Rebecca May Ristow | A&E Editor
Great Scott, you heard that right! The iconic film, Back to the Future, is now a musical. The story, adapted for stage by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, creators of the original film trilogy, is set to premiere on Broadway next summer. The musical originally expected to make its debut in London’s West End in 2015, inspired by the date the characters went to after time-traveling in the second film, but after creative differences with stage director Jamie Lloyd, Gale and Zemeckis decided to push back the production’s premiere. Finally, in March 2020, the show had its first performance at the Manchester Opera House. Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the show eventually transferred to West End.
Marty McFly, regular teenager, finds himself transported back to 1955 by the fantastical scientist Doc Brown; he unintentionally changes the future, nearly writing himself out of existence. He must go back in time to set history back on course! The original 1985 film is considered a must-see classic with a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score, an 8.5/10 on IMDb, and a gross of 381.1 million dollars, making it the highest grossing film of the year. The musical doesn’t abandon any of this, staying true to the movie’s iconic story line.
The musical features an original score, as well as the critical songs from the movie’s soundtrack. It cycles between the music of Alan Silvestri, composer for the original film (and for Avengers: Endgame), as well as Glen Ballard, his frequent collaborator. Ballard’s most recognizable songwriting credits range from Alanis Morissette's 1995 album Jagged Little Pill to co-writing for Michael Jackson. He is the founder of Java Records and wrote some of the music for The Polar Express. So, yeah, he has the range. Besides the original score, the musical additionally has all of the beloved music from the film including “The Power of Love”, “Johnny B. Goode”, and, of course, “Back in Time”.
The original West End cast, as pictured above, featured Olly Dobson as Marty McFly and Roger Bart as Emmett "Doc" Brown. Bart is a Tony award winner for his role as Snoopy in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, but he also holds a Tony nomination for his role as Carmen Ghia in The Producers. He is additionally the vocalist behind the song “Go the Distance” from the movie Hercules. Interestingly enough, he is also originally from Norwalk, Connecticut! He is by far, one of the most qualified people to represent such an iconic character and, luckily enough, he will be reprising his role on Broadway in 2023! Following him will be Hugh Coles, London’s George McFly.
The musical has been critically acclaimed already, winning the 2022 Olivier Award for Best New Musical and is still having performances at the Adelphi Theater. The Telegraph and The Daily Mail both gave it five stars, the Telegraph writing that it was “magnificent” and “a feel good triumph”. The Mail on Sunday called it “a whacking great hit of spectacle, entertainment, and nostalgia”. The show has also been referred to as theatrical wizardry and visually incredible, with engineering that’s nearly impossible to pull your eyes away from.
The show will begin performances on June 30 at the Winter Garden Theater, replacing classic musical, The Music Man. Tickets are on sale now!