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How the team on 'Back to the Future' leverages nostalgia for a fresh musical experience

What excites the cast and crew about Broadway’s take on the paradigmatic film

Roger Bart and the company of “Back to the Future: The Musical” in London (Credit: Sean Ebsworth Barnes)

After two years at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End, “Back to the Future: The Musical” is set to make its Broadway premiere on Aug. 3 at the Winter Garden Theatre.

The musical bowed to acclaim in London, winning 2022 Olivier Awards for Best New Musical and Best Original Score. The full London creative team will mount the Broadway transfer, which also includes the reprisal of performances by Roger Bart as Doc Brown and Hugh Coles as George McFly.

In the latest episode of “The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal,” the cast and crew discussed their pride and excitement for the title as it prepares to begin previews on June 30. “This show is a love letter to the fans of ‘Back to the Future,’ so if you love the movie, this is for you because you’re going to see the movie and then some,” said Jelani Remy, who will play the roles of Goldie Wilson and Marvin Berry.

Given the iconic status of the original film, staying true to the property’s tone has been a crucial task for the entire team.

“People have said, ‘Don’t you dare do that, don’t you mess with my movie,’” said Alan Silvestri, one of the show’s composer-lyricists. “It was forefront for all of us making this that we — if nothing else — at least aspire to capturing the feeling and sensibility of the original film, because without that we wouldn’t do it.”

The process has relied on maintaining a balance between honoring the movie and bringing it new life as a musical.The show’s music contains four classic songs from the movie and more than a dozen new songs to blend genres throughout the show.

“The way the film is structured — and the musical  is structured — is that we jump around in time,” said Hugh Coles, who plays George McFly, “which allows a fantastic opportunity to do 1950s classic Broadway numbers but also 1985 pop, so you have this real disparity in songs.”

Casey Likes, who will play the role of Marty McFly, is excited to dig in. “It’s a big privilege,” he said. “I’ve really become aware of how many people want to just be Marty McFly in life, let alone on Broadway, so I hold a very high standard for myself.”

Also in this episode of “The Broadway Show,” viewers will hear from the companies of “Here Lies Love,” “Grey House” and “Some Like It Hot.” The episode features additional interviews with Miguel Cervantes, who plays Alexander Hamilton in “Hamilton,” and Ayana Jackson (neé George), who plays Kate/Katherine Jackson in “MJ The Musical.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the name of Hugh Coles’ character upon second mention. This has been corrected.