One recent afternoon at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York, two stars of the irreverent musical Beetlejuice played tour guide and revealed a few backstage secrets.

"I think a lot of actors in general need to admit it more that more farting happens on a Broadway stage than you would realise," said Alex Brightman, who plays the titular character.

The Tony-nominated Beetlejuice is a stage adaptation of the Tim Burton dark comedy. It tells the story of Lydia Deetz, a teenager obsessed with death. Her new house is haunted by a recently deceased couple and Beetlejuice, a delightful demon with a zest for life.

Sophia Anne Caruso, who plays Lydia, pointed out something the audience doesn't know about the set's couch. Specifically, how pungent it is.

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Brightman says the couch's sweaty whiff adds "to the charm of this set".

Walking backstage, Caruso makes a stop at her favourite puppet, a giant sandworm that nearly fills the stage. "Her name is Big Sandy."

Brightman says Big Sandy is more than a puppet. "It's another cast member of the show." Brightman rides the puppet, which defines it all for him.

"It is a harrowing experience that reminds everybody onstage and off that theatre is live. Because when this thing comes onstage, if you haven't bought into the fact that theatre is live by that point, you will," he said.

- AP