‘Betty Boop’ Broadway musical to premiere in Chicago

The animated cartoon movie character Betty Boop, made famous in a hugely popular series of film shorts in the 1930s, is getting new life. Specifically her own Broadway musical.

“BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical” will receive its pre-Broadway world premiere during a six-week engagement, Nov. 19-Dec. 23, at Chicago’s CIBC Theatre (18 W. Monroe).

The show, directed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots,” “La Cage Aux Folles”) features a book by Tony-winner Bob Martin (“The Drowsy Chaperone”), with music by Grammy Award winning composer David Foster and Tony-nominated lyricist Susan Birkenhead (“Working,” “Jelly’s Last Jam”).

In a 2018 interview with Ravinia magazine, Foster described the need for a very original story to bring Betty Boop to the stage. “There never was a story because [Betty Boop] is a two-minute-at-a-time cartoon,” he said, adding with a chuckle: “I knew I wanted to make a step toward Broadway and musicals, and honestly Betty Boop was the first person to ask me.”

With her Roaring ’20s-style hairdo, signature red lips, flirty personality, provocative attire, and her signature “boop-oop-a-doop” catchphrase, Betty Boop (voiced by Mae Questel at Hollywood’s Fleischer Studios) was the star of more than 100 cartoons. She was considered too sexy for the big screen by the late 1930s, and her film shorts career came to an end.

Flash-forward several decades and a Betty Boop pop culture resurgence took hold. The colorful cartoon character is featured on everything from T-shirts and purses to cell phone cases and socks. She made a cameo appearance in the 1988 film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” In 2017, MAC cosmetics released a Betty Boop Red lipstick. In 2020, the Betty Boop “character” attended the Woman’s Day Celebrates 17th Annual Red Dress Awards in New York City. And a giant inflatable Betty Boop balloon has made an appearance or two in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for the stage musical now at BroadwayInChicago.com. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date. The musical also will be part of the Broadway in Chicago subscription series on sale this spring.

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