The theme is fairytales! Click the link to see amazing artwork, photography, poetry, book reviews, and three original fairytales!
For the past year and a half I’ve gone to three doctors, a chiropractor, a neurologist, and a physical therapist, telling them how much pain I constantly have in my neck and shoulders. None of them listened. The doctors said it was from sitting at a desk all day. The chiropractor said my breasts were too big, weighing my shoulders down and I should get a reduction. The neurosurgeon saw in my medical history chart that I’d been diagnosed with BPD and immediately said my pain must be all in my head. The physical therapist shrugged and said “I don’t know.” One doctor even watched me sob and beg to be helped and then prescribed me a fucking nausea medicine. The pain got worse. It became debilitating. I would collapse some days. I’d fall down my stairs. Spasms so bad would come over me that I’d scream. Once when I was home alone, I got out of bed a wave of pain so bad came over me I collapsed to the floor, and since there was no one home to help me I laid on the floor for over an hour waiting for the pain to pass. Pain killers didn’t help. Muscle relaxers didn’t help, and made me sick. Massage therapy barely helped and since it’s not covered by insurance it cost me hundreds of dollars I did not have, thus racking up my credit card debt.
I’d go to movies with friends in so much pain I thought I might black out but was too embarrassed to tell anyone. If I told my older coworkers at my old job they’d say “but you’re so young!” Which translates to “you’re over reacting.” Even though I’ve been doing yoga for 8 years and had reached an advanced level, soon basic poses caused unbearable pain. I began sleeping all the time so I didn’t have to be awake to feel the pain. It was slowly ruining my life. I’d get MRIs and X-Rays and take them to endless health care professionals who said nothing was wrong.
My mom drove me to a pain specialist in Annapolis who almost refused to see me because I was ten minutes late due to traffic on the bridge. I started sobbing saying I was in so much pain, begging them to help me. The specialist saw me and sent me for another MRI. He promised to get back to me in a day and instead it took 3 weeks. When he finally called it was just his secretary. “You have degenerative disc disease,” she said. “You’ve had it for a long time, I don’t know why the other doctors didn’t tell you.”
I wanted to scream. I’d begged to be helped for almost two years. Six qualified health professionals looked at an MRI that showed a disease and said nothing was wrong. Most of those healthcare professionals were men. I do not believe it’s a coincidence they did not take the pain of a young woman seriously. They wrote me off as hysterical.
The pain specialist sent me to get a discogram, an incredibly painful procedure where a doctor sticks needles into your neck to find which discs are the cause of the pain. They put you under anesthesia but not fully because they need you to be somewhat conscious to confirm if there’s pain or not. The anesthesia is supposed to cause amnesia but it doesn’t work on some patients, leaving them 100% aware during the procedure. A terrifying thought.
So I sat in the hospital having an anxiety attack and the doctor asked me what kind of conservative pain therapy I’d had. I said none. And he was appalled. “I’ve never performed this procedure on someone who hasn’t had conservative therapy before. Your pain specialist should’ve been giving you epidurals for months before sending you to this procedure. This procedure won’t reduce your pain it’s only done for people who are going to get spinal surgery.”
I’d never been so mad in my life. A seventh doctor had refused to help me. He was too lazy to do the therapy and sent me ahead to prep for a surgery I might not need because it was easier for him than putting in the time and effort to sufficiently help me. I was written off—again—by a male healthcare professional.
So I was sent home without the procedure and given the info of another doctor to call for pain therapy. I called multiple times and left multiple messages. I still have not received a response.
As I write this I’m laying on a heating pad, crying and sick from the pain. No one will help me and it’s ridiculous to think that my being a woman has nothing to do with it. It’s been statistically proven that women are believed less than men when it comes to medical care. Gilda Radner begged doctors for years to test her for cancer. They refused. When they finally did, it was too late—she died. I had been informed that if my pain had been treated when it first began almost two years ago it never would’ve reached the debilitating state I am now in.
