Does the “Beetlejuice” cast album live up to the hype?


Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Stephen Lovekin/REX/Shutterstock (10219047h) Sophia Anne Caruso and Alex Brightman ‘Beetlejuice’ Broadway play opening night, Curtain Call, New York, USA – 25 Apr 2019

Emily Yoon, Staff Writer

   “Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, beeeee-CAUSE!” Lydia Deetz shrieks delightfully in the lively stage adaptation of the 1988 campy horror-comedy of the same name. “Beetlejuice” quickly rose to fame as a fan favorite, grossing $1,589,839 in its first week at the Winter Garden Theatre. 

   However, not only are the cast album’s songs popular on stage, they are also being used to make short 15-second videos on the TikTok platform by musical aficionados and newcomers alike. Audiences that have previously shunned musicals now lip-sync along to the catchy tunes. 

   The “Beetlejuice” album does in fact live up to the social media hype. The songs range from wild and over-the-top ditties to angry ballads, and Broadway pros such as Kerry Butler (Barbara Maitland) and Alex Brightman (Betelgeuse) prove once more to be masters of emotion. 

   The star of the musical is no doubt 17-year-old Sophia Anne Caruso as Lydia. Her Billie Eilish-esque tone coupled with emotional belts adds to Lydia’s melancholy characterization. The musical also adds a new layer of character development to Lydia; after the death of her mother, her father spirals into a bout of depression, which leaves Lydia feeling neglected. The solo ballads “Prologue: Invisible,” “Dead Mom” and “Home” showcase both Lydia’s grieving process and Caruso’s expert vocals. 

   Songs from the movie (“Jump in the Line” and “Day-O”) are also featured and serve to tie up the musical with an irresistible striped ribbon. Several other humorous songs, such as “No Reason,” “Girl Scout” and “What I Know Now” make audiences (especially the ones on TikTok) laugh. Leslie Kritzer, playing both the airheaded Delia Deetz and the absurd Miss Argentina, champions these tracks with her expert comedic timing.

   From “Beetlejuice’s” performances aired on online platforms, the show’s aesthetic is clear. A motif of black-and-white stripes with green and purple accents is consistent throughout, setting an eerie mood. Not unlike to the set in the original movie, the majority of the action takes place in a homely-looking New England house, though the musical’s version looks decidedly more animated. Set pieces, namely gargantuan sand worms, add to the craziness.

   Unfortunately, this laugh-filled show is set to close in June, despite breaking multiple records for its popularity, to make room for the revival of “The Music Man” starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. Actors and audiences alike are infuriated, as the premature closing will leave many actors out of work. 

   Overall, the “Beetlejuice” cast album (and of course, the show itself!) is a crazily fun time for anyone over the age of 12. It will make you laugh, cry, scream, sing and “shake, shake, shake, señora!”