“Beetlejuice” is one of Broadway’s most expensive musicals, with a production cost of $21 million, according to The New York Times

With the impressive effects on stage, it’s easy to see why. 

About the show

Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, “Beetlejuice” is a flashy, raunchy, humorous musical that premiered on Broadway in 2018. The show is packed from start to finish with rapid-fire jokes, fourth wall breaks and a few heartfelt moments. 

“Beetlejuice” tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a teenage girl mourning the recent death of her mother. Lydia, her father and his new girlfriend move into a new home haunted by the deceased couple that used to live there, along with an unruly spirit that threatens them all. 

This show is by far the most fun I’ve had in a theater. Everything from the colorful lights to the set’s detail and the costume gave the show a fun and lively atmosphere despite its grim tone. 

Fair warning, though, this show isn’t kid-friendly. Parental warnings include explicit language, drug use and general adult content.

Choosing a favorite

Is it unfair to list the opening number as my favorite song?

Performed by the lead character Beetlejuice, “The Whole’ Being Dead’ Thing” is a great song to kick off the show. 

With lyrics directly addressing the audience and Beetlejuice acknowledging that he knows he’s in a play, this song tells the audience precisely what they’re in for. 

The music style in this number changes throughout the song, with some parts sounding carnivalesque, another part like rock, and another sounding like big band music. 

It sounds like a lot, but it works. Trust me. 

What surprised me

This show’s practical effects, like the costumes and props, were engaging and captured my attention. The lighting, smoke effects, and other onstage illusions had the audience “oohing” and “ahhing” throughout the show. 

“Beetlejuice” is one of those shows I would want to see a few times to catch things I may have missed, like movement or words in the background, during previous viewings. 

What I didn’t like

The show has raunchy humor, and some jokes take jabs at political parties. 

Though I’m okay with political humor, the show was written in 2018, making some political satire feel a bit dated.

Other jokes in the show stem from the characters’ personalities and situations so they feel more natural and timely, whereas the jokes about liberals and conservatives can lose their effect after a while. 

Drink of the night

“Beetlejuice” had a themed drink for viewers to sip on during the show. The “Pucker up, Pucker Up, Pucker up” tasted like a “melon lemonade” with a bit of tang. 

Final verdict

“Beetlejuice” is funny, engaging and packed to the brim with detailed costumes, eye-catching set design and some truly explosive onstage effects — there’s literal flame-use on stage.

The main cast, even the more minor characters, have interesting arcs from start to finish. I found myself engaged in each of them. 

Plus, the soundtrack is full of energetic tunes and a few emotional ballads from the lead role. 

Note: This show uses flashing lights throughout. 

If you go

Amanda was born and raised in Charlotte and graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s in Communications and English. She covers Mecklenburg County. Reach her at

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