All the songs in ‘Back to the Future: The Musical’ on Broadway
The stage adaptation of the hit 1985 movie features the onscreen hits alongside more than 20 new tunes co-written by the film's composer, Alan Silvestri.
Everybody knows you need a great playlist when you take a road trip — even when where you're going, you don't need roads. Back to the Future: The Musical is the ultimate trek as Marty McFly time-travels in a rejiggered DeLorean. Happily, Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri, who composed the score for the 1985 big-screen source material, cooked up a terrific batch of songs to accompany this musical ride.
Marty almost stops his parents from falling in love when he zips from 1985 to 1955. Similarly, Silvestri and Ballard's original showtunes channel both eras. The duo also includes songs from the movie preserved for the stage.
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Is Back to the Future a jukebox musical?
Back to the Future is not a jukebox musical — it includes the major hits from the 1985 film, but a majority of the songs were written specifically for the stage show. Get to know more about all the songs in Back to the Future: The Musical at the Winter Garden Theatre in our roadmap below.
“It’s Only a Matter of Time”
Bright, brassy, and upbeat, the curtain-raiser sets the scene in mid-1980s Hill Valley, California. Ordinary high schooler Marty McFly has big dreams of making it in music. “It won’t be long before they see,” he belts, “I’ll be on MTV.”
“Got No Future”
Making dreams come true doesn’t come easily. When the irascible high school principal pulls the plug on Marty’s participation in a community celebration day, the rejected and dejected kid responds with a downbeat little ditty.
“Wherever We’re Going”
Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer helps him to bounce back – and to see what he’s got in his favor. “Wherever we’re going, it’s alright with me,” they harmonize. “There’s no way of knowing, we’ll just wait and see.” The lyric cleverly sets the stage for unexpected travel hiccups – as in, going back three decades. (The title also subtly nods to a famous movie line: "Where we're going, we don't need roads.)
“Hello – Is Anybody Home?”
Everybody’s family has issues, and that goes quadruple for Marty. This witty pop-rock number introduces George, his pushover dad; Lorraine, his heavy-drinking mom; Linda, his haplessly boy-crazy sister; and his brother Dave, whose ambitions are essentially (French) fried.
Doc Brown, an eccentric inventor and Marty’s bestie, celebrates the fact that he’s successfully souped up a DeLorean for time travel in a rock-tastic number. “It’s a time machine that goes both ways, to new tomorrows and to yesterdays.”
Backup singers and dancers materialize for the chorus. “They show up every time I start singing,” Doc nonchalantly tells a mystified Marty.
Thanks to Doc’s time machine, Marty has time-hopped back to 1955 in Hill Valley. Townsfolk proudly sing the progressive praises of leaded gas, filtered cigarettes (“they’re good for you”), asbestos insulation, DDT... you get the picture. It’s a chipper, irony-laced reminder that hindsight is 20/20.
“Gotta Start Somewhere”
Goldie Wilson, a diner worker with political aspirations, leads this happy head-bopper of a number about the fact that success doesn’t just happen. “You gotta get going, or you’re never gonna get there,” he sings. It’s not just about him, but teenaged George, too, who always lets bullies get the best of him.
George sings this sweetly offbeat ballad about Lorraine, the girl he’s crushing on from afar. Actually, he’s watching her from a tree, to Marty's horror. What rhymes with Peeping Tom?
Teenage Lorraine has no idea what the future holds – or that Marty will be her son. Her flirty musical come-on, accompanied by her wing girls, delivers ’50s doo-wop ear candy. It sets up a vital plot point: Lorraine is supposed to fall for George, not Marty – or Marty and his siblings will never exist. Pretty scary!
By turns plaintive and silly, the song finds Marty contemplating his past, present, and future as he reckons with a roadblock. The DeLorean is out of plutonium needed to whisk him back to 1985. “The physics of this problem are perplexing,” sings Doc. “The muscles in my brain are busy flexing.” Then it hits him: “A lightning crack becomes a power pack.”
“Hill Valley High School Fight Song”
Every high school musical needs one. In addition to adding a blast of school spirit, the song sets up a conflict Marty is about to face.
“Something About That Boy”
A smitten Lorraine muses about what makes Marty so special: “I’ll let this feeling guide me, he’s turned up the heat inside me.” Meanwhile, high school bully Biff rages about the rival newcomer: “I’m gonna find him, and when I do, I’m gonna unwind him.” Marty’s future hangs in the balance as Act 1 ends.
“I’ve got myself a time machine, imagine what we’ll see in the 21st century,” sings Doc in a wild, supercharged second-act opener. “Flying cars and strange machines will fill up the skies, trips to Mars will happen every day.” Suffice it to say, Doc’s predictions about life in, say, 2015, are off the mark.
“Put Your Mind to It”
“When you play, have some fun. Make it look like you have already won.” Marty schools his future father in the art of acting cool in order to get Lorraine’s attention. The tune summons ’80s rock and boasts a horn section that would make Huey Lewis sit up and take notice. (Lewis attended a Broadway performance of the show in 2023, so it's safe to say he actually did.)
“For the Dreamers”
Underneath the wacky demeanor and matching coif, Doc Brown has feelings like everyone else. He reveals them in his big solo. “I know what it’s like to be misunderstood, and I know how it feels to be told you’re no good.” Marty’s timeless trust in Doc is restorative.
“Teach Him a Lesson”
Big bad bully Biff doubles down on his resolve to get Marty out of the way so he can make time with Lorraine at the school dance. The lesson plan takes a surprising turn.
It’s immutable theatre math: High school students plus a musical equals a prom. As Marvin Berry and the Starlighters perform at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, students are “deep diving for love.” That includes George, who hopes to win over Lorraine.
A hit holdover from the 1985 movie, this 1954 doo-wop hit by the Penguins is sung at the dance and packs heavenly harmonies. Even if penguins didn’t typically mate for life, it’d be a perfect backdrop for romance.
“Johnny B. Goode”
This Chuck Berry song came out in 1958, which is three years after the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. For Marty, who's been visiting from 1985, it’s an oldie and a goodie. He rocks out, and so does the entire student body, bewildered as they are by this rollicking music genre.
“The Power of Love”
This Huey Lewis and the News hit was written for the Back to the Future movie and nominated for an Oscar. Safely back in 1985, where things are not exactly like he left it, Marty leads the crowd-rousing version as the town gets down.
“Back in Time”
This energizing Huey Lewis hit from the film is the backdrop for the curtain call. “Tell me doctor, where are we going this time? Is this the '50s or 1999?”
Here in 2023, get going to Back to the Future: The Musical, which, per New York Theatre Guide’s four-star review, delivers “1.21-gigawatts of spectacle.”
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Photo credit: Back to the Future on Broadway. (Photos by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman)
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