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  • Writer's pictureArts Angle Vantage Journalist

‘Beetlejuice’ Delivers a Spooky Spectacle That’s Hilarious and Heartfelt

By Amelia Dykes | Arts Angle Vantage Reporter

Our Lady of Providence High School, Class of 2026


Before the musical “Beetlejuice” even started, patrons could get a sense of the show when they walked into the Kentucky Center for the Arts, where it ran from May 14 through 19. There was dark music and bright lights with a retro sign reading “Betelgeuse,” another name for the superstar ghost. Soon after, the curtain rose to “Beetlejuice” with its slick jokes that make you giggle till your lungs would ache.


Based on Tim Burton’s 1988 movie “Beetlejuice,” this musical version premiered on Broadway in 2019. Although the musical contained some crass language, it gave those one-liners more zing and humor.

Isabella Esler (Lydia) and Justin Collette (Beetlejuice) in the touring production of “Beetlejuice.” Photo by Matthew Murphy. Courtesy PNC Broadway in Louisville.

Beetlejuice, played by Justin Collette, stood out, carrying much of the comedy from the opening number, "The Whole 'Being Dead' Thing." He frequently broke the fourth wall, making you feel like you were being pulled into the show. He spoke to individuals as well as the whole audience with lines like “powerless, like a gay Republican,” and, “All I want is for someone, anyone to look my way and say, ‘Hey. I see you. I accept you. And I fear for my safety around you.’” Collette executes everything perfectly and brings “the whole being dead thing” to life.


Other characters also had funny lines. One of the funniest from Delia (Sarah Litzsinger) was, “Sadness is like a third nipple, it’s a part of you but no one wants to see it.”   


The wild and crazy mischief extended to the puppets in one of the best shows I have seen on stage. For example, Beetlejuice turns a book into a homemade puppet, and it becomes a high point of a joke.


Other magic followed as “Beetlejuice” had many impressive sets, lighting details, and right-on-cue sound effects. Under the direction of Alex Timbers with choreography by Connor Gallagher, it all added up to expertly directed chaos. The choreography paired with the lighting created a crazy vibe that boosted the pandemonium.

Sarah Litzsinger (Delia) and Jesse Sharp (Charles) in the touring production of "Beetlejuice." Photo by Matthew Murphy. Courtesy PNC Broadway in Louisville.

Kenneth Posner’s lighting design and David Korins’s scenic design all worked in harmony with this directed chaos. During the famous dinner party scene, their skills took center stage in the number “That Beautiful Sound.”


“Beetlejuice” also showcased clever and beautifully written songs. At the show's beginning, Lydia (Isabella Esler) and Beetlejuice have two very different types of songs. Beetlejuice sings in a more ska and rock style. Lydia goes for ballads and more emo-leaning songs. I was impressed with Esler’s performance because she is fairly new to her career and fresh out of high school. And overall, the vocals from everyone were clean and clear.


Just because the show was full of booming laughter and sometimes bawdy doesn’t mean the ending couldn't be wholesome. “Beetlejuice” presented a notable ending with an equal amount of wholesomeness and humor. That ending was the perfect goodbye for such an icon.

Amelia Dykes (she/her), a rising junior at Our Lady of Providence High School, is on the girls soccer team and manages the track team. She also is a singer at Bella Voce and participates in Providence’s theater arts program. She wants to share the magic of live theater with as many people as possible.


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