At the end of last year, it was announced that a revival of the Music Man featuring Hugh Jackman would be opening at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York thereby kicking Beetlejuice out of its home in June 2020. As a popular and well-loved show, this decision was not made by the team behind Beetlejuice but rather the theatre itself decided that the Hugh Jackman show would be more successful and therefore make more money. Since then, there have been whispers about moving locations and a possible US tour to keep the show alive. Beetlejuice himself, Alex Brightman, even stated that their departure from the Winter Garden Theatre is “not the end of Beetlejuice” leading to many speculations about where the show will be heading next. As of now, there is no confirmation as to what will happen to the show, however, the rumours and speculations have taken a turn to focus on the show’s leading lady, Sophia Anne Caruso.
With less than 4 months left until the show is set to close, the 18-year-old Broadway star posted a simple note on her Instagram story last week stating “if you planned tickets to see me, please note that Weds eve (19th) was my last performance of Beetlejuice. I will not be doing any future performances from it.” Further released information found that Caruso used her contractual out to leave the show to pursue opportunities in television. She has been with the show since it’s out of town tryout in Washington and is a fan favourite, with only a short period before the show closes leaving now seems like an odd decision if you don’t look at the bigger picture.
In my opinion, cutting Caruso from the show is a pretty risky business move so close to the end of the show, and therefore was probably not a decision that was easy to make. So what caused Caruso’s exit? There is the contractual out that was used meaning that Caruso can exit the show whenever she wants despite what producers may want. That in itself doesn’t seem sketchy, what is sketchy is the lack of prior announcement. Usually, when an actor leaves the show they are currently in there is a big emotional curtain call and endless heartfelt Instagram posts, Caruso only uploaded a story saying she had already left and a vague goodbye post a few days later.
From what I can gather, it seems like it was a quick decision on Caruso’s behalf which was made with the assumption that Beetlejuice would be closing in a few months and therefore she would be unemployed. Broadway and show business is a pretty brutal industry so I’m not surprised that Caruso decided to jump at any opportunities when she had the chance. Rumours are trailing about Reddit about drug abuse and arguments with fellow cast members but there’s no evidence to support these and are putting Caruso in a bad light. Whether these are true or not is irrelevant, what is interesting here is the clear suggestions that Beetlejuice is struggling to find a new home and cast members are looking to their future careers.
As a career move, this could be promising for Sophia Anne Caruso as she shifts her focus from stage to television. However, the exit could be a massive financial and image hit for the show itself in the last few months of its run as the production seems to be clouded in drama and rumours. Even though the future of Beetlejuice is still unknown to the public, this quick and strategic departure by Caruso isn’t suggesting anything other than disaster for the future for the show. Caruso may have saved herself from sinking with the production after it closes, however, for the show this might be the large hit it was trying to avoid when deciding its next move.