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Go behind the scenes of Al's appearance in the 'Back to the Future' Broadway musical

Al played Principal Strickland in a special one-night-only performance on March 28.
/ Source: TODAY

He's no slacker.

In addition to his usual job as a weatherman and co-host on TODAY, Al Roker is now a Broadway veteran, after appearing in “Back to the Future The Musical” on March 28.

Al stepped in for one night only to play Mr. Strickland, the principal at Hill Valley High and thorn in Marty McFly’s side. He even had the chance to demonstrate his dance moves at the end of the show, when he joined the cast onstage during a performance of Huey Lewis & The News’ “Back in Time.”

“The cast and crew were so lovely, and they treated me just so nicely,” Al said the next morning on TODAY, adding that sharing a scene with Roger Bart, the Tony Award-winning actor who plays Doc Brown in the adaptation of the 1985 classic, was a “dream come true.”

Al Roker with "Back to the Future" musical cast.
Al is "angling to take over for Doc Brown and somehow push me out," Bart joked prior to the March 28 performance.Courtesy Junghun Park

Bart and co-star Casey Likes, who plays Marty, were excited to have Al — who previously appeared on Broadway in the musical “Waitress” in 2018 and 2019 — be a part of their show.

Bart told that the production became aware of his passion for the show when the crew performed last year at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“We were trying to find a way to be able to have something really special to involve him, and this is fantastic," Bart said. "This is beyond our wildest dreams. And he’s also, having just put him into the show, really quite good."

Al’s enthusiasm for “Back to the Future,” one of his favorite movies, was evident in 2018, when he and Dylan Dreyer dressed as Doc and Marty for TODAY’s Halloween extravaganza.

This time around, he channeled his inner Strickland, nailing the principal’s memorable insult for Marty: “You’re a slacker!”

TODAY show Halloween: Dylan Dreyer and Al Roker as \"Back to the Future\" characters Marty McFly and Doc Brown
Al and Dylan as Doc and Marty for Halloween in 2018.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

He joked in an insert in the musical’s Playbill, “Of course I was drawn to Principal Strickland. He’s obnoxious, he’s bald and he’s a loudmouth. Always play to your strengths.”

Likes complimented Al for bringing out his “scary and intimidating” side for the role.

“He’s very good at it, but no one knows that because he’s always a good guy,” he said.

During their rehearsals together, “He intimidated me," Likes said. "He pressed on my chest pretty good. It was really good.”

Underneath Al’s tough exterior, though, were some nerves.

“I asked him today, ‘Are you going to be nervous?’ He said, ‘Oh, my God, yeah, of course I’m going to be terrified,’” Bart recalled. “But he’s excited. I love that.”

Al admitted on TODAY the next morning he was nervous, but you wouldn’t have known it from his performance, which drew cheers throughout the night.

One joke in particular landed well: As Doc and Marty discussed the forecast of a lightning storm that could help Marty travel from 1955 back to 1985, Marty quipped, in Al’s/Strickland's presence, “Since when can a weatherman predict the weather, let alone the future?”

Without missing a beat, Al/Strickland shot Marty a disapproving look and exited the scene to laughter from the audience.