Tim Burton's cult classic Beetlejuice has found another afterlife - as a Broadway stage musical. A witty paranormal comedy about a ghost (Michael Keaton) hired by a recently deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) to scare away the humans occupying their home, Beetlejuice has maintained a special place in the heart of Burton fans since the film's release 30 years ago on March 30, 1988, leading to endless questions for Burton, Keaton and fellow star Winona Ryder over the years, concerning whether they would ever reunite for a sequel.
While Burton has since collaborated with Keaton on two Batman films and the upcoming Dumbo, and reunited with Ryder on the stop-motion version of Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice 2 - despite the likes of Seth Grahame-Smith and most recently, Mike Vukadinovich, having worked on a script - has yet to actually materialize. When asked about the potential for the sequel for the past couple of years, Burton has said he'd be interested, but only given the right set of circumstances, while Keaton has appeared more doubtful, indicating, "perhaps that ship has sailed."
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While Beetlejuice 2 remains in limbo, fans' spirits may be lifted knowing that the character is returning in a different form. According to THR, Beetlejuice has been turned into a stage musical, and previews have been set for the show's pre-Broadway run at Washington, D.C.'s National Theater in October. THR says the music and lyrics for Beetlejuice: The Musical are being written by Eddie Perfect, while Scott Brown and Anthony King have co-written the book, which is based on the Burton film, with the story by Michael McDowell and Larry Wilson. Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) is set to direct.
While casting is yet to take place and the specific D.C. preview dates have not been announced, it will be interesting to see whether Timbers and company will go with a newcomer or a stage veteran for the title role. Either way, it will be a chore finding the right actor to bring the manic energy that Keaton brought to the film role, much less look like him, since the production surely needs to go that route. On top of that, whoever they cast will need the ability to sing, too, making the casting process all the more difficult.
While the announcement of previews for Beetlejuice: The Musical may not be exactly the sort of news headline that fans pining for a Beetlejuice sequel are looking for, they should be happy that the character is being given a new life, nonetheless. Besides, if the musical takes the Great White Way by storm, it will open up a whole new interest in the character, and that very demand could finally lead to the sequel that fans have been waiting three decades for.