‘Beetlejuice’ Will Lower Its Curtain One Last Time in January

After a brief rerun, the beloved show about death is among the number of Broadway shows that will close in early 2023



“Beetlejuice” will have had 679 performances when it closes on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on Jan 8, 2023.


It’s a packed house at the neon-lit Marquis Theatre on Halloween weekend. A handful of audience members have donned red gowns, green hair dye and various articles of clothing patterned in black-and-white stripes. The giant marquee sign on stage reads “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.” Unfortunately, saying the name once more will cease to summon the iconic demon after Jan. 8, 2023.

Despite humble beginnings with its 2018 premiere in Washington, D.C., “Beetlejuice” has grown to become a deeply loved fan-favorite among the musical theater community. 

The 1988 original Tim Burton film follows a young, married and recently deceased couple, the Maitlands, as they try to scare away the new inhabitants of their home, the Deetz. They implore the help of eccentric “bio-exorcist” ghost, Beetlejuice (spelled “Betelgeuse”), who can be summoned by saying his name three times. While the beloved film is fun and enjoyable in its own right, the musical (ironically) puts a much more lively and heartfelt spin on the story. 

Although it premiered less than five years ago, the show is no stranger to revivals. In 2019, the Shubert Organization booted it from the Winter Garden Theater in favor of “The Music Man” due to poor ticket sales. It seemed hopeless when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down a number of Broadway shows. However, similar to other shows such as  “Six,” “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Beetlejuice” gained immense popularity through social media. With TikTok reenactments, Youtube fan animations and a mural’s worth of fan art, “Beetlejuice” was revived in April 2022 to eager crowds. 

Unfortunately, the revival will not last. Alongside other shows, including “Phantom of the Opera,” “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Music Man,” it was announced in September that “Beetlejuice” would be closing its doors early next year. By its closing night on Jan. 8, “Beetlejuice” will have had 679 performances. 

The pandemic took a heavy toll on Broadway. And perhaps rising inflation and rising crime in New York City led to lower tourism, and thus, ticket sales. Regardless, it’s no surprise that “Beetlejuice” was part of the bunch.

“Beetlejuice” the musical makes many improvements to a well-loved classic. It’s no surprise that it has become so adored online.

Originally capitalized for $21 million, the show itself is an eye candy spectacle of props, effects, lighting and transforming sets. There’s even a giant animatronic snake. “Beetlejuice”’s topsy-turvy backgrounds burst with character. 

The most impressive set is the Maitlands’ home, which undergoes three alterations throughout the show. Between scenes, the crew switches out furniture, decor and wallpaper as the various owners make renovations. What was once a homey country setting turns into a fresh, modern household. Yet somehow, with each version, the whimsical, Tim Burton feeling never leaves. For quick on-stage transformations, lights are shined upon the sets and change the entire scene’s mood. This change helps portray Beetlejuice’s chaos-bringing powers. 

The musical’s departure from the film’s more macabre, albeit comedic, brooding setting isn’t the only thing that is different. The events and all the characters are altered in some shape or form — and not just with an added song or two. Writers Scott Brown, Anthony King and Eddie Perfect expand and give much more depth to the already loved cast. 

Instead of the Maitlands being the focus, the heart and soul of the musical is the Deetz’s teenage daughter, Lydia, currently played by Elizabeth Teeter. The show opens with her at the funeral of her mother, who isn’t even mentioned in the film, and she is properly introduced after the Maitlands die. Shades of Winona Ryder’s enduring, deadpan film character are still there. However, now, the audience is also given, as stated in both the film and musical, a “strange and unusual” but grieving young girl. 

Delia, Lydia’s stepmother in the movie, is originally an egocentric perfectionist who makes horrible avant-garde sculptures and constantly berates Lydia. In the musical, Delia also has terrible design taste but is now Lydia’s air-headed life coach. Their relationship is still strained, but it’s clear that she genuinely means well and cares for the Deetz family. 

Most notably, the crude and mischievous Beetlejuice, played by Alex Brightman, has a much more prominent role. Constantly manipulating the Deetzs and the Maitlands for his freedom, his antics and witty self-aware lines never failed to elicit laughter from the audience. However, rather than just being a mayhem-loving demon, his behavior stems from being neglected in his youth. This added element of his character not only makes him sympathetic but also allows for more comedic moments and fun dynamics with the rest of the cast. Brightman’s more unhinged take on the character, for which he was nominated for a Tony, makes it all the more enjoyable. 

“Beetlejuice” the musical makes many improvements to a well-loved classic. It’s no surprise that it has become so adored online. Fortunately for fans, the show will go on a yearlong North American tour starting this December, a month before its curtains close on Broadway.