Beetlejuice started out as a classic film that fans watch every Halloween. And now, Beetlejuice is has turned into a Tony nominated Broadway musical! The show is currently playing on Broadway and is about to begin a national tour next year. And, the original cast album of Beetlejuice is now available on a 2 LP vinyl set with a special color disc LP set sold exclusively at Urban Outfitters. YEM spoke with Beetlejuice lyricist and composer Eddie Perfect, who talked about bringing the iconic story to the Broadway stage.
Young Entertainment Mag: You are the composer/lyricist of the hit Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical Beetlejuice. What was it like to create a full musical based on such an iconic movie?
Eddie Perfect: At first it was intimidating. I loved the film, and I knew that the idea of turning into a musical would have a lot of other fans scratching their heads. It was important to find a way to have the Beetlejuice character sing without it sounding too “music theatre.” Myself, the book writers (Anthony King and Scott Brown), the creative team and the producers all approached the adaptation with a great deal of respect, love and admiration for the original film.
YEM: How familiar were you with Beetlejuice before composing the music?
Eddie: The film made a huge impact on me when I was kid. I was eleven years old when it was released in theaters. But I wasn’t allowed to watch it until a couple of years later.
YEM: Did you watch the movie a lot when composing the music?
Eddie: Not really. I went back a re-watched the film while I was writing my pitch songs. But by that point Anthony and Scott already had a fairly polished draft of the musical. They’d taken the stage adaptation in a slightly different direction. And so I watched the film once, put it to bed, and got working on the musical.
YEM: What would you consider to be more challenging: writing original music, or writing music based on an entity that already exists, such as a movie?
Eddie: There are challenges with each. I suppose the appeal of adapting a film is that there is a very strong sense that both the creators and the audience understand the world and know the characters. But the limitations are the fact that there is a duty to uphold certain aspects of the original work. With an entirely new musical you have the benefit of not being fenced in by any preconceptions of story, character, tone or design. But the difficulties lie in creating fleshed out characters and a world that a completely fresh audience will be able to lose themselves in. Writing musicals is extremely difficult- at least in terms of making them successful- and there’s no easy way out.
YEM: You’re also an actor! Will you ever join the cast of Beetlejuice on Broadway?
Eddie: Yes! Can you please tell the casting director that I am standing by for an audition time?
YEM: The Beetlejuice cast album is now available on a 2 LP vinyl set. What is it like to see the music you’ve created continue to grow and be shared with an even wider audience?
Eddie: It’s remarkable! I’ve been writing away in Australia and whilst I’ve had some success and managed to build a career, my writing has never had the attention that Beetlejuice has gotten. Perhaps it’s because Australia has 24 million people and the USA has 345 million people. Or perhaps it’s just the right idea at the right time that folks have really connected with. I don’t know, but I’m certainly grateful for it.
YEM: Finally, do you have a personal favorite song on the cast album?
Eddie: I know you’re not supposed to have favorites. But I do have a soft spot for “The Whole ‘Being Dead’ Thing” as it’s the song I pitched to get the job. It was also a difficult and risky song to write. But it literally got me a ticket out of Australia and into New York, so I owe that song a lot.
The Beetlejuice cast album is available from Ghostlight Records. For more, visit ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/