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The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Back to the Future Musical: Is It Worth Seeing?

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The classic movie series of the ’80s, Back to the Future, which, in a musical reboot named  Back to the Future: The Musical, premiered on August 3, 2023 and stars Casey Likes and Robert Bart, has been a hit on Broadway. 

For those who have not seen the musical or popular movie series, the plot follows a teenager named Marty who feels as though he is misunderstood by his family and aspires to not be like his parents because of their past decisions. Soon after Marty expresses this to the audience, he is taken back into the ’50s (his parents’ generation), when his brilliant friend Dr. Brown’s time travel experiment goes wrong. Marty then accidently encounters his parents in high school, and makes their love story take a wrong turn. Marty is now faced with trying to get his parents to fall in love; otherwise, he would cease to exist.  

The big question is, is the musical worth watching when there is already a movie? In order to answer this question, an investigation of multiple aspects of the musical has to occur to serve the musical and the movie justice. Without further ado, let’s find out.

A major part of this specific musical was the technology used. As soon as you walk in, you are faced with a giant LED screen saying Back to the Future, which is only the beginning of the musical’s featured technology. Soon after, when Marty gets sent back into time, he gets into a car (the time machine) composed of ‘‘steel, aluminum madness of gizmos and electronics and what we call turtles to make it spin,’” as described by set designer Tim Hatley on KPVR. “‘Motors, lights, effects, smoke machines, speakers. It’s crammed with that. You can just get a person in it.’” From the viewers’ perspective, they can see the car appearing to be traveling at 88 miles per hour with changing backgrounds to make it seem like he is “traveling back in time.” At the final scene of the musical, once Marty gets “back to the future,” the final scene shows Marty and Dr. Brown in the same car, but they are in the air. Some could say that the car transformed into a “flying car.” According to Rando DeLorean, the car is “‘going to go up in the air and then it’s going to turn and then it’s going to come towards the audience and then it’s going to go out over the audience.'” How was this accomplished? No one knows. But it is truly a spectacular set with out-of-the-box creativity.  

Of course, every story needs a plot and dialogue. The dialogue in the musical is very similar to the movie. There were a few jokes along the way, but there was a significant amount of improvising and mistakes in lines. As someone who had seen the musical twice before, the initial time seeing it, the actors/actresses were a lot more cautious and aware of their lines. The second time seeing it, I thought the cast seemed to become more comfortable with their characters’ personalities, and improvised a lot more, sometimes making mistakes. 

Last but not least, a musical isn’t a musical without singing! The music in the play had a variety of numbers, including a song in which Marty teaches his dad to be cool in order to ask the girl he liked out, a wistful song by Dr. Brown called “For the Dreamers,” and more. Other songs from the musical were taken from the movie, including “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode.” Overall, the songs were fun while watching in the moment, but personally they aren’t songs that I would listen to “in the future.”   

Overall, the musical is worth watching not only because it was a popular movie, but because the technology and the display are very innovative, which brings this musical together. 

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About the Contributor
Keeran Patel, Guest Writer
Keeran Patel (’27) is thrilled to be a part of The Echo. Aside from school and her love for writing, she enjoys playing the violin, reading all kinds of literature, and spending time with friends and family.