WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - With the shutdown of much of the entertainment industry due to the current state of the country, two Wood-Ridge teenagers found themselves taking part in a different type of production: "BEETLEJUICE: The Online Musical" | The Unauthorized Musical Parody.
Adam Lucas, chief editor, and Anthony Finke, music director who also played the part of Maxie Dean, joined a team of performers from around the country to produce a fully online, and filmed at home version of the Broadway show, BEETLEJUICE The Musical, and show by Tim Burton. Some noted members of the team were Federico Hradek, a 14-year old from Florida, was the co-creator, choreographer, co-director, and played the role of Beetlejuice, Delilah Jane Dunn, New York resident, co-creator, co-director, and played Delia Deetz, and Alexandria Paxton, another FL resident, who played Lydia Deetz in the show.
Finke recently graduated from Wood-Ridge High School as a member of the Class of 2020. He will be attending Rowan University, majoring in Musical Theater in the fall. Lucas will be a senior at Wood-Ridge High School in the fall.
Members of the cast filmed clips of themselves in their own homes, before green screens, which were edited together by Lucas to create the illusion that actors were together in the same setting.
“This project was shot entirely in our own homes! We all sang our songs and read our lines individually, and then in the latter half of production, I spliced all of the clips together,” Lucas shared, “All of our leads shot on a green screen, which made for easier storytelling in regards to selling the illusion that we were all in the same room together.”
In May, Lucas came across posts by Hradek and Dunn which advertised for the project. He auditioned and later took part in both the creation of the show and acting the part of Charles Deetz.
“I first started off in the project cast as Charles Deetz, one of the characters in the show. Later, Fed and Delilah (our directors) asked if I wanted to take on the mantle of editing the project start to finish. Sure enough, I said yes and two weeks later I find myself as chief editor on the project, helping guide our cast and make sure they were all on the right track so it would be a smooth and easy process in regards to putting the show together,” Lucas told TAPinto.
Lucas submitted his filming for the part of Charles Deetz in May; filming had taken him 3 days. Editing on the other hand, which began in June, took him nearly 3 weeks. The project was published June 29.
Finke was the musical director and played the role of Maxie Dean. From the end of May until the end of June, he worked on rewriting and making the songs for the production.
“When I was making the songs, they started with me just plucking a few notes on my piano into the garage band. I layered other instruments such as drums, guitar, trumpets, etc. When that was done, I had the singers record their vocals on voice memos with one headphone in, to listen to my clean track with another device. When they sent me their vocals, I synced it all up, mixed it, and the song was done,” Finke shared.
Finke and Lucas worked closely together, after Lucas got Finke on board with the show, as the duo filmed together as Maxie Dean and Charles Deetz.
The show was a supporter of The Actors Fund, a charitable organization which supports performers and others involved with performing arts.
"We asked those who viewed the show to donate to the organization and some of us made a donation to The Actors Fund in the name of our show," said Lucas. "By asking those to donate, we hope to raise awareness on this incredible organization and help out those in the industry directly impacted by COVID-19."
As time went on, the show got quite the attention. As on July 31, 2020, the online production found itself at 48,142 views. Recognition even came from the Broadway community when Alex Brightman, a stage actor and two-time Tony Award nominee most known for his role in Broadway’s School of Rock, Beetlejuice, supported the project.
In the end, Lucas still found himself shocked and proud of the work done by himself and his group.
“I am still in shock. We treaded very lightly in terms of copyright, but we also didn’t want to put on the entire Broadway show word-for-word. We wanted to place our own take on it, and therefore, we changed a majority of the show (most lyric changes happened when Beetlejuice was on screen) to put our own spin on an otherwise classic Broadway show, and Tim Burton film,“ Lucas explained.
The show can be found with the following URL "BEETLEJUICE: The Online Musical" | The Unauthorized Musical Parody.
In the future, the cast, whose soundtrack is now on SoundCloud, intends to put their work onto DVD.
Editor’s Note: Emily Condon is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the “Pilot’s Log,” Hasbrouck Heights High School's newspaper. In addition, she is a member of the Student Council, Junior Executive Board, the Black Hole, head organizer of Spirit Week, co-organizer of the Junior Formal with History teacher Catherine Cassidy, and member of the indoor and outdoor Track and Field teams.
TAPinto Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge/Teterboro is Hasbrouck Heights, Wood-Ridge and Teterboro’s free daily news source, and is the official newspaper of the Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education, Hasbrouck Heights Borough Council, and Wood-Ridge Board of Education.