I am devastated. It is so hard just to stand sometimes. I had to quit my job because I was falling down constantly. I’d come home from my shifts and collapse or pass out from the pain. I can no longer function normally. I’m thousands of dollars in debt from paying for copays, massage therapy and medicine, all for people who refused to help me when they were more than capable of doing so. Healthcare in America is abysmal, my life has been horribly affected by this disease and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of it getting better anytime soon.
Believe people, women and men and non-binary folks alike when they say they’re in pain. Help people when they beg you to. Healthcare professionals—do your fucking job.
1. Bad With Money by Gaby Dunn—Loved it
I never thought I’d love a financial book so much, but this book blew my mind.
2. The Wicked King by Holly Black—Loved it
I have a few small gripes w/The Folk of the Air series but this book infected me it was so good.
3. (re-read) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley—Loved it
Mary Shelley is a gift from God, of course I loved this.
4. (re-read) The Collected Poems of Edgar Allan Poe—Loved it
Poe is my favorite poet of all time, I will forever stan his poetry.
5. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden—Liked it
Lackluster compared to the first book in the series, The Bear and The Nightingale
6. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden—Didn’t Like it
A meandering and somewhat annoying conclusion to the series. Honestly don’t feel like this should’ve been a series. The first book was gold on its own.
7. Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss—Didn’t Like it
A mess. Just a total mess.
8. The Carrying by Ada Limon—Liked it
Really stunning poetry, but as usual when I read Limon’s work, it’s overwritten and I find many of the poems to not be very good.
9. A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver—Hated it
I respect Oliver, I just personally hate her poetry.
10. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson—Liked it
This book is about cancel culture and filled me with anxiety. Fun read, but was too stressful for my taste.
11. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde—Didn’t Like it
Just a really poor attempt at a Jane Eyre adaptation.
12. Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked by Catherine Ornstein—Liked it
Brilliant, but a bit too slow in parts.
13. Enchenteé by Gita Trelease—Hated it
I honestly just think this is a really bad book.
14. Antony & Cleopatra by Shakespeare—Liked it
Really fun read, wish the women had had more scenes.
15. The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin—Didn’t Like it
At first I thought I enjoyed the book, but the longer I sat with it I realized there was a lot of elements I found unresolved and somewhat sickening in a bad way. Was also incredibly lacking in any form of diversity, which didn’t feel realistic for a book set in modern day New York City.
16. Daisy Jones & The six by Taylor Jenkins Reid—Hated it
Many people liked this book on BookTube this year, but again, I just thought it was a poorly written book.
17. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi—Hated it
I honestly felt like reading this was a complete waste of my time.
18. Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley—Liked it
A solid poetry collection. I liked some poems, didn’t really care for some others.
19. A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer—Loved it
I think this was an excellent book. Creative Beauty and the Beast re-telling that pays homage to elements of the og classic. Loved the main character. Loved the diversity. Very enthralling. Read it in a day.
20. (re-read) Julius Caesar by Shakespeare—Loved it
This will forever be my favorite Shakespeare play. I think it’s brilliant.
21. In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire—Loved it
Very clever, my favorite in the series.
22. (re-read) Beauty and the Beast by Madame de Villeneuve—Liked it
I’ve always enjoyed this classic. I don’t think it’s brilliant in execution, but it is the original story that has become a cultural phenomenon.
23. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter—Didn’t Like it
Sad I didn’t enjoy this more since it’s so big in the folklore community.
24. Phases of the Moon by Gail Braune Comorat—Liked it
Very sweet book. Fun read. I didn’t think the poetry was very profound or life-changing, but I had fun reading it.
25. The Devouring Grey by Christine Lynn Herman—Hated it
Huge disappointment. Couldn’t stand it. Wish I had DNFed.
26. Abandon by Meg Cabot—Loved it
I adored this book.
27. Underworld by Meg Cabot—Loved it
I think this was the weakest in the series, but still thought it was fantastic.
28. Awaken by Meg Cabot—Loved it
I think this book was targeted at a lower age group than me, which is totally fine but it made the ending a bit too cheerful & unrealistic for my tastes. However, I still really loved it.
29. Branches Second Edition by Rhiannon McGavin—Loved it
Adored it. McGavin is a brilliant poet.
