos. They both share their need for family and this softens the ghost. Yet It’s fun to watch them terrorizing a girl scout with a condition and others backed by a dancing chorus of Beetlejuice clones in “That Beautiful Sound” which parodies the old-school, Jazz Hands production number with severed arms.
Fans will find this appeal for pop ghosts and screaming props a bit over the top, but others will get that perfect camp feel to say the Beetle code and bring him to life. This may not be the best Holiday musical in town. But this is perfect to bring in the New Year. So far this is a SF treat as tickets are selling better than FROZEN down the street. Come join BEETLEJUICE for his December haunting here in the Bay Area, and bring your own hat for the Day’O dance.
Broadway SF Presents
BEETLEJUICE THE MUSICAL
MUSIC & LYRICS BY EDDIE PERFECT
BOOK BY SCOTT BROWN & ANTHONY KING BY
Directed by Alex Timer
MUST CLOSE DEC 31st
Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St SF
The show runs 2 hours and 40 minutes and one intermission
Tickets: $66-$184 (subject to change); 888-746-1799 www.shnsf.com
Photos by Matthew Murphy
IN-PERSON RUSH TICKETS
A limited number of $40 Rush tickets will be available for every performance beginning 2 hours prior to curtain at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office. Tickets are subject to availability. Cash or credit. 2 per person. Rush tickets are void if resold.
MOBILE RUSH TICKETS
Download the TodayTix app in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store to unlock the Rush ticketing feature by sharing a post on social through the app. Check back in the app at 9am for access to exclusive day-of $40 Rush tickets for every performance.