'Beetlejuice' Musical Sets Pre-Broadway Premiere

'Beetlejuice' (1988)

In Tim Burton's horror-comedy, Keaton played the titular character, a devious ghost who helps a recently deceased couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) as they try to scare the new residents out of the couple's old home.   

Directed by Alex Timbers, the stage adaptation of Tim Burton's cult comedy will begin performances in October at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre.

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!

Say it three times and the degenerate demon made famous by Michael Keaton in the 1988 Tim Burton paranormal comedy will reappear, this time as the skeevy song-and-dance protagonist of a new stage musical.

Produced by Mark Kaufman for Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Kevin McCormick for Langley Park Productions, Beetlejuice: The Musical will play a pre-Broadway world-premiere engagement at Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre, beginning performances in October. That venue recently hosted the out-of-town tryout of Tina Fey's Mean Girls musical, which is now in previews on Broadway.

Music and lyrics for Beetlejuice are by Australian composer-performer Eddie Perfect, who also is working on the upcoming stage musical King Kong, due on Broadway next season. Scott Brown and Anthony King co-wrote the book, based on the Burton film, with story by Michael McDowell and Larry Wilson.

Alex Timbers (Here Lies Love, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) will direct the production, with choreography by Connor Gallagher. The design team includes Broadway veterans David Korins (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Kenneth Posner (lighting) and Michael Curry (puppets), the latter fresh from his work on Disney's Frozen.

Casting and dates are to be announced for the show, which follows the story of morbidly obsessed goth teen Lydia Deetz and her discovery of the ghosts haunting the new house where she has moved with her embarrassingly pretentious parents. In addition to Keaton, the film starred Winona Ryder, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O'Hara.

Beetlejuice will be the second musical from Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures to premiere in D.C. this year. It follows Dave, based on the 1993 White House comedy that starred Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.

Drew Gehling (Waitress) will play the title role in the show, which debuts at Arena Stage July 13-Aug. 19, with music by Tom Kitt, lyrics by Nell Benjamin and a book by the late Thomas Meehan and Benjamin. Tina Landau, represented this season on Broadway with SpongeBob SquarePants, will direct.

Other projects in the pipeline from Warner's theater division include stage adaptations of A Star is Born, Dog Day Afternoon and 17 Again, while producers Ken Davenport and Kurt Deutsch this week announced development of Broadway Vacation, based on the National Lampoon screen franchise with Chevy Chase.