Friday, August 22, 2014

Heathers: The Musical (or, Randi Posts A Lot of Musical Reviews at the Same Time)

As anyone who is currently within a ten mile radius of me at this very moment can tell, I really really love theater. Musicals, plays, whatever. So in an effort to incorporate that more and try to do something besides fandom-centered posts because I've kind of had it with fandom life at this particular moment. So here's the first in a series! I'm sure there will be at least 20, most of which you can probably watch on youtube!
Not this one though. At least not yet.

So Heathers. This was playing across the hallway from me when I went to go see Avenue Q in New York in April, so I thought I might check it out too.

Although this show has already closed (and never made it to Broadway), it was actually one of the most promising new shows that has come in a while. I'm usually a fan of original content, and although Heathers does not exactly fall into that category, this feels so much more original than half of the stuff playing up the street right now.

Based on the movie of the same name, Heathers incorporates a pop score of all original songs that are in turns funny, dark, sweet, and scary, with the storyline to match. Veronica Sawyer: geeky, outcast, beautiful, and whipsmart has an unfortunately low social status at the start her senior of highschool. And if you want to change that, you could do no better than to get in with the Heathers, a group of three girls who are all named (wait for it) Heather. They are everything. Of course, Veronica uses her excellent forgery skills to get a makeover from aforementioned Heathers and is of course, instantly more popular. Then there's JD, this kid with this awesome trench coat (props to the costume shop, like dang, that thing is awesome) who has instant chemistry with Veronica. They seem perfect for each other, cute slushie love song included.

Of course, he's also a murdering psychopath. And the targets? You guessed it, the Heathers (and their on again off again football player boyfriends). Creepy villain love song with dinosaur references included.

The storyline, while surreal what with all the murders, is actually a startling and accurate portrait of high school. Take it from someone who is still there, Heathers nails the anxiety, the fears, and the ridiculous confines of the social ladder.

The music is all fantastic. I especially love Candy Store, Dead Girl Walking, Freeze Your Brain, Lifeboat, Fight For Me, and Seventeen, but there really isn't a skipable song on the cast album. The character solos cut to the core of the broken and twisted characters that inhabit the show, and the ensemble numbers shine. There isn't a weak singer in the whole cast.

The original cast of the musical is just perfect as well. Barrett Willbert Weed as Veronica is an absolute revelation. Her singing compliments the music perfectly. Jessica Keenan-Wynn, Elle McLemore, and Alice Lee are picture perfect as the Heaters, and their trio, Candy Store, is one of the best songs in the show. Ryan McCartan plays JD perfectly. You're not supposed to like him, but you're also supposed to fall in love with him. It's interesting to see how he interprets arguable one of the most interesting characters in the show. Extra points also go to Katie Ladner, who plays Veronica's oft-bullied best friend Martha. Her big solo, Kindergarten Boyfriend is absolutely stand out, and she kills it in performance.

It's not a surprise that Heathers, both movie and musical, have developed a cult following. There isn't a bad a song in the musical, but it could use some workshopping all the same. Some of the musical numbers are just a tad bit too long, and there should be a little more time devoted the titular Heathers while they are still together. But you can't deny the pure, crazy, and funny entertainment value inherent in a show this absolutely crazy.


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