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Type: Amphitheater show
Time: 20 minutes
Our Take: Best for teens and pre-teens
Beetlejuice began his career as the eponymous obnoxious “bio-excorcist” (played by Michael Keaton) of Tim Burton’s breakout film. After his stint as a streetside performer on USF’s New York set proved popular, he was “discovered” by Universal Studios and given his own amphitheater show. The addition of a set, pyrotechnics, and what sounds like several million dollars worth of sound equipment hasn’t changed the show’s basic appeal, just made it louder.
The set is a jumble of crumbling castle walls, complete with a mummy’s sarcophagus and a more modern coffin. The “plot” is nonexistent. Beetlejuice, your host with the most, emerges from the mummy’s tomb in a burst of fireworks that is literally blinding.
He immediately gets to the business at hand, summoning the Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the ever lovely Bride of Frankenstein from their ghostly lairs for your listening pleasure. It looks at first like it will be a real horror show — an Andrew Lloyd Webber opera! Fortunately, Beetlejuice steps in and before your very eyes — well, behind a wall of smoke actually — the cast changes into suitably hip attire. Then they begin, appropriately enough, to wail.
The premise is wafer thin and the classic Universal monsters theme goes completely out the window when, presumably to even out the gender distribution, two girls named Hip and Hop are added to the lineup. But what the show lacks in sophistication and coherence, it more than makes up for in energy and noise. The sound volume is guaranteed to wake the dead. The tender-eared and the old at heart should consider themselves suitably forewarned.
The choreography is straightforward, energetic, and more than a little suggestive. Anyone heretofore sheltered from modern pop concerts will find it a suitable introduction to the genre.
Tip: The latest incarnation of this show is a little less raunchy. Much will go over the heads of little ones, but parents should be advised of the innuendo nonetheless.
The best seats in the house. There are really no bad seats for this one. An interesting seating choice would be next to the pit in the center of the house, where the sound and light techies run the show. If your kid has dragged you to the show for the fifth time, you can amuse yourself watching these wizards ply their high-tech trade. Seating is pretty much first-come, first-served, although at peak periods attendants may direct you to a seat to speed the flow.
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