BACK TO THE FUTURE: Broadway Bound?

Great Scott!  According to Deadline New York, Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis is in preliminary discussions to create a Broadway musical based on his 1985 sci-fi classic.  Co-writer Bob Gale and composer Alan Silvestri are reportedly on board as well, with the trio now presumably shooting expectant glances toward Steven Spielberg, who produced all three films in the trilogy under his Amblin Entertainment banner.

The news is unusual but not shocking after a decade that has seen plenty of Hollywood hits inspire Broadway successes (Legally Blonde, Billy Elliot), some of which were popular enough to inspire films of their own (Hairspray).  It’s a bankable strategy in an era of casual theatergoers whose brand recognition extends to the title of a show more often than the name of its composer or lyricist.

Of course, for many movie buffs Silvestri’s iconic theme is inseparable from the film itself, which actually has its fair share of musical moments.  But what else can audiences expect besides “The Power of Love,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Earth Angel (Reprise)”?  Will Doc and Marty sing “Back in Time” in the Twin Pines Mall parking lot?  Will they ignore series continuity and include ZZ Top’s “Doubleback”?  What about original songs?  Are we prepared for “Make Like a Tree and Get Out of Here” or “Calvin Klein (He’s a Dreamboat)”?

While any details are speculative at this point, we can at least view this project as the potential blessing it is:  one more step toward the Huey Lewis and the News jukebox musical the world truly deserves.

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Eric Ambler

Eric Ambler

Eric Ambler is a film critic and correspondent for Screen Invasion, as well as the founder of Ambler Amblog ( His parents named him after a Welsh spy novelist they found in a reference book. Someday he will get around to watching all the VHS tapes he bought at Goodwill.