The stars of Broadway’s ‘Back to the Future’ musical happily speed into the past every night

This image released by Polk & Co. shows Casey Likes, center, and the cast during a performance of "Back to the Future: The Musical." (Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman via AP)

NEW YORK — When actor Casey Likes watched “Back to the Future” growing up, his mom would always say he reminded her a lot of the film’s star, Michael J. Fox. Something in the universe agrees: He’s taken on Fox’s classic movie role on Broadway.

The rising stage star plays Marty McFly for a musical adaptation of the beloved 1985 sci-fi comedy about a time-traveling duo who go back to the 1950s in a souped-up, gull-winged DeLorean.


“I remember growing up and just really, really loving the film. It kind of sat in that realm of like ‘E.T.’ and ‘Close Encounters’ — movies that came at a time when film was magical,” says Likes, 21. “I hope we accomplish something kind of similar with Broadway.”

The show, which won the Olivier Award for best new musical last year in London, arrives at the Winter Garden Theatre this summer with a story by Bob Gale, who previously co-created and co-wrote the movie with Robert Zemeckis. It hews very closely to the original, including having a DeLorean onstage and the shout “Great Scott!”

Broadway veteran and Tony Award-winner Roger Bart takes on Christopher Lloyd’s role of Doc Brown, the oddball scientist with a knack for inventions. Bart recalls seeing “Back to the Future” in his early 20s when it first appeared in movie theaters. He watched with three friends from theater school and they were all secretly jealous of Fox.

“None of my friends — even knowing each other as well as we did — none of them, including my mother, ever nudged me and said, ‘No, no, kid. You’re Doc Brown. Just be patient,’” the Tony-winner says laughing.

Like the film, the musical centers on Marty McFly traveling back to his hometown in 1955. Once there, he gets caught up in the soap opera lives of his own teenage parents, including his mom, who develops a crush on her future son. He must reconnect mom and dad or he risks disappearing from history.

New songs have been crafted by the film’s composer Alan Silvestri and songwriter and producer Glen Ballard. Some Huey Lewis and the News songs from the movie also have been included.

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