Beetlejuice – Winter Garden Theatre – February 2020

7th Visit to the Netherworld!

I love getting to see understudies. I really do. It fascinates me to get to watch someone perform a role they don’t get to perform nightly and just kill it. (Like pinch hitters in baseball!) SO as much as I adore Alex Brightman’s Beetlejuice, I was excited when I learned (well in advance although after I bought the ticket) that I’d be seeing Will Blum’s Beetlejuice on February 15th.

I’m ridiculously fortunate to have seen Beetlejuice six times prior to this visit and each time I’ve seen Alex Brightman perform. (I’ve also only seen original cast members Sophia Anne Caruso and Adam Dannheisser perform and never their understudies.) As a matter of fact I was disappointed when I found out that the shows following the one I saw this weekend would have an understudy in for Caruso (who plays Lydia) because I think it would have been great to see both leads played by their understudies.

But getting to see Will Blum was good enough for this gal. Will’s adorable in general. (He has a great attitude on display over at Instagram and his own following of fans thrilled whenever he gets the call to play BJ.)

Will’s Beetlejuice is completely different from Alex’s . The voice, the mannerisms, all different. (Although he did sound like he was doing a spot on impression of Alex when he got to utter the classic “It’s showtime!” line.)  Alex’s BJ is straight-out creepy but Will’s is, and it feels weird writing this, kind of adorable. I spent a lot of time after the show wondering if I would have been as big a Beetlejuice fan as I am if I had only see Will’s performance. Which sounds like a criticism of Will but it isn’t. Will’s fantastic and stupidly talented. But his energy is so completely different from Alex’s and if I’m being honest it was Alex’s energy that drew me back to the show after the first time around.

This is the first show. since I was a kid and watched every performance of Peter Pan at the Metropolitan Center, that I’ve seen more than twice and it amazes me every time to see how absolutely perfect this cast nails it. Every. Single. Time. I know it’s their job and that this is exactly what Broadway performers train for and are paid to do but it doesn’t change the fact that actually SEEING it is a little mind blowing. That they can come up with the same energy every single night is such a testament to their talent and dedication.

I have three more visits to the Winter Garden planned before Beetlejuice gets booted for The Music Man and I’m holding out hope for the chance to see a few more understudies before the show leaves.

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