REVIEW: Beetlejuice

Welcome to the Twin Cities – Beetlejuice!  This delightful musical arrived at the Orpheum Theater as the last show in the 2022-2023 Broadway series and the audience was ready!  Black and white stripes was the fall fashion trend seen in the seats as everyone gathered to enjoy a cult classic movie turned musical. It did not disappoint!

Beetlejuice, played by Matthew Michael Janisse, was outstanding. Janiesse was the perfect mixture of performer, comedian and laugh-inducing gross. He was perfectly true to the Beetlejuice reputation. Lydia, preformed by Isabella Esler, is a recent high school graduate and Beetljuice is her first touring production since graduation.  Esler nailed the gothic, morose, moping teen we expected.  Esler’s stunning voice filled the rafters during her performances, often ending with grand applause from the audience. Delia, played by Kate Marileey, was such a pleasant surprise in her comedic performance as Esler’s life coach.  Marileey’s over done gestures and light, spacey voice, encouraged laughter from the audience. Barbara, played by Megan McGinnis, and Adam, played by Will Burton, were perfectly paired together as the deceased homeowners.  Their musical talent and choreographed rhythm together was wonderfully done. The use of the ensemble cast throughout the show was awesome.  With multiple costume changes, often times in wardrobe that we all recognized from the movie, the ensemble cast was pivotal in the production.

Stage sets were magical.  As the curtain dropped and a cast were continuing their performance in front of the curtain; full stage set changes were happening at lightening speed behind the scenes.  The audience was transported from the interior of the house, to the attic, to the underworld and back to the house with different furniture. The use of clever stage effects aided in the changes along the story line.  Don’t blink or you won’t see Burton’s (Adam) face taped up or Esler (Lydia) floating via wires.

The music was all original to the show except one song, a crowd favorite was, of course, “Day-O” (the Banana Boat Song). Performed twice, in different segments, in the production, the last version was greeted by the audience with steady clapping, and a few tears wiped away as people felt such joy in seeing a favorite scene performed live.

Beetlejuice will be in the Twin Cities for a short visit, so hurry and get your tickets!  The show is a bit adult in the humor, so keep that in mind when considering bringing your young friends.

Beetlejuice is at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis through September 24, 2023. Tickets start at $99.

Review by Rachel Gorman; photo by Matthew Murphy