Beetlejuice: 10 other Burton works that would be great on stage


When “Beetlejuice” hits Broadway, and “Big Fish” and “Edward Scissorhands” have already received dramatic adaptations, it’s enough to wonder how many more Tim Burton productions can come off the screen on stage. The prolific directorial gift for the strange and unusual has certainly succumbed to stage interpretations more than once, so it’s logical to think about what might happen next.

While many of his best films may require serious creative techniques to bring them to life in the cinema, many of them are certainly in the realm of possibilities. If Beetlejuice and his giant sandworm can perform in front of a live audience, then so can the likes of Jack Skellington and Emily the Corpse Bride.

Ed Wood (1994)

Tim Burton’s biopic about Ed Wood, the man behind Plan 9 from outer space, may not be liked by everyone, but it’s probably the easiest to adapt. Given that all the events of the film are based on the truth, a practical production by Ed Wood is quite possible.

While the stage version might have been the most realistic, the musical version of the 1994 film would have been more suited to both Ed Wood and Tim Burton. A musical number about coffins performed by Bela Lugosi would certainly be what the director would create.

Big Eyes (2014)

On the other hand, Burton’s biographical skills can be softened to paint a more realistic picture, but at the same time maintain his certain eccentric style. The stage version of “Big Eyes” should have used its strangeness sparingly, but it could have turned out to be an exciting drama if it had fallen into the right hands.

The film is inspired by the work of the artist Margaret Keen and one of the loudest scandals in the art world, and it would be possible to transfer it to Broadway, but for this it is necessary to make the right creative choice. He can’t be so over-the-top as to forget the story he’s trying to tell, but he can’t be so realistic as to lose that specific Burton flavor.

Planet of the Apes (2001)

While this may seem ludicrous thanks to the Simpsons’ concept of the Planet of the Apes play (although Dr. Zaius’ musical number is out of the question), the stage version of Burton’s interpretation may be perverse enough to work. With the right approach, a darker and alien version of the science fiction classics is possible.

Sometimes the theater must force the audience to hold a mirror in front of them, as, for example, in the works of Bertold Brecht and Arthur Miller. Although it may seem strange when it comes to such a property, keep in mind that the original “Planet of the Apes” was considered a social allegory with anti-racist overtones. There is no reason why Burton’s version cannot be viewed in the same light.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Of all Tim Burton’s productions worthy of a full-fledged musical, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure will be one of the most obvious adaptations. To be fair, it will be more of a Paul Rubens production than something similar to Burton’s work, but the design and protocol would have to go back to his original film.

Pee-Wee’s journey to retrieve his stolen bike during a cross-country trip would be absolutely explosive as a high-budget musical. If the team from the new musical “Beetlejuice” can bring their gift of special effects into the mix, they may even receive several major awards.

Frankenweenie (2012)

Things are starting to get complicated in Frankenweenie. On the one hand, if the producers take the original short film as a basis, there is freedom to experiment, trying new, avant-garde things that Burton himself could try. If they use a real 2012 movie, they get the benefit of the Disney moniker. In any case, it will certainly be an interesting work.

The show will be a production in which the use of puppetry will definitely benefit, as in such plays as “War Horse” or “Grinning Man”, especially for the undead terrier Sparky. At the same time, something that draws inspiration from the frame-by-frame characters of the film will not be undesirable.

Vincent (1982)

One of Burton’s most notable short films, Vincent could well be a surprisingly strange, albeit short, production for something like a black box theater. It will either be a gothic musical journey into Vincent Malloy’s horror-obsessed mind, similar to Nevermore, or a completely maddening demonstration of masks and distorted images from someone like Julie Taymor. In any case, there is potential.

Like Edward Scissorhands, Vincent was a kind of biographical project for Burton, namely with his fixation and fandom for the legendary Vincent Price. It would be interesting to see how elements of Burton’s style and even artwork make their way to the stage interpretation of the character.