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Back to the Future: The Musical
Musical poster
Directed by John Rando
Produced by Bob Gale
Robert Zemeckis
Colin Ingram
Starring Ben Joyce
Cory English
Amber Davies
Oliver Nicholas
Harry Jobson
Music by Alan Silvestri
Glen Ballard
Distributed by Adelphi Theatre
Release date(s) February 20, 2020
September 13, 2021
June 30, 2023 (scheduled)
June, 2024 (scheduled)
Running time 160 minutes
Language English


Back to the Future: The Musical is a musical based on the movie of the same name.

Back to the Future: The Musical was written and produced by Bob Gale and Robert Zemekis, and stars Ben Joyce and Cory English. The musical premiered at Manchester Opera House on February 20, 2020, with a transfer to West End, London following on September 13, 2021.

Synopsis[]

Act 1[]

1985[]

In Hill Valley, California, 1985, Marty McFly, a high school student, visits the home of his friend, an eccentric local scientist named Dr. Emmett L. Brown, but finds that "Doc" is not there. Marty finds the brand new Dr. Emmett L. Brown Voice Activation System, which plays a pre-recorded message from Doc, telling Marty to meet him at Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 AM as he believes he's "realized his dream" and needs Marty to document it. He ends the message by saying "you can accomplish anything if you just put your mind to it". Once finished, the recording keeps looping, causing the Activation System to malfunction as the recorded dialogue gets faster and more high-pitched. To turn the system off, Marty proceeds to hook his guitar up to the giant amplifier. Marty turns the amplifier up, jumps into the air, and strums his guitar. The amp blows up and sends the Activiation System toppling over, which turns off the Activiation System.

In Courthouse Square, Marty begins the first musical number; "It's Only a Matter of Time". In this song, Marty optimistically sings about his dreams of becoming a famous rock and roll artist, and being on MTV. Goldie Wilson chimes in to sing about his dreams of being the Mayor of Hill Valley during his mayoral campaign.

The scene then switches to the Hill Valley High School, Battle of the Bands, where Marty begins to sing "Power of Love" but is cut off by Principal Strickland who tells him the song is 'crap', and that Marty is a 'slacker' who has no future. This segways into the second song; "Got no Future", where Marty pessimistically sings about his future.

Back in Courthouse Square, a woman who is shouting "save the clock tower" runs after a bystander as Marty meets his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, who comforts him about his rejection at the audition which sets up the third song; "Wherever We're Going", a song where Jennifer tells Marty not to let others put him down, and that they'll be together wherever they go. The song is interrupted by the lady running the campaign to restore the clock tower, which had been damaged by a bolt of lightning in 1955. Marty takes a flyer.

Marty makes his way home, where his father, George McFly, is found being angrily spoken to by his supervisor, Biff Tannen. After they finish talking, Biff calls Marty a "butthead" and leaves. This begins the fourth song; "Hello, Is Anybody Home?", in which Marty complains about his father's spinelessness. George tells his son that he's better off without success as it would "only lead to headaches", as his sings about his lack of ambitions or to leave his comfort zone. Marty's brother, Dave McFly enters the song, agreeing with his father that he "doesn't need the headaches", where he sings passionately about his fast-food job. The song then introduces Marty's sister Linda McFly, who argues with Dave about stealing her CD and walkman. During a spoken part of the song, Linda tells Marty that Jennifer Parker had called on the phone twice. To this, Marty's mother, Lorraine McFly enters to express her dislike for Jennifer and tells him that girls shouldn't call or chase boys. Linda argues with her mother, in which she picks up the song again to complain that she doesn't want to wait to date. Lorraine sings about how she met George in the next verse, and how they kissed for the first time at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. Marty and his family sing together in the climax and final verse of the song.

The scene switches to parking lot of Twin Pines Mall, where Marty enters just in time for a bright flash of light, as the DeLorean time machine appears. Doc starts the fifth song; "It Works", where he sings excitedly about his new invention's success, and the "blunt-force trauma" that he experienced that gave him the idea for the flux capacitor. The song concludes and Doc begins to explain to Marty how the time machine works, in which he uses the car's voice activation system to input the date and time of November 5th, 1955. After inserting the plutonium into the DeLorean's fuel chamber, Doc collapses to the ground, his entire body glowing a bright shade of green. He tells Marty that he has radiation poisoning and that he must stay back. In a hurry to help his friend, Marty drives the DeLorean as fast as he can to the hospital, ignoring Doc's orders to not drive beyond 88 miles her hour. The car begins to glow as sparks begin to fly, and in a flash, Marty finds himself crashing into a barn.

