All the songs in 'Beetlejuice' on Broadway
Learn about how Tim Burton's spooky cult classic film plays out as a hit Broadway musical.
What's that beautiful sound? It's the sound of the Beetlejuice musical returning to Broadway! The musical adaptation of Tim Burton's hit 1988 movie first came to life on Broadway in 2019, earning eight Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, but shuttered at the Winter Garden Theatre prematurely in 2020. But like the "ghost with the most" himself, the musical got resurrected at a new home: the Marriott Marquis Theatre. This iteration of Scott Brown and Anthony King's musical, with music and lyrics by Eddie Perfect, is otherwise nearly identical and keeps all the musical's hit songs intact, including the viral hit "Say My Name" and the Harry Belafonte classic "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)."
In the show, the titular Beetlejuice is a demon who's stuck haunting a suburban house whose inhabitants, the Maitland couple, have suddenly died. He convinces them to enlist his help in scaring off the house's new tenants, the Deetzes — and strikes up an unlikely friendship with the goth teenager Lydia Deetz — hoping to use them to come back to life himself. Beetlejuice on Broadway makes the story raunchier, wilder, and of course, more musical than ever.
But if you're wondering how a ghost story works as a musical, below is a guide to all the songs in Beetlejuice. We've got info about how each song fits into the story and the vibe you should expect — mild spoilers follow. Once you've brushed up on "the whole being dead thing," don't wait another day-o to grab Beetlejuice tickets!
If you're unfamiliar with Beetlejuice, you might think you're getting into a somber musical from the sound of "Prologue: Invisible." The show opens on the funeral of Emily Deetz, where her daughter Lydia mourns as she sings a ballad about how "you're invisible when you're sad." Soon enough, though, Beetlejuice himself arrives to set the show's tone straight. "Holy crap. A ballad already?" he asks incredulously, a wink to the audience. "And such a bold departure from the original source material!"
"The Whole "Being Dead" Thing"
Perhaps the Beetlejuice musical's most famous song, "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing" sees Beetlejuice make fun of all the things people do to live their best lives — pray, exercise, drink $50 wine —because everyone dies anyway. "That's the thing with life, no one makes it out alive," he sings, and while it sounds grim, the song is fun and full of humor, so much so that it gets three reprises. You might be familiar with it even if you haven't seen the show: Alex Brightman, as Beetlejuice, has performed "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing" on the Today Show, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Tony Awards, changing lyrics each time to fit the occasion. Now that the musical has opened its encore run at the Marriott Marquis Theatre, the song begins, "Hey folks, ain't it pretty? Look who's back in New York City!"
"Ready, Set, Not Yet"
Here we're introduced to Barbara and Adam Maitland, a buttoned-up middle-class couple with a quaint suburban house and lots of free time. They sing about pouring their energy into home repairs, restoration projects, and arts and crafts, all to justify not having children yet. They want one desperately, but their fear of being bad parents consumes them. Unfortunately, they don't get to restore their antique crib or have a child, much less solve world peace, because some worn-out floorboards spell their doom first.
"The Whole "Being Dead" Thing, Pt. 2"
"Hi! I'll be your guide! I'll be your G-U-I-D-E to..." the first reprise of "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing." Beetlejuice has just met the newly deceased Maitlands, and in this song, he's giving them some pointers about how to make the most of their ghostliness — namely, by haunting their house. A full-on squad of cheerleaders, football players, and marching band instrumentalists are on hand to introduce Beetlejuice as the ultimate Netherworld authority with pep. It seems counterintuitive, but singing about death with upbeat flair is the entire vibe of the show, as the first iteration of the song already demonstrated. Parts 1 and 2 of "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing" were originally one song where Beetlejuice introduces himself to the Maitlands, but Eddie Perfect eventually split them in two and expanded them both.
"The Whole "Being Dead" Thing, Pt. 3"
Less of a full-on song (it's not included on the cast recording) and more of an extension of Part 2, "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing, Pt. 3" sees the Maitlands decide to take haunting lessons from Beetlejuice. Skeptical at first, they quickly accept his help when he tells them about the Deetzes (Charles, Lydia, and Delia), the new family that has bought their house. Even though they're dead, they're not too keen on sharing their place, much less with a fancy urban family.
