TheFourthWall

All things Arts. All things Brisbane.

This is Halloween

5 Musicals that are perfect for the spookiest holiday of the year!

As we hurtle head-first into Halloween, let’s explore everything ‘wicked’, as we delve into the world of scary musical theatre. You might need to win the Lotto to afford the airfare and tickets, but we promise it’ll be worth it!

Beetlejuice: The Musical

After Barbara and Adam Maitland are killed in a car crash, they find themselves trapped as ghosts in their beautiful New England farmhouse. Their eternal peace is disrupted when a yuppie family, the Deetzs, buy their house. After their efforts to scare the Deetzs away are unsuccessful, they eventually turn to another ghost ‘Beetlejuice’ for help.

With music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect, it doesn’t take much for us to get behind the Australian singer-songwriter’s latest venture: ‘Beetlejuice: The Musical’. 

Starring Alex Brightman, who shot to fame after originating the lead role Dewey Brightman in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s ‘School of Rock’, Beetlejuice: The Musical stays close to its film source material, including an homage to ‘Day-O’, and of course the infamous sandworms!

It seems as though Beetlejuice has found an audience on the Great White Way, where even after a year of performances at ‘The Winter Gardens Theatre’, it is still performing at 98% capacity!

So grab a plane ticket and be prepared “for a show about death“!

Bat Boy: The Musical

1992 was an interesting year for musical theatre. Jukebox musical ‘Crazy for You’ won the Tony for Best Musical, ‘Guys and Dolls’ was already onto its second revival, and the Weekly World News published a story about a half-boy, half-bat, dubbed “Bat Boy”, who grew up living in a cave.

Fast-foward 5 years and we experienced the world première of American rock musical ‘Bat Boy’, based on that same story. With music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde & Heathers) and a book by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming, it didn’t take long for ‘Bat Boy: The Musical’ to garner a cult status.

For lack of a better solution, the local sheriff brings a creature half human and half bat to the home of the town veterinarian, Dr. Parker, where he is eventually accepted as a member of the family and taught to act like a “normal” boy by the veterinary surgeon’s wife, Meredith, and teenage daughter, Shelley. Bat Boy is happy with his new life, but when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow-minded people of Hope Falls, they turn on him, prodded by the machinations of Dr. Parker, who secretly despises Bat Boy. 

Shelley and Bat Boy, who have fallen in love, run away together from the ignorant townsfolk and have a blissful coupling in the woods, but their happiness is shattered when Meredith arrives and reveals a secret. Soon the entire town arrives and hears the shocking story of Bat Boy’s unholy origin.

This bizarre, yet intriguing plot, is enhanced by the earworm melodies of O’Keefe, with songs such as ‘Christian Charity’ and ‘Hold Me Batbay’, this musical is the perfect choice for Halloween.

The Addams Family

Not all amazing Halloween musicals are critically acclaimed. With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, ‘The Addams Family’ was largely panned by New York based critics, with one describing it as “a tepid goulash of vaudeville song-and-dance routines”.

However, audiences across the world haven’t agreed and ‘The Addams Family’ has become one of the most produced musicals for community and high school theatres since its premiere in 2009.

After extensive re-writes between the Broadway season and subsequent tours, the plot varies wildly between shows. However all you really need to know is that when teenage daughter Wednesday becomes happy in love, the rest of the family do their utmost to bring her back to the dark side.

It may be flawed, but with a commercial pop score and characters from everyone’s childhood, ‘The Addams Family’ is the perfect Halloween treat! 

Hadestown

‘Hadestown’ follows two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone.

Yes, it’s a love story and yes we’re sure it belongs on our Halloween list.

What we failed to mention was the musical then follows protagonist Orpheus on a hell-raising journey to the underworld to bring back his wife Eurydice in a Great Depression-era inspired post-apocalyptic setting.

Spookier?

With its genesis as far back as 2006, Hadestown is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell, the musical has been praised for its casting and electrifying performances, the Daily News describing it as having “a ferocity that has not been matched on Broadway in a long while.”

With 8 Tony Award wins under its toga, it’s not looking to leave Broadway any time soon, but its definitely worth a visit if you’re stateside.

SIX

This particular writer is British, growing up near Hampton Court Palace – the residence of the infamous King Henry VIII. Famous for murdering 2 of his wives, is there anything spookier than severed heads in buckets?

This musical may not be dark in its execution (pun most definitely intended), but its subject matter is pretty heavy.

In a very 21st century take on modern musical theatre, SIX, the musical is a modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII. Presented as a pop concert, the wives take turns singing and telling their story to see who suffered the most due to Henry and should therefore become the group’s lead singer.

It may not be coming to Brisbane when it hits Australian shores in 2020, but its reach has taken it from its humble Edinburgh fringe beginnings, SIX is becoming intercontinental with productions set for NYC, Sydney, Norweigan Cruise Liners and Chicago.

With October rapidly drawing to a close, we’re already getting into the Halloween spirit here at TheFourthWall, and these are just some of our spooky musical favourites. Don’t even get us started on the plays! 

So now that we’ve shown you ours, show us yours. What are some of your favourite musicals or plays that make your spine tingle? Better yet, what stories haven’t gotten the Broadway treatment yet, but you think totally should? Let us know! 

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