Encore! Concert Choir Sees Second Broadway Show

For the first time ever, the LHS concert choir got the opportunity to see two Broadway shows in one school year. After seeing the sensational Moulin Rouge! The Musical, the choir—and Chorus Teacher Barry Wyner—were eager for more. Coming off performing in the Winter Concert in December and the Jazz and Pop Concert in February, Wyner decided that the choir deserved a break and a reward. So, in early April, he announced a trip to see the hilarious hit musical Beetlejuice in May, which had just reopened on Broadway after the pandemic.

The atmosphere was crawling with excitement on the day of the trip. Like tradition, choir members met Wyner just outside of Penn Station around 5:00 pm. They then proceeded to walk through the city streets towards the Marquis Theater in Times Square and grab a bite to eat at the Playwright Celtic Pub. The show began a little after 7:00 pm; however, even before the curtain opened, the ambience of the theater set the perfect tone to be transported into a Tim Burton-esque  world; green and purple stage lights shone around the theater, eerie music filled the room, and a flickering sign with the word “Betelgeuse” adorned the curtain, which emitted green smoke behind it. Junior Lola Sokolskiy commented that the theater itself was “more modern, yet had a small, intimate environment.” Eventually, the whole theater went dark, upbeat music started to play, and the audience was whisked away to experience the frightening and funny story of Beetlejuice

The opening number of Beetlejuice says it all: “Welcome to a show about death!” Although morbid-sounding, the musical follows the life of Lydia Deetz—played by Elizabeth Teeter—a girl who lost her mother at a young age and is in deep grief. Lydia’s father, Charles Deetz—played by Adam Dannheisser—is trying to make a new life for himself and his daughter by buying a new house for him, Lydia, and his love interest, Delia—played by Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer—without knowing the house was previously occupied by a young couple who died there. The couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland—played by David Josefberg and Kerry Butler, respectively—reside in the house as invisible ghosts who can only be seen by Lydia. After discovering the couple and their backstory, Lydia ponders the possibility of having her mother come back to Earth as a ghost, too. Lydia’s life has become so miserable with moving to a new place and her father insisting that she move on from her grief that all she wants is her life to return back to normal.

Meanwhile, Beetlejuice—played by Tony Award-winning actor Alex Brightman—is an invisible demon who is trying to make himself be seen by humans again; hopeless after years of being unsuccessful, he finds Adam and Barbara after they die, knowing this could be his chance. Beetlejuice tries to train them to scare the Deetz family into saying Beetlejuice’s name three times so he can be set free, but to no avail; however, Lydia encounters Beetlejuice on the roof of her home at a moment of dire need. Once the two cross paths, they begin a competitive search to find their own happiness and freedom in the craziest, most frightening ways. After seeing the performance, sophomore Zachary Buxton remarked that Beetlejuice, his favorite character in the show, was hilarious: “He set the tone of the show from his first onstage appearance and carried that to the end.” 

Throughout the play, the audience was practically dying with laughter. Brightman’s charismatic nature made the show feel like both a musical and a stand-up comedy show at the same time. All characters successfully connected with the audience on a comedic and emotional level; indeed, the pain of grief is a pain all humans go through, and the unknown of death and what comes after it is something that plagues all human minds at one point or another.  

Choir members had nothing but positive things to say about the show. Junior Grace Benedict expressed,  “It was so nice to see Beetlejuice, especially after taking an AP test. It was a great way to decompress after that.” Additionally, this musical is one that is versatile and can be enjoyed by almost anyone. “Even people who don’t typically like theater will love the show,” Buxton commented. Indeed, Beetlejuice has proven to be a show to remember for the LHS concert choir.