30. Insatiable by Meg Cabot—Hated it
Hated this. I think it’s a terrible book. Worst book I read this year, and one of the worst books I’ve read in my life.
31. White Stag by Kara Barbrieri—Liked it
Was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It was originally a Wattpad novel and I tend to be pretentious towards self-published works, but Barbrieri really blew me away with this fun goblin lore story.
32. Finale by Stephanie Garber—Liked it
Was sadly a bit disappointed in this as the conclusion to my favorite trilogy. But still really enjoyed it and think it’s a fun read.
33. Again, but Better by Christine Riccio—Liked it
For the most part I had fun reading this book, and Christine is a lovely human, but overall, I found this book to be very mediocre.
34. (re-read) Illuminae by Amiee Kauffman & Jay Kristoff—Loved it
Re-read via audiobook and it was a wild ride.
35. (re-read) Gemina by Amiee Kauffman & Jay Kristoff—Loved it
36. (re-read) Obsidio by Amiee Kauffman & Jay Kristoff—Liked it
I always have the same issue with the ending of this series. It’s unrealisticly happy for a war novel. Also a futuristic space story that’s only full of straight, cis people will always annoy me.
37. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman—Liked it
Enjoyed it, but found it to be a little slow and the prose to be very bland.
38. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe—Hated it
Even Poe later in his life said this book wasn’t very good. It’s racist and incredibly boring. Not a fan.
39. (re-read) Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe—Loved it
Poe’s writing evolved throughout his life and his tales will always be fantastic in my opinion.
40. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows—Hated it
Yet another terrible attempt at a Jane Eyre re-telling. Wish I had DNFed.
41. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren—Didn’t Like it
Very disappointing, lackluster romance.
42. Please Send Help by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin—Loved it
These ladies always deliver.
43. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager—Liked it
Very fun. But a bit too shalow with bland characters.
44. The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart by Gabrielle Calvorcoressi—Liked it
A little all over the place but enjoyed it.
45. The House of Montressor by Enrica Jang—Didn’t Like it
Too confusing for me, found it hard to latch on to any character. Very trite and over done plot threads in my opinion.
46. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isobel Sterling—Didn’t Like it
Not very exciting. Didn’t deliver on the witchy vibe it promised.
47. Wilder Girls by Rory Power—Hated it
My God was this boring.
48. Damsel by Elena K. Arnold—Loved it
Amazing. This book really spoke to me. Intense, but worth it in my opinion.
49. In a Beautiful Country by Kevin Pruffer—Liked it
Decent. Had some issues with his choice of language in certain poems.
50. His Hideous Heart edited by Dhalia Alder—Hated it
No. Just no.
51. Harley vs. Apololips by Alison Burges—Didn’t Like it
Disappointing Harley Quinn installment, and that’s coming from a Harley Quinn stan.
52. (re-read) Through the Woods by Emily Carrol—Didn’t Like it
Markets itself as horror and is completely lacking in any.
53. Ash by Melinda Lo—Hated it
Boring. Wish I had DNFed.
54. The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang—Loved it
Beautiful book about breaking the gender binary and self-acceptance. Beautiful family and friendship dynamic. Lovely read.
55. All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle—Loved it
Absolutely stunning. Marvelous prose. Heartbreaking plot. Couldn’t put it down.
56. The Vampyre by Dr. Jon Polidori—Hated it
Not my cup of tea.
57. Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood—Didn’t Like it
Disappointing. Was marketed as poetry about true crime when only a handful of poems fell into that category. Boring. A lot of poems felt unpolished compared to her powerful and succinct debut chapbook.
58. The Beautiful by René Adieh—Hated it
Really disliked this. It was boring and marketed as a vampire novel with almost no vampires. The romance was bland. The characters were flat, and the plot was dull.
59. Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki—Liked it
Really fun new origin story.
60. Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman—Liked it
Enjoyable but I’m personally tired of the villain was actually good and the hero was actually bad trope. Lacks nuance.
61. (re-read) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley/Gris Grimley’s Illustrated version—Loved it
62. Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky—Hated it
The whole thing is a bible allegory. And a very poor one in my opinion. Deeply wish I had DNFed. Paced terribly, unrealistic characters, marketed as horror and was anything but.
