REVIEW: “Beetlejuice” is a Scary Good Time

By Ariel Mary Ann

The Queen City got the fright of their life last night with the opening night of Beetlejuice: The Musical. Featuring music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect with a book by Scott Brown and Anthony King. As the title suggests, Beetlejuice: The Musical is a stage adaption of the famous 1988 motion picture from Warner Bros. This Broadway in Cincinnati production runs through January 28 at the Aronoff Center.

The Story

For those unfamiliar with the plot, the story centers around a recently deceased couple, Barbara (Megan McGinnis) and Adam (Ryan Breslin) attempting to scare away the new residents moving into their former home. Unable to prove themselves scary, they hire an eccentric demon who goes by the name Beetlejuice (Matthew Michael Janisse) to rid themselves of the living. Problems arise when it becomes apparent that Beetlejuice has plans of his own. Chaos ensues. However, he meets his match in the form of Lydia (Isabella Esler), a gothic teenager with an ability to see and speak with the dead. 

Beetlejuice the musical
Beetlejuice the Musical. Pictured (L-R): Britney Coleman (Barbara), Will Burton (Adam), Isabella Esler (Lydia) and Justin Collette (Beetlejuice) Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Production of Beetlejuice the Musical

Musically, the songs are catchy and fun, exceedingly well done (especially by Esler) but the lyrics don’t feel memorable nor compelling. Where it fails in lyricism, it succeeds in entertainment and visual delights. David Korns’ scenic design alone is enough to hold the attention of someone looking to be entertained.

Every scene is filled with delightful and colorful excess whether it’s the giant sand worm or the iconic dinner scene which also serves as the end of the first act. The lighting can be intense at times (NOTE: if you’re sensitive to bright flashing lights, you may want to sit this one out).

Alex Timbers’ direction shines in this production. The whole cast works together very well and keeps audiences laughing from start to finish.

Beetlejuice Cast
Beetlejuice cast. Pictured: Justin Collette (Beetlejuice). Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Performances

I found the performances to be enjoyable and amusing. Particularly, understudy Janisse as Beetlejuice. Carrying a show from beginning to end isn’t an easy feat and he did it effortlessly. His line delivery is smooth, quick and on point the entire performance.

Esler carries her own as well playing Lydia. Many of Lydia songs involve a high amount of belting and she does a good job tackling and elevating Perfect’s score.

Bottom Line

If you’re a fan of the original movie, love to be entertained, or enjoy a good spectacle, Beetlejuice: The Musical is for you.

Tickets to Beetlejuice: the Musical

Beetlejuice: The Musical runs from January 16th – 28th. Get tickets here.  

Beetlejuice Poster