For a musical jubilantly proclaiming that its overriding theme is death, “Beetlejuice” has a surprisingly lively spring in its step.
As is well known by now, popular movies never die; they are resurrected as Broadway musicals. “Beetlejuice” is the fourth to open just this season, following “Pretty Woman,” “Tootsie” and “King Kong,” and it faces a number of challenges that most others do not.
The supernatural, for starters, is more easily brought to convincing life through film’s deep arsenal of special effects. And the show’s title character has to be both seriously creepy and deviously charming. (How to make palatable — or just unrepellent — Beetlejuice’s desire to wed the teenage heroine?) Against considerable odds, the musical manages to surmount most of the hurdles it faces, even if, like that nasty-funny ghost at its center, for many it may ultimately overstay its welcome.