Everything you need to know about 'Back to the Future: The Musical' on Broadway

The cult classic sci-fi film is now an award-winning Broadway musical with 1.21 gigawatts of stage magic, theatrical star power, and '80s charm powering it.

Joe Dziemianowicz
Joe Dziemianowicz

The power of love and plutonium, coming right up! Teen years are always tricky, especially if you’re Marty McFly, a high school kid with two generations' worth of drama to deal with in Back to the Future: The Musical on Broadway.

It’s 1985, but before Marty can say 88 miles an hour — he gets rocketed back 30 years by his kooky scientist friend, Doc, in a time machine made out of a DeLorean.

In 1955, Marty meets his future parents — and things get more complicated by the minute when his mom starts falling for Marty (not knowing who he is) instead of his dad. Cringe? There’s no time. Marty’s got to set everything right so he can get back to the future.

Learn more about how this show evolved over time on its way to the Broadway stage, which film-favorite songs you'll hear alongside new tunes, and more in our complete guide to Back to the Future on Broadway.

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What is Back to the Future: The Musical about?

Back to the Future: The Musical is based on the 1985 blockbuster and fan-fave movie of the same name. Marty McFly is a typical mid-1980s high school student, playing his guitar, crushing on his girlfriend, wondering what’s up with his wacky family, and hanging out with his eccentric pal, the scientist Emmett “Doc” Brown.

Misadventure ensues when Doc turns a DeLorean into a time machine and Marty blasts back to 1955 – when the teen’s parents are in high school and Doc is a younger man experimenting with time travel. Marty has to be sure his parents get together to keep the future – and his very being – intact.

Where is Back to the Future: The Musical playing?

Back to the Future: The Musical is at the Winter Garden Theatre at 1634 Broadway between 50th and 51st Streets. The venue opened in 1911, and its most recent resident was the hit revival of the Meredith Willson musical The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.

How long is Back to the Future: The Musical?

Back to the Future: The Musical runs 2 hours and 40 minutes, including one intermission. This is a typical Broadway musical length, though musicals can run anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. Intermissions are usually either 15 or 20 minutes long.

What days is Back to the Future: The Musical playing?

Back to the Future: The Musical plays eight performances a week at the Winter Garden Theatre, with performances usually scheduled every day except Monday. For the complete performance schedule and showtimes, please visit the Back to the Future: The Musical page to learn more.

When did Back to the Future: The Musical premiere?

Back to the Future: The Musical had its world premiere in England in March 2020, 35 years after the movie premiered. Check out the full timeline below.

  • 1985: The Back to the Future movie starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd premieres. A global hit, it became the year’s highest-grossing film and won an Oscar for sound effects editing.
  • 1989: The Back to the Future: Part II sequel starring Fox and Lloyd premieres. In this chapter, Marty time-hops to 2015.
  • 1999: The Back to the Future: Part III sequel starring Fox and Lloyd premieres. In part three of the big-screen trilogy, Marty travels to 1885 to rescue Doc.
  • 2005: The wife of Robert Zemeckis, the director and co-writer of the three films, floats the idea of a musical version of Back to the Future.
  • 2020: Back to the Future: The Musical premieres at the Manchester Opera House in England.
  • 2021: Back to the Future: The Musical opens in London’s West End, where it is still running as of summer 2023.
  • 2023: Back to the Future: The Musical begins performances on June 30 at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway.

Who wrote Back to the Future: The Musical?

Back to the Future: The Musical features multiple members of the team that created the wildly successful film franchise. Among them is book writer Bob Gale, a co-writer of the Back to the Future film trilogy. Gale’s credits also include 1941 and Used Cars, movies written in collaboration with Robert Zemeckis, who is credited as a co-creator and producer of Back to the Future: The Musical.

The film score's composer, Alan Silvestri, co-wrote the music and lyrics for the musical adaptation. During his 50-year career, Silvestri has composed scores for more than 140 films. Silvestri’s credits include Grammy-winning music for The Polar Express, Avengers: Endgame and The Witches.

His co-composer/lyricist is Glen Ballard, a six-time Grammy-winning producer/songwriter. Ballard’s Broadway credits include Back to the Future: The Musical, Ghost the Musical, and Jagged Little Pill. “Believe,” a song he co-wrote with Silvestri for The Polar Express, was nominated for an Oscar and won a Grammy.

Back to the Future: The Musical characters

The Back to the Future: The Musical characters include various people in the fictional town of Hill Valley. They include high schoolers, their friends and members of their family, and other townspeople. Below are the main characters of Back to the Future: The Musical.

  • Marty McFly: an everyday high school teenager who accidentally time-travels from 1985 to 1955.
  • Doc Brown: an eccentric inventor whose DeLorean time machine whisks Marty back in time 30 years.
  • George McFly: Marty’s dad, whose mild-mannered ways make him the target of a local bully.
  • Lorraine McFly: Marty’s mom, whose discontentment with her life is apparent.
  • Biff Tannen: A bully who’s always on George’s back.
  • Jennifer Parker: Marty’s true-blue girlfriend.
  • Marvin Berry: a jazz musician who unwittingly helps Marty show off his keen guitar skills.
  • Goldie Wilson: a Hill Valley resident who becomes mayor.
  • Strickland: the super strict Hill Valley principal who likes labeling people as “slackers.”