63. Mooncakes by Wendy Xu—Liked it
Adorable and full of much-needed representation. Beautiful artwork, cute, queer romance mixed with witchcraft. Yes, please.
64. Queen of Nothing by Holly Black—Liked it
A little all over the place, and the ending felt a little too happily ever after for the tone of this series. Enjoyed it, some good scenes between Cardan and Jude, but sadly a marginal conclusion to the trilogy in my opinion.
65. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern—Loved it
This is my favorite book of the year and one of the best books I’ve ever read. The story chronicles a young man’s deep dive into an underground world of infinite stories and beyond comprehensible magic. If you’re a portal fantasy lover like me, I urge you to pick up this book.
I’m releasing a podcast with my sister, Katy, in 2020! It’s all about covering the plots of classic literature in a comedic fashion! I have a degree in english, am a published award winning writer who has read many classics, my sister is an elementary school teacher who has read Harry Potter many times.
Each episode I will recount the plots of classic books to her in a comedic fashion while she reacts in real time in a comedic fashion.
Listen to our trailer here (trailer is currently on YouTube & SoundCloud but will be coming to Apple Music & Spotify soon!)
Our first episode is on Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE
“I, myself, am strange and unusual.”
Beeltejuice the second film from acclaimed director Tim Burton hit the big screen in 1988 and since then has become a cult classic. With it’s vibrant, campy, and all around over the top nature that is a staple of Burton’s, it wasn’t surprising to many when the movie became a Broadway musical. The musical, Beetlejuice The Musical. The Musical. The Musical. opened at the Winter Garden Theatre on Broadway on April 25th, 2019. While it’s start was a bit rocky, with critics insulting the very elements of the show that made it Beetlejuice, the show quickly gained a cult following just as strong—if not stronger than—its 1988 source material. I am a proud member of the Beetlejuice The Musical cult following. This musical has played such a monumental role in helping me cope with my mental health, and I hadn’t ever even seen the original movie when I bought my tickets to the show.
I was a total 90s Disney Princess girl, the odd and creepy works of Burton did not interest me, so I never saw Beetlejuice when I was growing up. As I got older and took interest in fun, campy, spooky flicks like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Young Frankenstein, no one in my life ever suggested Beetlejuice and so it never occurred to me to give it a watch. Then I watched the 2019 Tony Awards and saw Alex Brightman’s amazing performance. I looked up the trailer for the musical. Then I texted my sister—a huge Tim Burton fan—and told her I was buying us tickets for her birthday in June. Two weeks later we were in line outside The Winter Garden.
By this point I had watched the film, and I thought it was…okay. I didn’t adore it, but I enjoyed it. However the two characters I found the most compelling and interesting to watch, Beetlejuice and Lydia, were barely in it. If you’ve seen the movie then you know that roughly 80% of the screen time goes to the Maitlands. They’re boring and their story is pretty boring. Beetlejuice and Lydia are the most exciting, and Tim Burton-y things about the film, but aside from one really great scene where they meet for the first time, I felt unsatisfied with their story. I also found the film’s comedic approach to death neither spooky, or really that funny either. Not in an ‘oh I’m offended by them joking about death,’ sort of way, but rather that I showed up for death jokes and they were just poorly written.
All that being said, I thought it was a fun film and knew based on the clips I’d looked up online that it would be a fun musical. Less than ten minutes into the show, after the opening numbers Prologue and The Whole Being Dead Thing pt. 1 had commenced, I turned to my sister and said, “this is the best thing I have ever seen.” And I meant it. I could already tell that the musical would excel where the movie (in my opinion) failed. The entire opening Beetlejuice is making morbid death jokes and they’re hilarious. The audience was dying (pun intended). They literally say many times throughout the song, “Welcome to a show about death.”
