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Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!!!

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Take a Wild Ride into the Netherworld with Laughter, Music, and Monsters with Beetlejuice now performing in West Palm Beach.

December 19th, 2023

A dazzling and deliciously delirious debut, Broadway’s performance of Beetlejuice at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts was a thrilling affair. The show took off with a bang and burst of light – literally – as flares and strobe lights abruptly signaled its start. Swiftly followed by an eerily lively yet grim funeral scene, umbrella-clad mourners twirled around on stage as Justin Collette, starring as Beetlejuice, led us in the opening act, “A Song About Death.”

An award-winning actor and musician, Collette’s years of experience performing comedy, improv, and cartoon shorts can have only enhanced his role on stage. Undeniably, Collette’s portrayal of Beetlejuice has produced one of the most unique characters on Broadway yet. Using a rough-edged voice that sounds both gripping yet grating to the ears and an unsettling color palette of purple and green, Collette truly captured the essence of that not-so-friendly ghost (or demon). With just the right amount of satire soaked in a plea for connection, Collette’s humor was unrivaled as he broke the fourth wall repeatedly. However, a note to the wise: this humor is probably best left to the adults.

Likewise, fellow leading actress Isabella Esler stars as Lydia in her professional debut on Broadway. Transitioning seamlessly between musical genres, from rock to sickenly sweet slower tunes, Esler overpowered the audience with her full-bodied vocal range and charming charisma – as much as a girl obsessed with the afterlife can have. Clothed in black and looking just a touch too pale for the living, Esler’s dramatic and endearingly authentic portrayal of the angsty teen leads us to question: Is this a show about death? Or is it a show about living life despite not knowing what’s to come?

Indeed, several key characters ultimately guided Lydia and us to an answer. Lending a touch of sincerity to the drama unfolding, actors Megan McGinnis and Will Burton star as the recently deceased couple Barbara and Adam. Both actors are well-versed in Broadway productions: McGinnis, known for several appearances such as Belle in Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables, and Burton, known for his roles in Hello, Dolly! and Holiday In. Meanwhile, Lydia’s father, Charles, and his daughter’s life coach, Delia – featuring Jesse Sharp from The Addams Family and Sarah Litzsinger from Beauty and the Beast – provide a contrasting and more traditional comic relief. From the hilarious portrayal of kind-hearted ghosts to tap dancing and possessed conga lines, these actors added to the enchanting quality of Beetlejuice.

Burton-esque elements dominated the show. From the iconic black-and-white pinstripes to the whimsical yet off-putting stage and costumes, the design team intended to toss us into another realm – that is, transport us into the realm of the Netherworld. Giant snakes and humorous monsters livened the stage. Flashing lights, flares, and optical illusions complemented the wackiness we all know and love from Beetlejuice. Overall, Broadway’s Beetlejuice is undoubtedly a monster of a production, but as Lydia says, “He’s a monster, but he’s my monster.” We will all surely remember Beetlejuice as the best “monster” in our memories.

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