Who is in the cast of Back to the Future: The Musical?

The cast of the Broadway premiere of the Back to the Future: The Musical features actors who are Broadway newcomers, seasoned performers, as well as a Tony Award winner.

Casey Likes, who made his Broadway debut in Almost Famous in 2022, takes on another famous film role as Marty. Roger Bart, a Tony winner for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown reprises his West End role as Doc. Hugh Coles also reprises his London role as George.

The principal cast also includes Liana Hunt as Lorraine, Nathaniel Hackman as Biff, Mikaela Secada as Jennifer, Jelani Remy as Goldie and Marvin, and Merritt David Janes as Strickland.

Back to the Future: The Musical songs

The songs in the Back to the Future: The Musical feature music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri, who wrote the score for the movie, and Glen Ballard. In addition to the original songs written for the stage, songs from the movie – “The Power of Love,” “Back in Time,” and “Earth Angel” — are included.

Act 1

  • "It's Only a Matter of Time" - Marty McFly, George Wilson, and Ensemble
  • "Got No Future" - Marty
  • "Wherever We're Going" - Marty and Jennifer Parker
  • "Hello – Is Anybody Home?" - Marty, George, Lorraine, Linda, and McFly
  • "It Works" - Doc Brown, and Ensemble
  • "Cake" - Ensemble
  • "Got No Future (Reprise)" - Marty
  • "Gotta Start Somewhere" - Goldie Wilson, and Ensemble
  • "My Myopia" - George
  • "Pretty Baby" - Lorraine, and Female Ensemble
  • "Future Boy" - Marty, Doc, and Ensemble
  • "Hill Valley High School Fight Song" - Ensemble
  • "Something About That Boy" - Lorraine, Biff Tannen, and Ensemble

Act 2

  • "21st Century" - Doc, and Ensemble
  • "Something About That Boy (reprise)" - Lorraine
  • "Put Your Mind to It" - Marty and George
  • "For the Dreamers" - Doc
  • "Teach Him a Lesson" - Biff
  • "It's Only a Matter of Time (reprise)" - Marty and Jennifer
  • "Deep Diving" - Marvin Berry, and Ensemble
  • "Pretty Baby (Reprise)" - Lorraine
  • "Earth Angel" - Marvin and Ensemble
  • "Johnny B. Goode" - Marty
  • "For the Dreamers (reprise)" - Doc
  • "The Power of Love" - Marty, Jennifer, Goldie, and Ensemble
  • "Back in Time" - Marty, Doc, and Ensemble

What awards has Back to the Future: The Musical won?

The West End production of Back to the Future: The Musical was critically acclaimed, winning London's top theatre prize. Here are all the major accolades the movie and its onscreen source material have won and been nominated for.

  • Olivier Awards: Back to the Future: The Musical received seven Olivier nominations and won Best New Musical.
  • Academy Awards: The film got four Oscar nominations, winning for Best Sound Effects Editing. Its additional three nominations included Best Original Screenplay (Gale and Zemeckis), Best Original Song ("The Power of Love"), and Best Sound.
  • Golden Globes: The Back to the Future movie got four nominations: Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for Fox, Best Original Song, and Best Screenplay.

Major productions of Back to the Future: The Musical

The the 2020 U.K. premiere, the 2022 transfer to London's West End, and 2023 Broadway production on stage now in London’s West End are the only major productions so far. If the show is a success, this production could have a long future, leading to plenty more across the country and even the world.

Onscreen adaptations of Back to the Future: The Musical

This musical hasn't received a screen adaptation — it's the other way around. Back to the Future: The Musical is based on the first Back to the Future film from 1985, starring Michael J. Fox as Marty and Christopher Lloyd as Doc.

Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis co-wrote the film; Zemeckis also directed. Back to the Future received four Oscar nominations, winning one, and later spawned two big-screen sequels, a TV series, and a theme park ride.

Fun facts about Back to the Future: The Musical

  • John Rando, the director of Back to the Future: The Musical, won a Tony Award for his direction of Urinetown.
  • The climactic clock tower scene that fans of the movie will know, along with the plutonium-powered DeLorean, get their magic moments on stage. Chris Fisher, who designed the illusions in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is also behind this show.
  • Though lots of the film's iconic moments and characters remain, Einstein, the mutt in the movie, is out.
  • The original idea for the Back to the Future movie's time-traveling device wasn't a DeLorean — it was a refrigerator.

Get tickets to Back to the Future: The Musical

Back to the Future: The Musical is a sci-fi adventure story that gives a whole different meaning to a race against time. So don't wait — get your tickets yesterday!

Back to the Future: The Musical tickets are available now. Get tickets to Back to the Future: The Musical on New York Theatre Guide today.

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Photo credit: Casey Likes and Roger Bart. (Photo by Hugo Glendinning)

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