"Beetlejuice The Musical" brought the movie magic to life on Broadway—here’s how they did it.
The Broadway musical, which opened on April 25, 2019, depicts a haunted house battle between the living and dead, based on Tim Burton’s 1988 film. During the show, lead actors Sophia Anne Caruso and Alex Brightman pull off stunts like levitating without wires and riding a mechanical sandworm to portray characters Lydia and Beetlejuice.
“Any trick we do, it’s real,” explained Caruso.
The stunts the actors pull aren’t done by traditional theatrical means, and they say they purposefully conceal them from inquirers to keep the magic of the show alive. Wires are traditionally used in other shows to make actors and scenery move and levitate, but the show uses different—and secret means– to make their cast float.
Director Alex Timbers led a team of production staff that had specialties in coordinating puppets, illusions, and physical movement. The team also layered elements like lighting and projections to portray iconic scenes from the movie.
“The challenge is how to get this sort of supernatural energy of Beetlejuice to possess, you know, what ultimately is physical, immovable scenery,” explained projection designer Peter Nigrini.
Tickets for the Tony-nominated Broadway show are available now.