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Return To The ‘80s With The ‘Back To The Future’ Musical


Wait a minute. Wait a minute Doc, are you telling me they built a musical out of Back to the Future? If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, yes! The hit 1985 cult classic movie has made it to the theatre stage in London, but, before we know it, it’ll be headed to New York as well. Read on to hear more about its origins, how it compares to the film, and when it’ll be debuting on Broadway. 

Back to the Future the Musical began in London

The musical has been a long time coming. The original plan was for it to premiere in London in 2015 to reference the year the characters time traveled to in the second movie. But due to some changes in who was working on the musical, it was pushed back a bit. It ended up premiering in early 2020 at the Manchester Opera House. While it did have a few performances, the pandemic did eventually shut it down.

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It reopened in September of 2021 at the Adelphi Theatre in West End. Since then, it was extended until February 2023. The production received several nominations and awards. Most notably it won the 2022 Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

How does the Back to the Future musical compare to the film?

Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of positive response to the musical from lovers of the movie. There have been a couple changes that I’ve seen talked about. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the show myself, but I’ve gathered a couple of differences from what fans have said.

Doc doesn’t have a dog in the stage show, which, as a result, makes Doc the first time traveler. Plus, the musical makes it so the Dolorean is voice activated only by Doc, which makes the idea of the second movie being translated to stage impossible. On top of that, it just changes the dynamic a bit and makes certain scenes need to shift. The way Doc dies is also different, with radiation poisoning being his demise instead of terrorists.

There are some minor line changes and adjusting of the cast, like Biff having two henchmen instead of three, but it feels as though the plot is mostly in tact as it was.

Is it worth seeing? Critics respond

In The Daily Mail’s review of the film, writer Patrick Marmion commends Olly Dobson’s portrayal of our lovable protagonist. 

Just like Fox, Dobson is an affable ‘everykid’ who handles the agonies (…and the agonies) of dating your teenage Mom, with all the exhilarating horror that portends. Weirdly, Dobson not only looks a lot like Fox; he seems to have been augmented with a touch of that other great Eighties icon, Michael Douglas.

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In Evening Standards review of the film, writer Nick Curtis writes,Visually, the show’s a treat too, with lots of little in-jokes and exuberant swing-style dance routines, including one that’s a flat-out homage to that other 1980s teen classic, Footloose.”

Alternatively, in The Guardian’s review of the stage adaptation, writer Arifa Akbar argues that the musical doesn’t hit the same as the movie.

The book by Bob Gale (who wrote the film with Robert Zemeckis) keeps the film’s best lines, and even with the addition of 16 new songs (music and lyrics by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard), it seems like a show stuck in time, too uncannily like the original (though there is one functional plot change).

Andrzej Lukowski of Time Out agreed with the above criticism and adds new thoughts. I don’t want to be overly critical: it’s entertaining, just a bit much,” Lukowski writes. “The story remains an extremely enjoyable romp, with chuckles aplenty; the stagecraft is a wow, especially with regards to the DeLorean.”

But what did the fans think?

Fans are so excited

A lot of fans were pleased to hear it would be coming to Broadway!

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Anthony shared pictures!

This die-hard fan gave it his stamp of approval.

It’s heading to Broadway!

It is scheduled to be on Broadway staring June 30, 2023 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Rogert Bart, who originally played Dr Emmett Brown, and Hugh Coles , who originally played George McFly will be coming to Broadway to join this cast as well. Other casting has not been confirmed at this point, but there have been hints that Marty McFly will be announced next.

Have you heard the soundtrack? What do you think about the musical and are there any other movies you’d like to see translated to Broadway?


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