I’ve been to my fair share of live theatre, both professional and amateur, and I have never heard an audience applaud as loudly, as enthusiastically, and for as long as we did in the audience at Beeltejuice at the end of the opening number. Every moment after that I was in a state of sheer joy. I was so happy and I sincerely couldn’t remember the last time I’d been so. Why? Because I suffer from a mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is often confused with Bipolar Disorder, and while the two share similarities, they are not one in the same. BPD essentially means that I have no consistent emotional control. The disorder is usually caused by suffering a severe emotional trauma before the age of five. Because of this, my emotional control is often similar to that of a child’s. If I feel like I need to cry, even if I know what’s making me upset or angry is irrational or inconsequential, it’s impossible to stop a crying spell from overcoming me. The same with anger, anxiety, and fear. It’s hard for me to read emotional reactions correctly in others. I overthink every word everyone says to me. If my mom answers a question a certain way because she’s just exhausted, my brain takes it to mean she’s furious with me. I, like many with BPD, was wrongly diagnosed several times before a psychiatrist was able to correctly recognize it. At 16 I was told I had situational depression. At 18 I was told I had chronic depression and anxiety. At 20 I was told I had Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). And at 23 I was told I had Bipolar II. I knew in my heart that none of these were right because the symptoms did not line up with anything I felt, and what was worse is one of the symptoms of BPD is the struggle to properly convey how you feel into words.
I am on mood stabilizers now which SERIOUSLY HELP with my mood swings, crying spells, and irrational anger. But every day is still a struggle. Reading emotions and properly interpreting them is a never ending challenge. And I still feel ashamed. This essay is the first time I’m being completely candid about my mental illness online. There is such a stigma in today’s society against personality, mood, and psychotic disorders. While, thanks to strong vocal advocacy over the past few years, depression and anxiety have become more widely accepted and respected as legitimate struggles that don’t define who you are as a person—personality, mood, and psychotic disorders have not. I’m terrified when I tell people that I have BPD, because the first person I told outside of my family—a close friend—left. Said she couldn’t handle the ‘pressure’ and ‘burden’ that came with having a friend with these problems. Some people would pretend to care and then feel entitled to my pain, and think my illness was their information to share with others simply because I’d confided in them. So after friends and partners got scared of my BPD, annoyed by it, or used it as a card to play against me, I stopped telling anyone I had it. Which leads me to my biggest struggle with BPD—I’m almost never happy.
When I first tell people this they tell me that’s impossible, how can someone never be happy? Well, I’m not never happy, just almost never. I enjoy things, but joy isn’t happiness, it’s a distraction from sadness. And when your brain tells you you’re a burden, and you can’t explain your intense emotions to anyone, and you’re afraid if you do try and tell someone that you have these problems, they’ll think you’re crazy; then loneliness gets added to the immense daily sadness. It had gotten to a point where I couldn’t really remember what happiness felt like. And the worst thing of all was that I’d become so good at pretending to be okay—pretending to be happy—because I didn’t want to be a ‘burden’ on my loved ones, that no one realized I was devastated every single day. It was like needing help putting out a fire that no one else could see. I was burning. I was invisible.
Flash forward to sitting at Beetlejuice The Musical for the first time, and the first lyrics sung by Lydia Deetz as she stands over her mother’s coffin: (a bold departure from the original source material as Beetlejuice himself jokes after this song). “You’re invisible when you’re sad.” As Lydia sang the rest of the song all I could think was: “Someone else gets it. Oh my god someone else actually gets it.”
The plot differs heavily from the film (and in my opinion, for the better). In this version Beetlejuice and Lydia are the main characters. And they’re not enemies. They’re friends. The entire musical doesn’t focus on the Maitlands dying (a side element in this version), but on how a demon from hell and a grieving teenage girl find solace in their shared sorrow of feeling alone in their pain.
Lydia’s mother has recently died and her father is refusing to openly grieve. He’s trying to move on with his life and is aggressively trying to force Lydia to do the same. Made evident in the song Dead Mom that Lydia sings in Act I “Everyday Dad’s looking at me like, ‘hurry up, get happy.'” Lydia tries to tell her dad multiple times how serious and debilitating her depression and grief over her mother’s death is, but he doesn’t really listen to her. So Lydia who feels invisible meets Beetlejuice who is invisible.
