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“Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice”: 5 Tim Burton Movies We’d Love To See On Broadway

Category Broadway

|by Marshall W. Mabry IV |


Burton’s films are too strange and unusual for Broadway to pass up

When considering contemporary artists whose work has deftly traversed the Broadway stage and Hollywood’s movie musicals, one particularly film director comes to mind. From Beetlejuice and Big Fish to his film adaptation of Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton is the man. With Beetlejuice nominated for a whopping 8 Tony Awards this season, we looked to Burton’s filmography for more stories that would lend themselves to the Broadway treatment.

The cast of ‘Beetlejuice’ on Broadway (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

The cast of ‘Beetlejuice’ on Broadway (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Edward Scissorhands
We will scream it from the mountaintops until it happens: Bring Edward Scissorhands to Broadway! This story would not only thrive on Broadway, but it’d be an absolute hit. Edward Scissorhands is the perfect mix of the Phantom from The Phantom of the Opera and Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, mirroring the best and softest parts of them. His story is beautiful, and meshes the high school musical theme to the Addams family dark comedy aesthetic. It would be the perfect mix of all the things that make Broadway beautiful and scary.

Corpse Bride
This Johnny Depp-led stop-motion film has become a cult classic. The 2005 movie is a Victorian retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Featuring an ensemble of ghostly characters, Corpse Bride is a grand story set in the backdrop of the underworld. Unlike most of Burton’s stories, Corpse Bride is only alive when its setting and background characters are alive. These “secondary” characters drive the world of Corpse Bride, and that’s why it works, which could make it the perfect fit for an ensemble-based show. The world building in this piece is like no other, and a stage version could be Big Fish meets Hadestown.

Nightmare Before Christmas
This is Halloween! Nightmare Before Christmas is the ultimate Tim Burton film. To this day, it stands the test of time as the best Danny Elfman/Burton project to date. Nightmare Before Christmas also has one thing every Broadway show needs, perhaps even more than a good protagonist: a fantastic antagonist. The Oogie Boogie Man is the best villain you could ask for, and “Oogie Boogie’s Song” is the ultimate villain number. He’s practically perfect, and actors like Aladdin’s James Monroe Iglehart or Major Attaway could easily bring him to life. On top of that, it features some of the most specific and hilarious characters in the Burton-verse, which would make your night(mare) at the theater one of a kind.

Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow is one of the most iconic bedtime tales of all time. Sleepy Hollow has always been a little unusual, but no one points it out till Ichabod arrives in town. Then rumors of the Headless horseman begin to go around, and heads begin to fly. The Headless Horseman would join Dracula, The Phantom, Mr. Hyde and King Kong as one of Broadway’s biggest monsters, and quite possibly the scariest.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
It’s time we bring the fun back to Broadway! In the golden age of musicals, we had shows like Li’l Abner and Guys and Dolls to bring a distinctively zany comic energy to Broadway that seems to be missing today. Lead by a star like Gavin Lee or Rob McClure, Peewee’s Big Adventure could be exactly the dose of fun required. Bringing the iconic peewee’s playhouse to Broadway would be iconic, and inject some whimsy into today’s Great White Way.

For more of the best of Broadway this awards season, check out our full list of the 2019 Tony Award nominees.

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