1955[]

After crashing into the barn, Marty asks the DeLorean where they are via the voice activation system, to which it answers that the date and time is currently 7:30 AM, Saturday, November 5th, 1955.

Marty makes his way into Courthouse Square, where he's greeted by a lady who excitedly welcomes him to Hill Valley, and begins the sixth musical number; "Cake", a song which makes fun of many 1950s ideas from the perspective of the Hill Valley citizens of the time, who think they live in a utopia. During the song, Mayor Red Thomas chimes in to campaign for his re-election.

Marty enters Lou's Cafe, where he sits down and orders a drink. Before long, a young Biff Tannen and his gang enter the cafe and begins to lambast the boy sitting next to Marty, who he surprisingly discovers is his own father, George McFly, 30 years younger. After Biff and his gang leave, the cafe employee, Goldie Wilson lectures George on how he should stand up for himself, and how he's gonna make something of himself, begining the seventh song; "Gotta Start Somewhere", which echoes that sentiment. During the song, as the ensemble find theirselves out of the cafe and in the middle of Courthouse Square, George quietly makes escapes among the dancing citizens.

After Marty realizes his father has left, he tries to follow him, where he finds George standing in a tree, using his binoculars to look into the window of a teenaged girl, Lorraine Baines, in her bedroom. He sings the eighth number; "My Myopia", where George sings about his contentment with staying in his comfort zone.

After falling out of the tree, George lands on top of Marty, who collapses under his weight. The scene cuts to Marty, laying in bed, as he speaks to his mother about the bad dream he had just had. As he finds out, he is indeed talking to his mother, but she's 30 years younger, just like his father in the events prior that he is now discovering wasn't a dream at all. Lorraine introduces herself as she heavily flirts with Marty, who doesn't return the notion. The ninth song; "Pretty Baby" begins, where Lorraine confesses her attraction to Marty and chases him around her room. She has no idea that Marty is her own future son.

After a short chat with Lorraine's mother and father, Marty flees The Baines' house and finds his way to Doc's home, where he begins trying to convince a younger Dr Emmett Brown that he has been sent from the future in a time machine that Doc created, and he needs his help to get back to the year 1985. After Marty takes Doc to the barn where the DeLorean is being hidden, Doc voices his concerns that Marty may just be stuck in 1955. During the tenth song; "Future Boy", Doc tells Marty that the only power source capible of generating enough power for the flux capacitor is a bolt of lightning. Marty hands Doc the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer that he was handed earlier that day, in 1985. Written on the flyer is the exact date and time that a bolt of lightning will strike the clock tower, which just so happens to be later this week, here in 1955. This inspires Doc who now believes he can harness the lightning bolt's power and redirect it into the flux capcitor in order to send Marty back to the future. Once the song concludes, Marty reveals to Doc that he had interupted with his parents' first encounter earlier that day. Highly concerned about this information, Doc takes the family photo, which Marty had bought with him, for inspection. Marty's older brother, Dave, was missing his head in the photo. Doc tells Marty that he must resolve this situation or he will face his own erasure for existance.

At Hill Valley High School the next day, Lorraine is excitedly talking to her friends about the boy she met the night before. On the other side of the cafeteria, Marty is trying to convince George that Lorraine wants him to ask her to the dance. The conversation is interrupted when Marty notices that Biff is harrassing Lorraine, who wants nothing to do with him. Marty sticks up for his mother, which infuriates Biff. Biff shoves Marty and before he can make any further moves, Marty tells Biff that his shoe is untied. When Biff looks down, Marty punches Biff in the face, sending him falling to the floor. The entire scene freezes, aside from a lovestruck Lorraine, who begins singing the eleventh song; "Something About That Boy". During the song, after the scene unfreezes and Marty and George are being chased around the school by Biff and his gang. The chase sequence comes to a close back in the cafeteria, where Marty knocks Biff into a trash can, where Biff rises with a head full of spaghetti. This concludes Act 1 of the musical.

