On The Scene: BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE MUSICAL’s First Preview

On The Scene

Roger Bart and Casey Likes | Photo: Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade

Kobi Kassal
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July 1, 2023 1:05 PM

A sea of red puffer vests lined up down Broadway can only mean one thing… Back To The Future: The Musical has officially landed in New York City. After many years in development, and a critically acclaimed run in London, the cult classic has finally landed on the Great White Way and Theatrely was there at its first preview to capture the night. 

On a hazy October morning last Fall, news broke that we here in New York City were about to graced with our latest musical adaptation and that Tony winner Roger Bart and Hugh Coles would return as Dr. Emmett Brown and George McFly, respectively after creating the roles in the original London company. Over the coming months, we would receive more casting news including a slew of Broadway favorites from Jelani Remy as Goldie Wilson/Marvin Berry and Liana Hunt as Lorraine Baines McFly. The internet really sparked when Casey Likes who was seen in Almost Famous last season would step into the shoes of Marty McFly. All eyes were pointed to the first preview to see just how American audiences would receive the Olivier-winning hit.

Walking up to the Winter Garden, last inhabited by Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster’s The Music Man, you could feel the palpable energy on the street. By my count, I saw at least 25 excited audience members donning their red jackets as Marty, many sporting his iconic hat, a few Docs complete with the white wig, and even two custom shirts with Likes’ face printed across the front. Of course there was a parked DeLorean right outside the stage door.

Walking into the theatre, I spoke with Kate, who along with her mother Michelle, traveled up to New York City from Sarasota just to be at the first preview. Huge fans of the film franchise, when Kate learned of the musical’s arrival, she immediately texted her mother and plans were made to get to the show. “We try to get to the city once a year and see a show, and when we saw this news, we just had to be here.”

Casey Likes | Photo: Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade

During last night’s performance, we celebrated the Broadway debuts of seven actors including Coles—who joins us from London—Will Branner, Victoria Byrd, Bendon Chan, Nick Drake, Hannah Kevitt, and Mikaela Secada. As the curtain rose, the audience cheered on the cast for the entirety of the two and a half hour musical. Giant ovations were given anytime a new character would enter, a famous line was spoken, and even the entrance of the Twin Pines Mall sign. 

On the street after the show, the audience poured out onto Broadway buzzing. As I stopped into the new Back to the Future merch store located next door (yes, you read that correctly), many fans could not believe what they just watched. “That was truly one of the greatest shows I have ever seen in my life,” said one father who was purchasing magnets for his children. 

So for now, get to the Winter Garden Theatre where Back to the Future: The Musical is now officially in performances eight times a week. The show’s official opening is set for just over a month away on August 3. If you aren’t in New York City, don’t fret — producers have also announced a National Tour that will launch at Proctors in Schenectady, New York, in June of 2024, and you can always listen to the Original London Cast Recording, which is now streaming on all music platforms. 

For tickets and more information, visit here

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Kobi Kassal

Hailing from sunny South Florida, Kobi Kassal founded Theatrely (formerly Theatre Talk Boston) while attending Boston University. He is an avid theatre attender and can be found seeing a performance most nights of the week (in normal times!) He is interested in the cross section of theatre, popular culture, hospitality, and politics. He also loves a good bagel!

On The Scene
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