Center Stage Features

“Back to the Future” – It Thrills

Photo courtesy of Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

“Back to the Future” is much like the movie; Marty, (Casey Likes) is living in 1985, his brilliant friend Doc (Roger Bart), takes him back to 1955 in the famous DeLorean. It is up to him to get his parents to fall in love so that he and his siblings have a future.

While some of the evening’s songs are not memorable, the entire cast as well as the sets are overwhelming. The puns and the laughter are constant in this two-act gem. Both Likes and Bart feed off each other the entire evening. It’s clear they both enjoy their roles and each other. Hugh Coles George McFly and Liana Hunt as Lorraine Baines are standouts as well. Where Coles has the cadence down perfectly, his nerdy ways make him and this behemoth of a musical a must see!

Director John Rando has done a marvelous job in that the actors are always engaged- upbeat and bigger than life. The dance numbers too are well choreographed (Chris Bailey). From the 80’s costumes to the more toned down 50’s attire, Tim Hatley is spot-on with his costumes. We move from aerobics neon’s and big hair to tapered suits and thin ties. Both Tim Lutkin and Hugh Vanstone keep the lighting in glam and in a carnival like manner. The sound is heavy throughout giving it a strong feel and a solid backstop by Gareth Owen. Chris Fisher as illusion designer blends beautifully with Owen as well as scenic and video design.

“Back to the Future” shines for many reasons, but the musical’s remembrance will be mostly on the strength of Tim Hartley’s scenic design and Finn Ross’s video design. Both supply some of the very best that you will ever see on a Broadway stage. The car, most audience members will never forget, it puts the icing on this beautiful cake!

Like the musical before it at the Winter Garden Theatre (“The Music Man”), “Back to the Future” will be a fan favorite; and like “The Music Man,” my guess is that it will not be critically acclaimed, however, it’s innovation will have this show running for a long time at 88 MPH.