Morgan Capodilupo ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Whoa, this is heavy! A musical adaptation of Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 film, Back to the Future, is set to open in London’s West End in 2015. Jamie Lloyd, the former Associate Director of the acclaimed Donmar Warehouse Theatre Company, is attached to direct, with Glen Ballard (Ghost The Musical) set to compose the score of the show. Diehard fans need not worry of script inconsistencies between the film and the musical, as Zemeckis and the screenwriter himself are reuniting to pen the stage adaptation. Not much is known about the structure of the musical yet, but Jamie Lloyd has revealed that “the production will include illusions, skateboarding and many other surprises that will capture the spirit of the film but freshly interpret it for a new audience,” according to BroadwayWorld.com.
So pull out your Hoverboard, gather your rotten bananas, and get ready to save the Clock Tower. These actors are looking like a good fit for the stage, and here’s why!
Matthew James Thomas Stars as Marty McFly
Matthew James Thomas can be seen on Broadway in the Diane Paulus-directed hit, Pippin, in the title role. His character is a young man with big dreams and the go-getter attitude, and this fits the spirit of Marty McFly perfectly. He also bears a striking resemblance to a young Michael J. Fox (Marty in the original film series), and has a boyish charm paired with a killer tenor voice that is a seamless fit for the leading role.
Nigel Planer as Doc Brown
Veteran West End actor Nigel Planer has the look and the skills to reprise the iconic role of Doc Brown, Marty’s eccentric inventor friend and the creator of the time traveling DeLorean car. Planer has already proven that he can play the batty but lovable old man with ease, wowing audiences as Grandpa Joe in London’s Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel. With his spot-on comic timing and twinkle in his eye, he would bring a new spin on Doc Brown while still keeping all the elements loved by audiences of the original film.
Jennifer Laura Thompson as Lorraine Baines McFly
Jennifer Laura Thompson is a Broadway actress who has had an extensive career playing spunky women who embrace their femininity without losing their conviction. These qualities describe the matriarch of the McFly family, who holds her brood together by her own sheer force of will. Thompson starred as Ariel Moore in the original production of Footloose, so maybe she could use some of those dance moves in the Enchantment Under The Sea prom scenes?
Bill Irwin as George McFly
Bill Irwin is best known for playing Mr. Noodle from the perennial children’s favorite, Sesame Street, but he also has a Broadway career as an accomplished character actor. His last appearance in a Broadway musical was as another befuddled, dork-ish dad, Mr. MacAfee in Bye Bye Birdie, so he is already familiar with the quirky charms of the character. He would do a great job ordering a glass of milk… chocolate, while wearing the coke bottle glasses of George McFly.
Molly Ranson as Jennifer Parker
Young actress Molly Ranson displays a wide range of emotions through the characters she portrays on Broadway. From the sassiness of Little Red in Into The Woods to the intensity of the titular character in Carrie, Ranson has proven that she has the acting chops to join the league of Broadway veterans. She would be excellent as Jennifer Parker, Marty’s pretty but independent girlfriend, and would be able to infuse some of her sharp wit into the musical’s other strong female lead.
Michael Esper as Biff Tannen
Michael Esper doesn’t look too scary, but his portrayal of Tunny, a drug addicted young man in Broadway’s American Idiot allowed audiences to see the edginess of this young actor. No stranger to theatrical roads less traveled, Esper can also be seen in experimental Off-Broadway pieces such as Albee’s Me, Myself, and I. His onstage roughness matches the character of tough guy Biff Tannen, and it would be interesting to see how the darkly comedic Esper would take on the role of the bully who torments his victims by calling them “butthead” and chasing them around town in his 1950’s convertible.
PLUTONIUM BONUS ROUND!
Everyone’s got their favorite obscure Back to the Future characters, too! These personalities add the distinct flair that we love to the films, and their larger than life characters would translate so well onto the stage. Ready, set, go!
Kevin Chamberlin as Mr. Strickland
Tony nominated character actor Kevin Chamberlin is a dead ringer for straight edged principal Mr. Strickland, and they can bond in eternal baldness together. But in all seriousness, Chamberlin is a hilarious comedian, whose unique brand of humor can be seen through his wonderful interpretations of other iconic characters like Uncle Fester in Addams Family The Musical and Horton the Elephant in Seussical.
Taye Diggs as Goldie Wilson
Everyone loves Taye Diggs, and since he hasn’t been on Broadway since appearing as Fiyero alongside (real-life wife!) Idina Menzel in Wicked, why not star up the role of the waiter who works his way up to being Mayor of Hill Valley? Even though it is a small role, Diggs could bring a power cameo to a man that Marty admires. And it would be awesome to hear him sing “Earth Angel”…or anything…please!.
Krysta Rodriguez as Leslie “Spike” O’Malley
Don’t remember who Spike is? Well, that’s because she’s in Back to the Future Part II, thank you very much. Although the movie is great, it lacks a lot of female roles, which is unfortunate for the talented actresses of Broadway and the West End alike. However, Broadway belter Krysta Rodriguez would tackle the tough girl role of Biff Tannen’s sidekick with ease. She definitely can do the dark element, with her impressive portrayal of Wednesday Addams in Addams Family, and then held her own among the boys in First Date The Musical, so this addition would be a welcome surprise to the new musical adaptatation.
The Back To The Future musical will certainly be an inventive blend of film and theatrical mediums, and under the direction of Jamie Lloyd, should not disappoint. So take a flying DeLorean, and get to the West End for opening night! Because after all, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”