In 2011, rumors starting swirling about the possibility of a sequel to the Oscar-winning movie Beetlejuice when Seth Grahame-Smith, (author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) made a first look deal with Warner Bros and expressed interest in "advancing the storyline of the original."
Fans devoted to the original movie were both excited and somewhat skeptical. We knew it would be difficult to capture lightning in a bottle twice, even with the participation of Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Wynona Ryder. Still, we were willing to give it a shot as long as Tim Burton was on board.
Alas, in May 2016, Tim himself quelled the rumors when he spoke with Collider.
It’s something that I really would like to do in the right circumstances, but it’s one of those films where it has to be right. It’s not a kind of a movie that cries out [for a sequel], it’s not the Beetlejuice trilogy. So it’s something that if the elements are right—because I do love the character and Michael’s amazing as that character, so yeah we’ll see. But there’s nothing concrete yet.”
So imagine our surprise when the New York Post reported a Beetlejuice musical is in the works and will be coming to Broadway, hopefully in the 2018-2019 season. This wasn't exactly the Beetlejuice 2 we were worried about, but it could work.
The original film had two wonderful musical numbers that, let's admit, we still watch on Youtube every so often. But with the music comes the recasting of the characters and the expansion of the songs, and that's what's brings on the trepidation and questions.
Who Can Possibly Replace Michael Keaton?
For those of us who adored the 1988 film, Michael Keaton is and always will be Beetlejuice. Recasting the role, presumably with someone with singing capabilities, might appeal to the purveyors of Broadway, but not to the fans who practically have the movie memorized. We will be unable to see anyone else in the role as the ghost with the most. Micheal Keaton played the devilishly evil 400+ year-old exorcist with equal parts creepiness and sick charm. He made us laugh, cringe, and recoil all at the same time. But overall, he made us dislike and like this dark character which isn't an easy feat.
How Much Of The Movie Will Be Cut For Musical Numbers?
The draw of Beetlejuice wasn't the musical numbers. It was the actors, the connection that just worked, the humor, and the irreplaceable direction by Tim Burton. Each scene served a purpose, whether it was to illustrate Lydia's morose look at life, the Maitlands' realization they're no longer on the mortal coil, or Beetlejuice's devious plans to marry to keep from being sent back to the Underworld. Take out one scene, and the movie wouldn't have been the same. Musicals, as we all know, spend a large portion of time on the music. So what scenes will disappear to make rooms for songs that weren't originally in the film? The very thought of cutting even one makes us cringe.
Will Every Member Of The Cast Now Break Out Into Song?
We all thought it was funny when Delia Deetz (played by Catherine O'Hara) burst out into Harry Belafonte's Day-O (Banana Boat) in the middle of a dinner party with friends she was trying to impress. Will it be so funny if every character wraps up their dialogue or exposition with a jaunty tune? A part of what made this scene hysterical was how straight-laced Delia Deetz was. It will lose some of its appeal if the actress's shock is removed because she is comfortable with belting out tunes on a regular basis.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh. a Beetlejuice musical might surprise us all and take Broadway by storm. But it's equally possible that folks who watched the beloved movie in 1988 won't be buying tickets. We'd much rather remember the glory of the Beetlejuice that was and wait until Tim Burton believes the elements are right for another visit with the Maitlands, the Deetzs, and, of course, Beetlejuice.
Are You Interested In Seeing Beetlejuice The Musical?