Lifelong Tim Burton Fan Lives ‘Beetlejuice’

Kate Marilley and Jesse Sharp portray Delia and Charles Deetz in the touring production of “Beetlejuice,” coming to the Broward Center, June 13 – 25. Credit: Matthew Murphy.
Kate Marilley and Jesse Sharp portray Delia and Charles Deetz in the touring production of “Beetlejuice,” coming to the Broward Center, June 13 – 25. Credit: Matthew Murphy.

To call actress Kate Marilley a Tim Burton fan might be an understatement.   

 She grew up watching “Edward Scissorhands,” “Batman,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Beetlejuice” over and over again, and now has more than 180 performances under her belt as Delia Deetz in the touring production of “Beetlejuice” coming to the Broward Center as part of the Broadway in Fort Lauderdale series. 

If you can’t recite the classic film’s screenplay (or musical book) line by line like Marilley, here’s the “Cliff’s Notes” version:  

After a young couple die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes and their strange teen daughter Lydia buy the home, the couple attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice, a rambunctious spirit whose "help" quickly becomes dangerous for everyone. 

Marilley portrays Delia Deetz – the role created by gay icon Catherine O’Hara in Burton’s 1988 film – the second wife, stepmom and self-proclaimed sculptor. 

“This role is the kookiest, wackiest role I’ve played,” said Marilley. “Delia is truly on her own planet. There is absolutely no way I could ever get tired of this … it’s way too much fun. Even after six months, I’m still discovering new dimensions to Delia and the show.” 

Even the audiences she’s encountered on tour have had their own ideas about Delia and the other characters, arriving at theaters dressed up as their favorites and repeating their favorite vignettes during the intermission. 

“It’s really crazy,” she admitted. “They’re very serious.” 

Burton’s film relied on extensive special effects and animation, but his unique vision is never lost in the stage adaptation. Marilley credits set designer David Korins and lighting designer Ken Posnar for much of the magic, including new uses for pyrotechnics, strobe lights, haze and fog. 

“They did their best to bring those iconic Tim Burton moments to the stage. His films are so edgy and it had to be quite a challenge to bring them to the stage,” she said, noting there are lots of “Easter eggs,” hidden references embedded into the show that true fans will notice and appreciate. 

Despite all the special effects, Marilley emphasized that the show is still about family and connection, just like the film. 

“In our version of the show, Delia is trying to get by Lydia’s side and by the end, they realize they are part of a funny, dysfunctional family. It’s a struggle at first for Delia and by my big song and scene in the first act, ‘No Reason,’ you really see the cracks in her exterior,” she explained. 

While “Beetlejuice” is still a bit of “a rock concert,” Marilley feels, by the final curtain audiences come to realize there was heart and depth to the characters – in addition to all the bells, whistles and poltergeists. 

She added, “The message is family, finding your people who accept you for all of your flaws and knowing you are still loved and accepted. The last thing you’ll see [on stage] is her family members around her. Lydia is going to be okay.” 

See “Beetlejuice” at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale, June 13 – 25. Tickets start at $33.79 at


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