The ghost-with-the-most is making his Broadway debut! Tim Burton’s cult classic Beetlejuice is coming back to life in a hilarious new musical that just started previews at the Winter Garden Theatre.
We sat down with Rob McClure, who plays Adam Maitland, one of the ghosts haunting Lydia Deetz’s home to find out more about the show.
Broadway Inbound: Beetlejuice the movie is such an iconic film, but there are people out there who are not familiar with it. Will they still be able to enjoy the show?
Rob McClure: One hundred percent. If anything, the show is inspired by the movie, but it’s definitely different. It takes the rough outline of the movie and expands it. I think it’s actually a fuller experience than the movie—it’s certainly more immersive.
BI: We’ve seen a few pictures of the set, and so far it looks incredible! Can you give us a sneak peek at the visual goodies that are in store for audiences?
RM: Dave Korins, our incredible set designer and Alex Timbers [our director], didn’t want to shy away from that amazing Tim Burton aesthetic from the film, but they’ve gone way beyond it. They actually went back to Tim Burton’s college sketch books and a lot of the sets are designed based on those sketches. We take the visual world of the movie and run with it. If you can imagine the warped proportions and perspective, and then imagine standing inside of it, that’s my job eight shows a week. It’s a really cool job.
BI: How did you know that the role of Adam was right for you? Are you pulling inspiration from the movie, or are you allowed a little creativity with the character as you play him?
RM: I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of Beetlejuice. I actually have home movies of me doing the ‘Day-O’ dance around my kitchen table as a kid; I was obsessed with Beetlejuice. I wanted to be a part of that legacy—I didn’t want to pass it up. When I sat down with Alex Timbers to see if it was a good fit, he said, “I became fascinated with the idea of a demon wanting to be alive meeting a teenager wanting to be dead, and what happens when those forces collide.” And I thought to myself, “my god this is the person who should be in charge of this.”
BI: Is there a song from the show that you think is going to having audience members singing it long after they’ve left the theatre?
RM: Oh gosh there are so many. What’s nice is the audience can expect the Harry Belafonte that has been stuck in my head since I saw the movie when I was a kid. But the character Lydia has some incredible songs in this and those are the ones I have stuck in my head at the end of the night.
BI: You’ve just started previews, what has the process been like getting ready to hit the stage and getting the show in front of an audience?
RM: The audience is really the last character in the play, when you think of the audience response and laughs, they really become lines in the show. That’s the great thing about theater; you are very much a part of the show and we are very excited to get it in front of people. I have never been in a show with so many surprises, so I’m super stoked.
BI: We know this show has a father/daughter relationship. How do you think younger audience members will react to the familial themes of the show?
RM: I think a lot of people relate to the character of Lydia from the movie’s goth sensibility, but we really dive into where that stems from. I think there’s a universal theme of trying to find a home—and a lack of feeling like you have a home leads you to a darker place. It’s ironic that interacting with this demon and this recently deceased couple bring her to this place of joy. The musical really gets at what brings her from being this dark, lonely girl to being able to dance in her home with her new family.
BI: With so many shows out on Broadway, why is Beetlejuice the show for people to see? What can people expect to see here that they’re not going to see anywhere else on Broadway?
RM: Name a movie that’s like Beetlejuice. You can’t. It’s the same with the show. A Broadway musical that’s like Beetlejuice? You’re not going to find it. It’s such a singular entity; the aesthetic, the world, the set. And it’s irreverent in a way that’s really refreshing right now. Beetlejuice isn’t a rule follower, and he’s not going to follow any of the rules of Broadway convention and that will ensure it’s going to be a unique evening. It’s wild.
BI: When you’re not busy with the show, what do you like to do around town? Any favorite restaurants, shops, destinations? We have many visitors to NYC who are always looking for recommendations!
RM: I’m a huge fan of Empanada Mama for a quick anything—breakfast, lunch or dinner. Then there is an Italian place called Patsy’s. If you’re looking for a sit-down Italian meal—I come from an Italian family—that’s my go to spot. And it’s about to be spring in New York; going for a walk in Central Park and ending at the Winter Garden Theatre, sounds like the perfect day.
A huge thank you to Rob for making the time to talk to us about this soon-to-be-hit. You won’t want to miss this hilarious and remarkably touching show! Click on the show page link below to book your tickets to Beetlejuice now!