Are you ready to travel Back to the Future? The 80’s cult classic transforms into an immersive, live theatre show, bringing Marty McFly and Dr Brown back to your present. Opening on 20th February 2020 for a limited 12 week run, Back to the Future The Musical will play at Manchester Opera House before transferring to the West End.
Excited yet? Us too, and we were super delighted to attend the special launch party at Albert Hall, Manchester to catch up with the cast and creatives. With special guest appearances from Bob Gale, producer Colin Ingram, Olly Dobson (Marty), Roger Bart (Dr. Brown) and Christopher Lloyd himself (aka the original Dr. Brown), we got the inside scoop about Back to the Future the Musical.
What is Back to the Future the Musical about?
Over 34 years on, the film starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd is still a firm favourite in family households. Ambitious rebel Marty accidentally travels back in time to find himself at high school with his parents. He befriends his father and thwarts the romantic interest of his mother, trying to protect his future existence along the way.
The sci-fi phenomenon was the highest-grossing film of 1985, and lead to two spin-offs. The film’s co-writer Bob Gale confirms the trilogy will remain as such, with there being no chance of a fourth edition or a reboot. Instead of ‘messing with the franchise’ or ‘ruining childhoods’, Gale insists we can fall back in love with Back to the Future through this fresh new musical.
The production is based on the film of the same name, which as cultivated a huge fan base over the years. Bob Gale wrote the story after discovering a photo of his dad in high school in the 1940s. He wondered what it would be like to be with him in school, and thus the premise for the film was born.
He reveals that the concept for the film was actually rejected around 40 times before it passed. To him, it’s consequently a story of perseverance both behind the scenes and in the plot.
While inspired by the hit 1985 film, Gale insists the musical is not a ‘slavish adaptation’. Instead, it’s a reinterpreting of it.
“You have to think about what does stage do well and what doesn’t it do well. So for example, car chases aren’t so great on stage, but singing and dancing are. So the musical doesn’t have every iconic scene, but instead it has lots of new numbers to get excited about.”Bob Gale, Creator
When does Back to the Future the Musical open?
The musical will make its debut at Manchester Opera House on 20th February 2020. It will run for 12 weeks only, until 17th May 2020, before transferring to the West End (dates and venue TBC).
Who are the cast, crew and creatives?
Taking on the lead role, Olly Dobson (Bat Out of Hell, Matilda the Musical), plays Marty McFly. He described feeling ‘absolutely stoked’ about landing the role, and working on such a momentous production.
Joining him is Roger Bart (The Producers, You’e a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Desperate Housewives, Disney’s Hercules). From stage to screen, Bart has had many fantastic and diverse roles. However, none seem to compare to playing the epic Dr Emmet Brown in this musical production.
“Each song reveals something about Doc Brown’s character. They enable us characters to expose different feelings and for us to uncover different aspects of his character.”Roger Bart, Dr. Emmet Brown
Christopher Lloyd declared he’s happy that Dr Emmet Brown is coming to stage, claiming he can now watch himself sing and dance!
There’s also an astonishingly talented team creating Back to Future the Musical. It’s an exciting blend of people who worked on the original movie and big names from the world of theatre. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis created the original film, and are back together for the show.
“It has one of the best teams imaginable…it has fantastic special effects and is a totally immersive experience for audiences. This musical will change history – doing things that have never been done before. For example, when Marty time travels, you will feel a sense of movement.”Colin Ingram, Producer
They’re joined by producer Colin Ingram (Ghost the Musical) and Tony Award-winner director John Rando (Urinetown the Musical), who makes his UK directorial debut.
Award-winning Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard have written music such as Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror and for the Avengers: Endgame. They provide 14 new tracks for this musical.
Full cast for Back to the Future the Musical
|Marty McFly||Olly Dobson|
|Dr. Emmet Brown||Roger Bart|
|George McFly||Hugh Coles|
|Lorraine Baines-McFly||Rosanna Hyland|
|Goldie Wilson||Cedric Neal|
Full creatives and crew for Back to the Future the Musical
|Book||Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis|
|Music and lyrics||Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard|
|Lighting||Hugh Vanstone and Tim Lutkin|
What’s so special about Back to the Future?
Roger Bart described the film as having a great message. It’s all about telling all dreamers that if you put your mind to it – the possibilities are limitless. It also humanises parents, which changes the way kids view them. Gale describes the discovery of who our parents really are – who they were when they met – is a huge revelation for children that transcends across cultures. He also expresses that Back to the Future is about taking control over our own destiny; that our future is not yet written.
Christopher Lloyd reflected on how the franchise changed his life. After almost turning down the role because he was moving to New York, he eventually decided to take part. And he couldn’t be more grateful that he did. He described Back to the Future the Musical as a fantastic new concept!
Lloyd also treated us a perfect rendition of ‘GREAT SCOTT!’, which, of course, he gets asked to do all the time!
Will Back to the Future film fans still enjoy it?
Absolutely! There may be some changes, but the essence of the film (the plot, the big characters, the iconic phrases) are still there. Gale reassured fans that he’s ‘keeping his fingers in the pie’ to ensure it honours the classic movie.
The cast and creatives at the launch event strongly expressed that the musical shows Back to the Future through a new medium. It’s exciting and new, and will fully engage and immerse the audience.
“It’s more emotional because it’s live. There’s a raw connection between the audience and the actors. Live entertainment is just getting better. Theatre is all about getting in one room to go on a journey together.”Colin Ingram, Producer
For this reason, it’s also for theatre-lovers. Pushing the boundaries with technology and captivating audiences, it’s great for anyone who loves the theatre too – even if you haven’t seen the film!
Is Back to the Future the Musical suitable for children?
Yes, the team ensured us that it’s family-friendly. There are no profanities. Considering the story centres around the relationship between Marty and his parents and how he perceives them in a whole new light after travelling back in time, it may be a good idea to bring the kids along!
Why is the musical opening in Manchester?
Manchester has a prolific cultural scene, and a thriving theatre base. It has opened for shows in the past, such as Max Martin’s & Juliet in September 2019 that has now transferred to the West End.
They chose Manchester as the first place to see this musical, kickstarting the journey Bob Gale believes will take them all over the world.
Where is Manchester Opera House?
Located at Quay Street, Manchester Opera House is easily accessible via most public transport. It’s a Grade II listed building with a capacity of 1,920. As one of the dominant theatres in Manchester, the Opera House often shows top touring productions as well as premieres – such as & Juliet.
The full address is 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP.
What songs will be in Back to the Future the Musical?
At the launch party, we were able to get a taster of the music to come. Fun, upbeat tracks that perfectly go with the flavour of Back to the Future. There are 14 new songs to come, as well as tracks featured in the movie such as Power of Love, Johnny B Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time.
How can I buy Back to the Future the Musical tickets?
Tickets for the 12-week run in Manchester are already on sale. You can find tickets on TickX now…so what are you waiting for?