The showstopping setpieces and extravagant songs featured in Broadway productions are often only experienced by an exclusive club of New York socialites. Thankfully, the Hanover Theater in Worcester spotlights star-studded glamor right here in Massachusetts.

I must disclose that I’ve never been a massive fan of theatrical plays. It is impossible not to appreciate the artistry on display, from grandiose sets to the passionate performances that take center stage. Nevertheless, my short attention span is often losing focus during these productions. Without the precise lensing of a film camera, my eyes will drift across the stage, noticing minute details rather than investing in the story. I’ve even fallen asleep in my lowest moment — a fact that my girlfriend, who works in the performance arts industry, will never let me live down.

After years of so-so ventures, “Beetlejuice” delivers the rare stage experience that engrossed me from start to finish. This affectionately bawdy and exuberant reimaging of Tim Burton’s macabre film accomplishes a feat most remakes never strive for. It escapes its predecessor’s shadow and forms a refreshing new perspective in the process.

“Beetlejuice” exists as a distinctly Burton creation, mainly due to its infusion of gothic sensibilities with a light-hearted comedic bite. The “Beetlejuice” stage show plays in a similar sandbox but invigorates the formula through its sharp modern lens. Gone are Michael Keaton’s nightmarish quips. In their place, Beetlejuice dawns a self-referential edge as he immerses himself in our zeitgeist’s amorality. Gags aimed at controversial political topics slice with incisive wit throughout. I credit the entire show for embracing a colorful modern lens; it always kept me on my toes to see what clever reinterpretation would come next.

As a theatrical production, “Beetlejuice” truly sings. The immersive sets come to life as the aesthetics infuse vibrancy into the material’s ghoulish imagery. All the songs harmonize seamlessly within each narrative thread, while the whip-smart lyrics are undeniably appealing in their imaginative recontextualization of Burton’s film. “Beetlejuice” also benefits from a brilliant cast, with the core actors commanding the stage with effervescent charisma.

Leave it to “Beetlejuice” to convert a non-theater faithful like me. I would dare say the show was as good, if not better than what Burton created onscreen. Some will undoubtedly debate that statement, but everyone should embrace the ingenious ways the “Beetlejuice” stage show redefines a world audiences treasured so fondly. I hope to see more remakes follow the “Beetlejuice” blueprint by taking exciting risks with pre-existing material.

The Hanover Theater is also hosting a variety of other Broadway productions this season. Here is their full schedule: “My Fair Lady” — Friday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 18
“Little Women The Broadway Musical” — Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 24
“Jagged Little Pill” — Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7
“To Kill a Mockingbird” — Friday, May through Sunday, May 5

Matt Conway
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