Lydia gets Beetlejuice's only songs that discuss death in the expected somber tone. "Dead Mom" is an anguished power ballad she sings to herself (but also her mom, wherever she may be) about the loneliness she feels without her mom around. In the "Dead Mom" song, she laments that her father now has a new lover and new job prospects, and he doesn't seem to care that a major part of their lives is gone and that Lydia is still grieving. "Daddy's moving forward, Daddy didn't lose a mom," she cries, hoping there's an afterlife and her mom is still out there somewhere where she can hear Lydia.
"Fright of Their Lives"/"Ready Set, Not Yet (reprise)"
After our interlude with Lydia, the haunting lessons finally commence in the house's attic with Beetlejuice and the Maitlands. There's plenty of comedy in Barbara and Adam's attempts to be scary, as they are decidedly non-scary people — they name "chefs who use too much sage when they make beurre noisette" as the thing that fills them with enough "rage" to try and scare people. This is one number you need to see on stage to get the full effect, as you won't see the Maitlands' "scary faces" and Beetlejuice's signature "jerky Japanese ghost-walk" on the cast album. What you do get, in "Ready Set, Not Yet (reprise)" right afterward, is Barbara deciding they'll figure out how to "haunt this b-tch" themselves when Beetlejuice decides they're hopeless.
This song belongs to Delia, the life coach Charles Deetz hired for a reluctant Lydia. (Delia's also his lover.) Here we sit in on one of her life-coaching sessions, where Delia urges Lydia to think of the universe as a "female best friend" and remember that everything happens for a reason. When Lydia challenges her positive worldview, though, the session quickly devolves as Delia drops some not-so-subtle clues as to why she clings to positivity. "One day you may wake up alone 'cause your husband and his boyfriend bought a boat, and then they sailed away to Rome...," she sings before quickly switching back to advice, though by now, Lydia doubts that she's the one who really needs the help.
"Invisible (reprise)"/"On the Roof"
No living person can see Beetlejuice — or so he thinks. The first part of this song is a seemingly earnest ballad in which the ghost laments his invisibility to the entire living world. In peak dramatic fashion, he sings from the rooftops — where he spots Lydia. She spots him, too, when he starts making offhand comments about her thinking she can't hear — and though he hasn't made the best first impression, Beetlejuice is suddenly overjoyed and declares Lydia his new best friend.
"Say My Name"
"Say My Name" has become another one of Beetlejuice's most popular songs since many TikTok creators have made it go viral, lip-syncing the duet and sometimes adding costumes. A continuation of the previous song, this is the moment where Beetlejuice tries to get Lydia to say his name three times to make him visible to other living people, the first step in bringing him back to life. She's not easily manipulated, though, and beats him at his own game, teasing him with lyrics like, "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Be...cause you're so smart, a stand-up bro, I'll think about your offer, let you know."
"Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)"
The original Beetlejuice movie isn't a musical, but this song was pulled straight from Tim Burton's flick. A traditional Jamaican folk song that was most famously recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1956, "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" gets adapted for a truly hilarious sequence in which the Maitlands possess Delia, Charles, and their dinner guests. Barbara and Adam make their house's new tenants sing the song in the middle of a serious conversation — and perform the dance moves to match, conga line and all. "Day-O" is the final song in the Beetlejuice first act.
The "Girl Scout" song opens Act Two of Beetlejuice. The titular character of this song appears only for this scene, when she knocks on the door of the Deetzes' house — now overtaken by Lydia and Beetlejuice — in the hopes of making a Girl Scout cookie sale. She also informs the audience of her heart condition, which makes her susceptible to literally be scared to death. The song begins with youthful excitement, but the Girl Scout quickly realizes she's knocked on the wrong house. Luckily, Beetlejuice and Lydia don't give her quite enough of a fright to stop her heart.
"That Beautiful Sound"
That beautiful sound isn't just the sound of this song. To Beetlejuice and Lydia, it's the sound of a scream. The Girl Scout isn't the only unsuspecting visitor the duo frightens: They also call for the pizza deliveryman and UPS guy only to scare them off, and they get a kick out of it every time. And how do they scare them, you might ask? Gory sleights of hand, jump scares, and an entire ensemble of Beetlejuices who perform a high-energy dance break that's scarily fun to watch on stage.
