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‘Back to the Future’ on Broadway: Buckle Your (DeLorean) Seatbelt

Even if he could go back in time and start over, Bob Gale probably wouldn’t change much about himself. “Back to the Future.” This 1985 sci-fi comedy, which tells the story of a teenager taking a whirlwind trip to 1955 in a time-traveling DeLorean built by an eccentric inventor, became a beloved and ever-cited box office hit.

The film, written by Gail with director Robert Zemeckis, has also become a cultural phenomenon. Combining stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd with quirky characters, it produced two hit sequels envisioned by its creators as self-contained tales.

When the words “The End” appear Appeared on screen in Back to the Future Part III. In a recent interview over lunch, Gail explained that this was a message to viewers. “We told the story we wanted to tell,” he said. “And we have no intention of exploiting you for a substandard sequel.”

but i like it That iconic DeLoreanthe “Back to the Future” franchise continued to reappear in licensed books, games, theme park rides, and more over the decades that followed. cast reunion And countless pop culture homages.

And now on Broadway: “Back to the Future: The Musical” The film, which opens at the Winter Garden Theater on August 3, follows a story familiar to movie fans. Using a time machine devised by Doc Brown, Marty McFly must travel back in time to 1955, meet his parents Lorraine and George as teenagers, and help them fall in love after sabotaging the events that led to their romantic relationship.

During its long journey to Broadway, “Back to the Future” faced some challenges common to musical adaptations, as well as challenges unique to this facility.

The show’s creators were looking for actors to play inseparable roles with the film’s stars, deciding which famous scenes from the film deserved musical numbers, while also exploring how the setting could accommodate the fundamental elements of Back to the Future, such as the plutonium-powered sports car that can traverse the continuum of space and time.

Well, this ‘Back to the Future’ hits Broadway with a lot of expectations. After tryouts in Manchester, England, Performance at the Adelphi Theater Winner of the 2022 Olivier Award for Best New Musical in London’s West End. The show also comes with a hefty price tag, with the capital being his $23.5 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Throughout the development process, those involved in the production, including the veterans of the Back to the Future series, strived to stay true to the spirit of the film and preserve a story that has been around for nearly 40 years.

Gail, now 72, said: We just want the wheels to run smoothly. ”

However, he added: “It shouldn’t be a vile adaptation of the movie, because if that’s what people want to see, they should stay home and watch the movie. Use theater for what theater can do.”

Gale was inspired for Back to the Future in 1980 by seeing a photo of his father as a teenager in an old high school yearbook, and has since become an avid patron of the series. That role of his at least dates back to 1989. Nintendo’s infamous ‘Back to the Future’ game released. “One of the worst games ever,” he said. “I was so terrified that I actually interviewed people and told them, ‘Don’t buy it.'”

In 2005, after Zemeckis and his wife Leslie saw a production of the Broadway musical The Producers, the makers of Back to the Future began considering adapting their own films for the stage. They hired Alan Silvestri. Music from the movie “Back to the Future”will work with pop songwriter Glenn Ballard, who worked with Silvestri on Zemeckis’ 2004 film version. “Polar Express”.

When Gale and Zemeckis began meeting with Broadway producers, Gale said: But their real agenda was to get Zemeckis and Gale out of this problem and leave it to our own people. ”

That was what Gale said he would never forgive. “These characters are like my family,” he said. “I will not sell my children into prostitution.”

Instead, Ballard enlisted British producer Colin Ingram, who had worked with him on the Ghost musical. They hired the very popular director Jamie Lloyd, but parted ways with him in 2014. “Creative differences and chemistry just didn’t work out,” Ingram said. (Lloyd confirmed through the press that his departure was a mutual decision over creative differences, but declined to comment further.)

After reuniting, the creators met Jon Landau, who directed “Urintown” and “The Wedding Singer.” Rand said after their first encounter, “I grabbed Bob by the shoulder, looked him in the eye and said, ‘Bob, I love this character.'” And I promise to really care for them. ‘ Within 30 minutes, Ms. Rand said she received a call with a hiring offer.

In envisioning a “Back to the Future” for the stage, Gale said certain signature moments in the film would never work: Doc Brown being attacked by disgruntled Libyan terrorists. (Marty speeds up in a DeLorean after Doc collapses from radiation poisoning.) There’s no setplay where Marty skateboards through a city square and meat-eating bully Biff chases after him in a convertible. (Currently, tracking is done on foot at school.) There is no pet dog named Einstein for Dr. Brown. (Sorry, no dogs.)

The scene in the film where Biff is stopped before attacking Lorraine is still in play, but Gale admitted that the moment was “edgy.”

“We want the audience to feel threatened, and we do,” Gale said, adding that Back to the Future contained many elements that might not have stood up to scrutiny if the film had been shown today.

In addition, other familiar scenes provided opportunities for invention. Silvestri said he and Ballard weren’t given a precise roadmap of where the song should go or what it should sound like. “We just kept trying to find our way,” said Silvestri. “We need songs here. Music is required there.”

Establishing a pop- and neon-colored version of the 1985 show, the composers thought they needed a vibrant opening number to use the “Back to the Future” fanfare, and that’s what this song is about. “It’s just a matter of time.” It also needed a love song for an enthralled young Lorraine to serenade a mysterious visitor who didn’t know it was her own son, which gave rise to the doo-wop pastiche. “Pretty Baby”

But Rand said he left those elements up to show designer Tim Hatley and the production crew while the books, songs and performances took shape.

“They kept asking me, ‘Let’s talk about the clock tower sequence,'” Rand explained. “And I said, ‘You can’t get this musical right until you get it right.'” ”

Actor Roger Bart, who has appeared in musical comedies such as The Producers and Young Frankenstein, was an early candidate for the role of Doc Brown. He won the role with the help of a video audition, where he wore a lampshade on his head (to imitate). Mind-reading device used by Braun) and sang the Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime.”

Christopher Lloyd has been associated with the character of Doc Brown, but Burt said he felt it wasn’t his job to imitate the performance.

“I’m 60,” Burt said. “There’s a certain point I have to go to, I know I’m interesting. I’ve been in front of enough audiences to know that. If I really got caught up in the idea, I would paralyze myself.”

Burt said the best way to play Doc Brown was to honor Lloyd’s acting ethos, “making unusual choices to create the idea that anything can happen at any time.”

After making her Broadway debut in “Almost Famous” last year, Casey Rykes appeared in the Broadway production as Marty.he His mother said he often compared him to Michael J. Fox when he was young. (The actor is 21 and was born 16 years after Back to the Future hit theaters.)

At the audition, Reikes said, “I wanted to convey something that was reminiscent of Michael, but not an impression.”

He added, “I tried to capture the kind of vocal inflections he was doing, but also try to express the kind of bright eye that was somewhere between his coolness and his sillyness. And I think it worked.”

As the curtain rises on Back to the Future, the creators hope it will be a faithful representation of the series and have no intention of continuing it cinematically. As Gale puts it, “We don’t need Back to the Future 18.”

For the stars, their daily hopes are focused on mustering up the courage as they climb into the show’s mechanical DeLorean and trusting them to perform their stunts consistently.

With a wry smile, Bart said, “I don’t want to have a day of work where the stage directors are like, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t believe you made a mistake,’ and then somebody gets sent to the hospital and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m fine, I’m insured, so I’m fine.'” I don’t want that kind of conversation. ”

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