Act 2[]

Continuing in 1955[]

An upbeat, synthwave musical performance opens Act 2. This is the twelveth song; "21st Century". In it, Doc dances around, expressing his excitement about travelling through time, alongside an ensemble of strangely and futuristically dressed dancers in the control room of a spaceship. Outside the window there can be seen multiple inventions of time travel flying through space, including a hoverboard and the TARDIS. The song finishes and Doc wakes up in his armchair in his garage. Doc had fallen asleep and the song had taken place in his dream. Whilst Doc is telling Marty all about his dream, they are interrupted by a knock at the door; it's Lorraine. She enters the garage and asks Marty to the dance. After some convincing via the opening verse of "Something About That Boy", Marty gives in and accepts. An excited Lorraine tells Marty "pick me up and 7 and take me to heaven", which causes Doc to nearly vomit. After Lorraine leaves, Marty asks what Doc what he should do, to which Doc tells him that he needs to convince his father "to be a man".

In the back yard of George's house, George expresses confusion to Marty about how he can take Lorraine to the dance himself when he's already going with Marty. Marty tells George that she wants to go to the dance with him [George] but just doesn't know it yet. After Marty explains his plan of George saving Lorraine from Marty's acted-out, unwanted advancements, George says that Marty makes it sound so easy but that he is too scared. Marty tells George that there is nothing to be scared about, and breaks into the thirteenth song; "Put Yor Mind to It" in which Marty increases George's confidence throughout the lyrics.

Back at Doc's garage, Doc lays out his plan to get Marty back to the future, showcasing how Marty must drive the DeLorean through the town square and touch the lightning hook to the cable between the lamp posts at exactly 88 miles per hour, at the exact time that the lightning strikes the clock tower, via a reconstructed model of the town square and a wind-up toy car. The similated lightning sets the toy car on fire. After extinguishing the fire, Marty expresses concern about the plan, which upsets Doc who starts the fourteenth song; "For the Dreamers" where he reassures himself and Marty that many inventors before him have had failures, but that he won't give up.

Meanwhile, Biff and his gang are at Hill Valley High School, where they learn that Calvin Klein (Marty McFly) is going to attend the dance. During the fifthteenth song; "Teach Him a Lesson", Biff sings about how he doesn't like or trust Marty, while misusing mutliple catchphrases.

Later that night, Doc thanks Marty for inspiring him and giving him something to strive for in his future. When Marty tries to tell Doc about his radiation poisoning in 1985, Doc shuts him down, telling him that no one should know too much about their future. To get around this, Marty secretly writes a letter in Lou's Cafe, warning Doc about this fate during the sixteenth song; "Only a Matter of Time (Reprise)", where he also worries about failing to get back to the future in a duet with Jennifer.

Shortly after, at the dance, after we see Marvin Berry and the Starlighters play the seventeenth song; "Deep Divin'", Marty and Lorraine park their car outside Hill Valley Highschool, where Marty struggles to bring himself to make his advances towards his mother. Eventually, Lorraine makes the first move instead, and kisses Marty. Lorraine realizes something is wrong before Biff comes along to disrupt the interaction. He grabs Marty out of the car and hands him to his gang as he gets in the car with Lorraine and begins making unwanted advancements. Biff's gang throw Marty into a nearby dumpster. Luckily, George, who still believes Marty is in the car with Lorraine, makes his way over to the car, opens the door, and begins to stand up for Lorraine. To his surprise, Biff turns around to George and overpowers him, but as George realizes how bad the situation really is, he becomes angry, and in one punch, he knocks Biff to the ground. As George escorts a grateful Lorraine to the dance, the school dance singer, Marvin Berry, and his band members walk past the dumpster where they hear Marty inside. While successful in helping Marty out of the dumpster, Marvin cuts his hand on the lid which means he can no longer play the guitar, to which Marty volunteers. The band, alongside Marty, play the eighteenth song; "Earth Angel", where George and Lorraine dance, but are interrupted by another student, who barges in to dance with Lorraine. This causes further disturbences in the space-time continuum as Marty keels over, feeling the pain of his own erasure from existence. George, however, decides enough is enough, once again sticking up for himself and Lorraine, as he pushes the disruptive student away. George and Lorraine finally have their first kiss on the dancefloor, cementing Marty and his siblings' exsistence in the future. Marvin is so happy with the performance of "Earth Angel" that he asks Marty to stay for another song, to which he plays the nineteenth song; "Johnny B. Goode". Although the audience of high schoolers initally enjoys the performace, Marty gets a bit carried away, pulling off dance moves and guitar riffs yet to be seen in the 50s. After a little embarrassment, Marty parts ways with his parents, who have decided to return home together.

After the dance, Marty is sitting back in Lou's Cafe, when Doc walks in with Goldie, telling Marty that he and Goldie have been seeing to the disconnected cables on the courthouse despite his fear of heights.

Writers note: this article is incomplete and will be continued later (June 6, 2023)

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