"That Beautiful Sound (reprise)"
Beetlejuice may be visible now, but that's not enough — he wants to be truly alive. As it turns out, the only way to make that happen is for him to marry a living person — and he resolves to do just that, concocting a plan to trick Lydia into doing so. This song is a shorter one and isn't featured on the cast album, so you'll have to see Beetlejuice on Broadway to hear it.
As the title suggests, we see a whole new Barbara (and Adam) in "Barbara 2.0." They may have said they'd step out of their comfort zones in "Ready Set, Not Yet (reprise)," but this song is where they truly change. They finally accept that their fear has held them back, keeping them attached to their house and the stuff there for way too long. Haunting their house and kicking the Deetzes out might not be the answer; moving on might be.
"The Whole "Being Dead" Thing, Pt. 4"
This is the final reprise of "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing," and perhaps the most grim. It's also Beetlejuice's final attempt to come back to life, this time with outright malicious deception. He tells Lydia reading a passage from the Handbook for the Recently Deceased will bring her mother back, but it actually starts exorcising Barbara. To stop that from happening, Beetlejuice forces Lydia to agree to marry him in return — though with a little bit of trickery of her own, Lydia escapes into the Netherworld.
"Good Old Fashioned Wedding"
Sounds wholesome, right? By this point in the Beetlejuice musical, it should be clear that's not the case. No, this song is where Beetlejuice, now angry that Lydia, the Deetzes, and the Maitlands have thwarted his multiple attempts to come back to life, just decides to kill them all. It seems a little extreme considering that they've all just ventured in the Netherworld voluntarily, but he knows they won't last long there as still-living souls.
"What I Know Now"
In the Netherworld, Lydia and the Maitlands are greeted by the tantalizing Miss Argentina (played by the same actress as Delia up until 2022). She sings "What I Know Now," a Latin-infused, upbeat yet earnest song about not taking life for granted and finding your own happiness. After all, "Life is short, but death is super long," she sings, backed by a motley chorus of souls with their own stories of how they died too soon.
The follow-up to "Dead Mom," "Home" is Lydia's 11 o'clock number, and it's perhaps even more tearjerking than her first two ballads. This one takes place in the very bowels of the Netherworld, where she desperately scrambles to find her mother. "Mom, I've got my heart in my hand, speak to me and I'll understand. One little word to know I'm not alone, and show me the way back home," she sings. It's not an easy search, but the song also contains a glimmer of hope when she finally connects with her dad in the bleakest and most unlikely of places.
"Creepy Old Guy"
This song is a sarcastic commentary on young girls being catcalled, sexualized, and used. It's Beetlejuice and Lydia's wedding song, where Lydia, the Maitlands, and the Deetzes all sing about how wonderful it is to see a young girl ending up with a "creepy old guy," as that's what girls secretly want. (In case it's unclear that the whole thing is satire, the characters say to the audience at one point, "I can’t believe some cultures think this kind of thing’s alright.") They all help Beetlejuice and Lydia prepare, but unbeknownst to the ghost, he's not in for the perfect wedding he's hoping for.
"Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)" / "Dead Mom (reprise)" / "Home"
Harry Belafonte's music makes one more appearance in the finale: his hit "Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora)." This time, Delia, Charles, Lydia, and the entire ensemble sing his song and perform island-inspired dance voluntarily. The song is mashed into a medley with joyful reprises of Lydia's previously heart-wrenching ballads now that she finally feels at home with her blended, dysfunctional, spooky chosen family.
Beetlejuice: The Demos The Demos The Demos
If you can't get enough of the music of Beetlejuice even after seeing the show, you're in luck, because there's plenty more out there. Eddie Perfect wrote many more songs than the ones that made it into the final Broadway cut, and in 2020, he released them as an album called Beetlejuice: The Demos The Demos The Demos.
A total of 24 songs written for Beetlejuice, Lydia, the Maitlands, and more are included, and Perfect sings them all. Besides the cut songs, written and nixed at different points between 2014 and 2019, he also includes demo versions of songs that eventually made it into the musical.
You can hear "The Whole "Being Dead" Thing" (before it was split into multiple parts), "Dead Mom," "Say My Name," "No Reason," "Fright of Their Lives," "Barbara 2.0," and "What I Know Now" before they underwent lyric changes and became the versions being performed on stage today. The album is available to stream online.