Though my every Friday night run of shows ended a while ago, I still find every excuse I can to get to the theater. Saturday afternoon I attended a matinee of Beetlejuice: The Musical as part of a belated birthday outing from my mom.
Overall, Beetlejuice is fun. I didn’t realize going in just how popular the movie actually was amongst its fans. I like it, I used to watch it a lot when I was younger, but I learned very quickly that I am definitely not as big of a mega fan of it as some of the people in the audience. Not sure I’ve seen that many people wearing stripes outside of a mime convention (not that I’ve ever been to a mime convention, but I can assume there’s a lot of stripes). The show, though it departs quite a bit from the movie, seemed to hit all the things the fans wanted. They cheered when their favorite characters appeared on the stage, such as Miss. Argentina or the shrunken head man, even though they had a slightly different context than the original.
The overall premise is more or less the same. Adam and Barbara Maitland are suburban home owners who meet an untimely death. They end up haunting their own home when the Dietz family moves in and begins making drastic changes to their old house. However, in a departure from the original, Beetlejuice is around the whole time and actively conspiring with them to haunt the Dietzes from the very beginning. Lydia Dietz is mourning the loss of her mother more so than in the movie (to the point that once she finds out that ghosts exist, she wants to bring her back). She meets and befriends the Maitlands, and she is the one who eventually brings Beetlejuice and his havoc to the party.
There were some details where I didn’t understand the change. For example, Delia is not married to Charles Dietz, she is Lydia’s life coach. This was a strange departure from the original material and I didn’t really see why it was necessary. Lydia in the musical dealt more with the death of her mother than she does in the movie, and a lot of the plot revolves around her trying to find her ghost (once she learns that ghosts are real). So it made sense to have Delia as an opposing mother-like figure to that, but she really could’ve just still been her stepmother. It would’ve worked the same way. Perhaps they needed to change it up to give the actress a chance to make the character her own. The part was played by Catherine O’Hara in the movie, and that can be a tough act to follow.
In an interesting change from what I’m used to, the Playbill didn’t list the songs. Perhaps this is because we saw the show in previews? Neither my mom nor I have ever had this experience before, despite our extensive catalog of shows, so we didn’t know. If it was an error in the Playbill, it carried over to all of them. Regardless, the songs were not bad. I didn’t walk away singing any of them after the show but I can’t think of anything that was particular cringe-worthy or anything. A lot of lyrics were very funny, and poked fun at various current trends (veganism, Trader Joes, etc.) and pop culture. I’m not sure how well the show will carry over if they ever want to revive it, but I’m certain they can rewrite some of jokes if they come irrelevant.
Costumes were cool. There were a lot of different personalities, as well as a lot of Netherworld characters, for designer William Ivey Long to cover. Believe it or not, my favorite costumes came out during the curtain call, when they had the ensemble cast dressed in all black and white with varying stripes or checks. It all looked very retro and I loved it, and the fact that this costumes existed just for the curtain call. This is something I would do!
All the other characters all had their own unique look. The title character had his trademark striped suit. Lydia was always in all black. Adam and Barbara were made to look as suburban as possible. Delia was over the top at all times, with all of her costumes taking on the signature stripes as well. Her final costume, a mermaid-style gown with a harlequin kind of pattern on it, was particular glamorous. I tried in vain to find pictures of some of the costumes but as we saw the show while it was still in previews, there were none to be found.
Because we saw a matinee, we had dinner after the show. I wanted to go back to Maison Pickle, which I went to – and loved – for the first time back in October. It’s all the way on 84th Street and Broadway, so not exactly in my neck of the woods (or at all), but I am willing to make the trek up there just for this restaurant.
It was, once again, completely worth it. Maison Pickle specializes in French dips and cocktails, but everything I have tasted on their menu has been spectacular. Both times I went I got the same entree: the classic French dip sandwich, which comes with an au jus, horseradish aioli and pickles. It’s amazing (and was consumed so quickly there was no time to take a picture of it).
For appetizers we tried the garlic bread and the deviled eggs. The restaurant makes their own bread in house, so any dish that has bread involved is extra delightful because of that. The garlic bread was awesome (I took some of it home to have with eggs the next morning which I highly recommend doing), and the deviled eggs were good too. I wouldn’t say they were the greatest deviled eggs ever, but definitely worth trying.
Dessert is no joke at Maison Pickle. They don’t even ask if you would like dessert. They ask if you would like to “share a dessert” since all of their offering are so big. I would venture to guess that their 24-layer chocolate cake is probably one of the most popular desserts, but since I had tried that one the last time I was there, we decided to try the 24-layer vanilla cake this time. Again, totally and completely worth it (though not quite as good as the chocolate one!).
Beetlejuice is currently in previews at the Winter Garden Theater. Tickets can be purchased here. Maison Pickle is located on the Upper West Side at 84th Street and Broadway. You can check out their website here.