We have our first look at the new Beetlejuice. Tony nominee Alex Brightman is stepping in to fill the very big shoes left behind by Michael Keaton in Tim Burton’s 1988 classic for the upcoming stage adaptation, Beetlejuice: The Musical. Now, a first look photo of Brightman in costume as the beloved undead ghoul has been revealed, and it’s quite a bit different than what fans are used to.
While this new take on the character still sports black and white stripes, a pale face and wacky hair, this is a “younger and punkier” take on Beetlejuice, as director Alex Timbers put it. The look comes as the result of several different costume and makeup tests. They tried looks that more closely mirrored what Michael Keaton looked like in the movie, as well as takes in the totally opposite direction. This is what they landed on. Timbers had this to say about Alex Brightman’s take on the character, which is celebrating his 30th Anniversary this year.
“One of the things I love about Alex is, not only is he a great theater performer, but he’s also a writer, so he brings a sensibility that can stand outside the performance. [His Beetlejuice] is definitely not a Michael Keaton impression. It’s his own. It’s filtered through the sensibility of Alex Brightman.”
While Beetlejuice: The Musical will mirror Tim Burton’s movie, it has been changed to suit the stage. Burton’s original artwork and sketches were used as an inspiration for the stage adaptation though. For one, the relationship between Lydia (originally played by Winona Ryder) and Beetlejuice had been placed front and center. Director Alex Timbers also says that there will be some fun Easter eggs for fans of the movie to look for. As for Beetlejuice himself, expect a lot of fourth wall breaking and for him to directly address the audience.
“He’s one of those characters in that film that you can imagine breaking the fourth wall, and I think in theater, you want these characters that vibrate with life and can kick over the footlights and land in your lap. That’s Beetlejuice. He can directly address the audience. He can be an unreliable narrator. He can be a Loki figure, you know? He can be a god of chaos, and that’s really exciting.”
This will have to do and until the studio can finally get Beetlejuice 2 going, which has been in the works for more than two decades now. Last we heard, Mike Vukadinovich had been hired to rewrite the script yet again. As for Beetlejuice: The Musical, it’s in previews currently at the Washington National Theatre ahead of its official opening on November 4. The production then moves to Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre in March 2019, where it will officially open on April 25. Be sure to check out the first look at Alex Brightman as Beetlejuice, which was debuted by People, for yourself below.