I was lucky enough to be asked to an additional callback out of Strawhats that would take place the Tuesday after the Sunday that I originally auditioned at Pace University with my Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre classmates. Two more days in the city after the others had to head back, meant more adventures and shows to be seen! I had developed an interest in a new musical, just going into previews while I was in NYC, written by Laurence O'Keefe (Legally Blonde, Reefer Madness) called "Heathers: The Musical", after I had watched the movie a few months ago. Heathers is a cult comedy that came out in 1989 about the "Queen Bees and Wannabe's" of a prep school in...OHIO none the less! The movie is hysterical and satirical with legendary catch phrases like "how very" and "what's your damage" and lots of shoulder pads. Turn that into a perfectly corny yet dark and twisted pop musical, and I'm sold! I called New World Stages, made sure they had student pricing and had two tickets in my hand for Monday's third preview in a matter of two hours.
The Heathers movie starred Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer, an outsider turned insider turned murderer who is the lead in both the movie and musical. The role of Veronica was played by Barrett Weed who was only seen is Lysistrata Jones before Heathers. Barrett is an Elon MT grad and went to Walnut Hill arts academy before college. My friend who went to high school with her informed me that she is three years out of college, but she played naive and 17 very convincingly with a killer voice...pun intended. The "Heathers" aka the trio of vapid popular witches: Heather Chandler (Queen Bee), Heather McNamara, and Heather Duke were color coordinated bombshells who owned the stage the second they strutted on. Their song "Candy Store" was just the right amount of 80's lingo mixed with fierce pop belting and du-wop choreo. You hated them and loved them all at the same time which was spot on how it should be so that when Heather Chandler is killed off (spoiler alert) you are glad to see her go, yet secretly fist pump when she comes back as a ghost, an element the musical coined that was not in the movie. The other highlights of the show were the epic transformation Veronica goes through when she turns "4th most popular girl in school" and the song "Dead Gay Son" where two morning fathers admit through song they were just as "gay" as their sons who died. Subjects in this piece like bulimia, suicide, and bullying are controversial but when seeing it you have to remember that it is a farce and also has a moral that everyone should be accepted for who they are, which is seen in the reprised song "Beautiful." Overall, I gave Heathers a 9 out of 10 with room to grow into a 10 with better sets, and some musical revision if it ever hits Broadway. And it was so "VERY" it just might! Heathers opens tonight, 3/31/14 at New World Stages!