In the stage show Beetlejuice is only visible to the dead. The only way he can become visible to the living is if a living person says his name three times in a row; since most ghosts head straight to the Netherworld once they die, he has been completely alone for what we can only assume is decades, if not centuries. When the Maitlands die Beetlejuice is thrilled, thinking he’s finally found friends who can help him become visible to the human world. But Beetlejuice is still Beetlejuice, even in this friendlier version, and the Maitlands make it clear that they want nothing to do with him. So as Beetlejuice sits alone on the roof, isolated again from the only people who can even see him, Lydia climbs onto the roof to commit suicide, and it is Beetlejuice who talks her down through a song called Say My Name which is my favorite part of the entire show.
Beetlejuice, like in the film, tries to convince Lydia not to kill herself and to become friends with him instead, specifically by saying his name three times. While in the movie Lydia’s suicide plotline is treated like a total joke, played for laughs, in the musical (while there are still jokes) her desire to kill herself is taken legitimately and Beetlejuice doesn’t brush it off the way everyone else in her life has up until this point.
In the scene prior to this one Lydia tells her dad “I wish I was dead,” and he proceeds to do nothing about it. Beetlejuice—a literal demon from hell as the musical states—sees a teenage girl about to throw herself off a roof and tries actively to save her. As the song progresses his pleas for her to not jump turn from silly to serious. When Lydia sings: “I think I’d rather just jump off!” Beetlejuice lunges to stop her and shouts: “No!” He doesn’t even sing the word—he shouts it. Even from the cheap seats in the theatre (obviously where I was sitting) you can see the concern on his face. You can tell he cares that she lives. And Lydia listens. She doesn’t jump. By the end of their duet they’ve resorted back to jokes, which is a common defense mechanism for people suffering from mental illness. Specifically Borderline Personality Disorder. Which brings me to the biggest reason why Beetlejuice The Musical so deeply speaks to me. The entire show reads (to me at least) like Beetlejuice and Lydia have BPD.
Most of Lydia’s songs are her singing about her complete inability to be happy. Beetlejuice states at one point in the show that he’s happy and has no idea how to deal with it because he’s “never felt this way before.” Which leads him through a mental downward spiral as he tries to make sense of his emotions. The second Act begins with the two of them scaring everyone who knocks on the front door of the house, because the only way the two of them know how to process all the emotions everyone else has been ignoring up until now, is by making others scream in terror. Lydia even sings: “I was invisible but now they all see…because of that shrill symphony.” They constantly yell at or threaten those around them, even if they care about them, because they have no idea how to cope with everything they’re going through. At one point Lydia ignores Beetlejuice when he asks her to stay with him. As she leaves he cries out “Why does everyone keep leaving me?”
In a later number the Maitlands realize how narrow-minded they’ve been after Lydia comes to see them. Adam calls Beetlejuice a ‘monster’ and Lydia just reacts by smiling and saying, “Yeah, but he’s my monster.” The Maitlands then sing Barbara 2.0 where they realize they need to work harder to take care of Lydia. “What we cannot ignore is that Lydia needs us…that must be the reason she sees us.”
Later in the show Lydia and Beetlejuice begin to lash out at each other. At one point Lydia’s dad says how much he hates Beetlejuice and Lydia responds by saying, “I feel sorry for the guy…he’s the loneliest person I’ve ever met.”
The end of the show plays out quite differently than it does in the film regarding the exorcism and wedding scenes. They’re more goofy and less devastating, and there is an entire song sung to point out how creepy the wedding scene in the movie was (the song is literally called Creepy Old Guy). In the end, Beetlejuice decides to go to the Netherworld. Before he leaves he hugs Lydia goodbye and says: “Scarecrow, I think I’ll miss you most of all.”
The show commences with a remix of the song Jump in the Line from the famous scene in the movie where Lydia levitates (yes she does levitate in the musical too and I have no clue how they do that on stage, it’s amazing). As the classic song nears the end, Lydia sings to her dead mother, hoping she can hear her from the beyond, “Seek a little strange and unusual and you will find, life beyond all comprehension. A mess in multiple dimensions. A little unconventional I know, but Mama, I’m home.”
