• Jenn Kalchik

Favorite Spooky Musicals

I'm still waiting for the day when I can see a live theatrical performance. Fall is normally my favorite season because that's when most theatres start their new seasons. Most people think of musicals as being funny or lighthearted, but that's not always the case. There are some truly spooky musicals out there, and I can't wait to share some of my favorite spooky musicals with you.

The Addams Family

Photo Credit: Christy Sturm Photography

This musical holds a special place in my heart; not only is it where I got my start with community theatre in Illinois but also where I met my boyfriend, Dave. I was working backstage during the show and he was playing drums in the orchestra pit. Anyway, back to the musical. It's based on The Addams Family household that we know and love. They're still creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky (see what I did there?). The plot of the musical follows Wednesday Addams as she introduces her boyfriend, Lucas, and his family to her family, and chaos ensues. While it didn't see as much success on Broadway, the show did very well as a National Tour and as local productions. Unfortunately, Cousin It is not in the musical, but otherwise, it's a solid show.

Beetlejuice: The Musical

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy for Beetlejuice on Broadway

Beetlejuice was my favorite Tim Burton movie growing up. Naturally, I was excited and curious to see how it would be adapted for the stage. This interpretation of Beetlejuice is a combination of the movie version of Beetlejuice and the television series version of Beetlejuice. Production-wise, it was up for several Tony Awards in 2019 for the technical elements like set and costume designed, which I personally believed they should have won. This production did a great job with keeping the aesthetic of Tim Burton but adapting it to fit onstage (we even get the giant sandworm).

Carrie: The Musical

Photo Credit: Christina Marie Photography

Yes, Carrie by Stephen King was turned into a musical. It was recently featured on an episode of Riverdale, but the musical version has been around for longer than you think. It first opened on Broadway in 1988 but had numerous technical and script issues. It eventually closed after only five performances. In 2012, the show was heavily revised and opened off-Broadway, with a bit more success. It still keeps the same plot as the book but replaced most of the original songs and reset the musical to the present-day. It's not a perfect musical, but there are some songs I absolutely love. "You Shine" is one of my favorite musical theatre songs. I will warn, the pig blood drop scene is not easy to recreate from the movie/book, so theatres will get creative with how to do this scene and it may not be exactly like what you remember in the movie/book.

Little Shop of Horrors

Photo Credit: Circle Theatre Grand Rapids

Little Shop of Horrors will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first musical I saw where I thought "I want to do this. I want to be on stage or be involved somehow." It's also my boyfriend's favorite show to play. Little Shop of Horrors plays on the absurdity of '50s horror movies but still keeps it creepy for a modern audience. If this musical has taught me anything, it's that you shouldn't feed the plant.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber on Fleet Street

Photo Credit: Dave Kagan with Sensitography

My first introduction to Sweeney Todd was actually the movie version. I'm a big *fan of Harry Potter, and when the movie premiered I wanted to see it for the actors that also starred in the Harry Potter movies: Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Timothy Spall. I also enjoyed Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, so I loved watching the movie adaptation. I saw a theatrical production a few years afterward, and this version of the show actually shows Toby, the little boy, in an insane asylum with the other patients helping him recreate the story of Sweeney Todd. Whether you see the production with the full bells and whistles or a minimalist production like I did, you are sure to enjoy this show.

*I do not support the transphobic statements made by the author of the Harry Potter series.

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