Michael J. Fox came face to face with his younger self on Tuesday. Like a time-traveling scene out of “Back to the Future,” the star met Casey Likes, the young actor who plays Marty McFly in the new Broadway musical adaptation of the classic film.
Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson reunited on the red carpet at the Winter Garden Theatre, which was complete with a prop replica of the famous time-traveling DeLorean, before a benefit performance of “Back to the Future: The Musical” for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. A crowd of fans flocked to the theater and stuck through a rainy afternoon to see a pair of Marty McFlys and Doc Browns collide. Fox posed with Likes, and Lloyd shook hands with Roger Bart, who transforms into a wild-haired Doc, before the show started.
“Back to the Future: The Musical” will have its official Broadway opening on Aug. 3, but the special Tuesday performance brought together alumni from the original 1985 comedy, including Marc McClure, Harry Waters Jr., Donald Fullilove and even producer Steven Spielberg. After the performance, there was a special auction, and the musical’s producer Colin Ingram hoped to raise half a million dollars. Many of the cast members wore gray ribbons on the red carpet to raise awareness for Parkinson’s research.
“I watched [‘Back to the Future’] growing up all the time, and my mom always said I reminded her of Michael J. Fox. He’s always been a hero of mine and it’s really special I get to be a part of that legacy now,” Likes told Variety.” “Parkinson’s research is unbelievably important. He’s done so much hard work for it, and it’s a program that needs to keep things funded.”
“When I saw [‘Back to the Future’] in 1985 in the movie theater, I saw it with a group of my friends who just left theater school and all of us were jealous because we were the same age as Michael J. Fox and thought we could’ve been Biff or George or one of these great roles,” Bart told Variety. “If you had told me then, 35 years later that I’d be playing Doc Brown, I would’ve laughed. It turns out, it ended up being the role in the movie that I was smart enough when I saw it, I said, ‘I want that role, it suits me.’”
“Back to the Future: The Musical” premiered in Manchester in 2020, but was cut short due to the pandemic and later moved to the West End in 2021. Bob Gale, who wrote the original film trilogy with Robert Zemeckis, wrote the musical’s book, and original composer Alan Silvestri and Glenn Ballard handled the music and lyrics. The musical kept the rock ‘n roll influences from the original movie, but Silvestri and Ballard wrote more than a dozen new songs and incorporated hits like “The Power of Love” and “Johnny B. Goode” into the musical.
In an era when nearly every classic movie gets a reboot, revival or sequel, Gale is certain that “Back to the Future” is staying put, but the musical offers a nostalgic experience for fans.
“People say, ‘Why don’t you guys do ‘Back to the Future Part 4′?’ When they say that, they’re saying, ‘I want something that makes me feel as good as the original did.’ That’s what this is. That’s the feeling you’re going to get here when you see this show,” Gale told Variety. “There’s no need to go back to that well. You’ve seen too many people go back too many times. As I’ve said many times, the characters in ‘Back to the Future’ are my family, my children. You don’t sell your kids into prostitution.”
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