As soon as my sister and I left the theatre I said to her “I need to see that again.” I could tell she thought I was kidding, but a month later (despite the ridiculous Broadway ticket prices, even for cheap seats and my making minimum wage) I was back at the Winter Garden with my friend Erin.
I had planned to continue to see the show at least once a year for many years to come. It was doing so well at the box office and had a huge fanbase and online following I, and many other fans assumed it would run for awhile. But then it was announced that the show was being evicted to make way for a Music Man revival starring Hugh Jackman.
I was—I am—devastated. Here is this new, modern musical, with original music that tells the story of two, clearly, mentally ill people, suffering and grieving in their own ways and then building a friendship with each other. And despite all the trials and tribulations that come with their friendship, by the end they’re both better and stronger because of it.
I went online after I heard the news and I found posts from people with similar stories and experiences with the show as mine. This musical faces the topics of death, grief, depression, suicide, and intense emotional spirals head on. It is because of this that the show has helped so many people who struggle with those things every single day. Singing the songs has helped me through depressive episodes, or crying spells; it’s even helped me come down from anxiety attacks.
I couldn’t not go see the show again before it’s eviction. So I got tickets for June 6th, the final day of the show’s run. I’m thrilled to see it again. But the idea that it might really be the end of Beetlejuice on Broadway is heartbreaking. Not to mention how many hardworking individuals, who spent seven years working to bring this masterpiece to life, will be out of a job so a show that’s already been revived several times, starring a celebrity millionaire, can take it’s place. There are other theatres The Music Man could go to, they don’t need to take Beetlejuice’s. But Broadway, it would seem time and time again, does not value it’s younger fanbase. This weird, quirky, macabre, and heartfelt show hits home with young adults and kids more so than it seems to with it’s older Broadway patrons; which, let’s be real, are mostly rich white people.
Is all hope lost? No, there is a national tour coming, and no the musical won’t suddenly vanish from the pages of history. But it comes down to the principle of the thing. Imagine how it feels to be one of us Beetlejuice The Musical fans who has felt seen, and saved by seeing parts of ourselves and our daily struggles portrayed on a Broadway stage to sold out shows; imagine then how it feels to be told that that doesn’t matter as much as a Music Man revival. I’m sorry if The Music Man is your all time favorite musical, it doesn’t deserve that theatre, that stage, that right to perform anymore than Beetlejuice does. They could’ve found a home for that show without taking the home of a show that speaks to and advocates for a community of people that are so often ignored or belittled. To me and to many others, Beetlejuice The Musical is home.
Here is a petition to sign to #SaveBeetlejuice ( https://www.change.org/p/shubert-organization-save-beetlejuice-the-musical?source_location=topic_page) will it do anything? Who knows, petitions are infamous for not getting anything accomplished. But even if the people involved in creating this musical are the only ones who see it, that still matters. Let them know how much this show means to us. To Broadway. To the entire theatre community. To all us fans who feel a little less alone. A little less invisible because of the ghost with the most.
So, to the cast and crew and creative team and anyone involved in any way in making Beetlejuice The Musical a reality for as long as you have, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my soul. I am a very sad person, but when I see this show again in June, I know for sure that those are a few hours when I will be completely, and truly happy.
GUESTS: Sarah Allison: Librarian & Writer Website: http://www.writinginmargins.weebly.com
Davonna Juroe: Bestselling Author of “Scarlette: A Gothic Fairytale”, “Winterbay,” Abbey: A Ghost Story”, and “Seeing Red” Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Davonna-Juroe/…
Jackson Medel: Folklorist
find out more about his work at the Salisbury MD Ward Museum here: https://www.wardmuseum.org/about-the-…
Austin Webberly: BookTuber & Writer YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIrD…
Read some of his writing here: https://theelephantladder.wordpress.c…https://theelephantladder.wordpress.c…
Jeana Jorgensen, PhD: Folklorist, Sex Educator, Writer & Dancer
The Foxy Folklorist Blog: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/foxyfolk…
Sex Education Website: http://doctorjeana.com/
Written, Directed & Edited by: Molly Likovich
Cinematography by: Andrew Likovich
Research conducted by: Molly Likovich
Some research materials funded by: Susan Marie Doyle