The dark comedy "Beetlejuice" is a favorite among generations. With its recent comeback, the film's fandom now has something new to celebrate—the story has made the jump to the stage. We talked with Elizabeth Teeter (currently starring as Lydia in "Beetlejuice" about her career, the show and her favorite places in New York City!
"Beetlejuice" and New York City With Elizabeth Teeter
WT: How did you get your start in performing, and in what other shows have you performed?
Teeter: My parents are both in the arts, so I grew up around theater, but I always preface with the fact that they never pushed me into it. I have three other siblings who have completely different interests, and my parents were (and are) so wonderful with letting us pursue whatever we feel drawn to. I would play endless imagination games in my room/make up shows on my own and finally begged my parents to let me audition for The Muny Theater in St. Louis, where we lived. I ended up getting my first role there and continued doing local productions, which eventually led to auditioning for shows in NYC.
I made my Broadway debut in 2012 as Jane Banks in "Mary Poppins," then got to play Young Queen Elizabeth in the Broadway play "The Audience" (with Helen Mirren) and was in the 2016 Broadway revival of "The Crucible" (with Saoirse Ronan). In 2019 I played Lily Owens in the off-Broadway premiere of "The Secret Life of Bees," directed by Sam Gold with music by Duncan Sheik. The pandemic put a hiatus on performing for a bit, but last summer, I played Laura Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie" with The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis and Liesl Von Trapp in The Muny's production of "The Sound of Music." I also recently recorded the full album of "The Fantasticks" as Luisa, which should be released eventually.
WT: Tell us about your current Broadway role!
Teeter: I play Lydia Deetz in "Beetlejuice!" Lydia is such a wonderfully complex character that I think many can relate to her. She is a teenager dealing with the loss of her mother/subsequent disconnect with her father, and in her grief, dives into an obsession with death—hence her iconic gothic attire. On her journey to connect with her dead mom, she befriends Beetlejuice, a demon who wishes he were alive. Chaos ensues as they work together, or turn against one another, to get what they want. Throughout the show, we see Lydia struggle with her anger and sadness, but the beautiful thing is that we see her come out on the other side. I think it's important to see a teenager work through their grief in a story like this, when so often their feelings are written off or pushed aside.
WT: What is your favorite Broadway show to see as an audience member?
Teeter: Oooh, this is tough. Recently I saw "Into The Woods" on Broadway, which was brilliant. I mean, the best of the best are up there. "Hadestown" is gorgeous. I also will never forget seeing "Phantom of the Opera" as a kid. The music swell with the chandelier crash? Chilling!
WT: What are your favorite NYC local tips?
Teeter: If you are a tourist—I beg you to venture out of midtown. Don't get me wrong, Times Square can be fun, but it is definitely not what I love about NYC. The upper west side has great restaurants and museums. Central Park is beautiful!
WT: If you're going out for a night on the town in New York City, where would you go?
Teeter: I am very much an introvert, so I'm more of a night-in person. But recently I went to dinner with friends in Little Italy, which was a lot of fun. Good music, delicious food, and people are sitting out and about.
WT: Where are your favorite spots to send family and friends when they visit?
Teeter: As cliché as it sounds, I always tell friends to walk in Central Park. It is one of my favorite things to do here in NYC. I love grabbing a coffee and sitting in the park to watch people, listen to music, or read. Walking the High line at sunset after wandering Chelsea market is another great activity. You can also never go wrong visiting The Met or The NYC Public Library.
WT: What is your favorite meal to enjoy in NYC?
Teeter: I love almost any food in NYC, but there is nothing like a Sunday morning bacon, egg and cheese on a fresh NY bagel.