Broadway Q&A: Leslie Kritzer of ‘Beetlejuice’

Leslie Kritzer dazzles with her fierce comic timing as Delia in Beetlejuice on Broadway. In the show, Charles Deetz has hired a life coach, Delia, for his teenage daughter Lydia. They have just moved into a home that was once occupied by a sweet couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland. The problem is that the recently deceased Maitlands, who are now ghosts, don’t want to give up their beloved home – even if they are dead. An unlikely duo – the death-obsessed Lydia and a life-obsessed demon named Beetlejuice – just might have the solution. This unique and fun musical comedy is based on Tim Burton’s classic film.

Kritzer has appeared on Broadway in Something Rotten, Elf, Sondheim on Sondheim, Legally Blonde, A Catered Affair and Hairspray. Other credits include The Robber Bridegroom, Gigantic, Rooms: A Rock Romance, The Memory Show, Nobody Loves You, Kevin Can Wait, Younger, VINYL and Law and Order: SVU.

Do remember one of the first times you were on stage?
Leslie Kritzer: I was in first grade production of The Crocus that Wouldn’t Bloom in Livingston, New Jersey. I was yelling at my mom backstage that the costume wasn’t fitting right. I was in first grade and already a perfectionist. Not that I was being a diva. It was more that I needed it to be right. I already knew how to do blocking. I knew I loved this world.

How did you hear about Beetlejuice?
LK: I found out they were doing the show. At the time, I was working with (director) Alex Timbers in The Robber Bridegroom. And I mentioned to him, “That’s so cool you’re doing Beetlejuice.”  He said, “I really would love for you to do Delia.”

Can tell us  about Delia Deetz?  
LK: Delia Deetz means well. Delia has a heart of gold, and is also a little daffy and confused. She is different than the character in the movie, and is not as mean. She’s a life coach. She wants Lydia to love her so much. She wants to get along. She also wants Lydia and her father, Charles Deetz, to get along.

I just love playing her. It’s such a funny role. These writers really know my sensibility. They have written towards my strengths. And Alex knows me, so he trusts me. It’s so great to be in a show when you’re working at the highest level of what you do. And that’s rare. It’s just so great. I’m having a lot of fun.

Can you talk about your Broadway debut?
LK: I was in my friend, Erica Tuchman’s, apartment. I was on tour with Urinetown: The Musical, and had come into New York for a call back for Hairspray as a replacement in the ensemble. I got the call while I was in her apartment that I got the replacement in the ensemble. It was my Broadway debut. I had finally made it. I had no boyfriend at the time. So I called my dad first.

Wasn’t your current Beetlejuice costar, Kerry Butler, in Hairspray too?
LK: She was. I also understudied her in Bat Boy: The Musical. And here we are.

What was one of the first Broadway shows you saw?
LK: It was 42nd Street when I was in kindergarten. I remember Jerry Orbach singing on the edge of the stage with a hankie. My mom couldn’t go. So my dad took me. I will never forget it. I thought, “Wow, he’s so close.” There were big tap numbers. It was so exciting. I believe I saw Lee Roy Reams in that production. I did a show with him years and years and years later, and wound up getting to know him. It’s just so crazy, and very cool.

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