Disclaimer- This review will contain profanity sexual overtones and MURDER. Which makes perfect sense because it is about the Musical adaptation of Heather. You have been warned.
The new musical stage adaptation of Daniel Water’s ICONIC dark comedy has hit the stage and we got to go see it! If you haven’t seen Heathers—the original movie that was put out in 1989 and put Winona Ryder and Christian Slater on the map—it so happens to be streaming right now on Netflix. It is a great movie, one of my favorites, and has a huge cult following so when I heard they had made a musical out of it I was so there!
The play is written by Oliver Award winner and Tony Award nominee Laurence O’Keeffe who was the one behind putting Legally Blonde on the stage—but I guess we can forgive him and Emmy Award winner Kevin Murphy who did Reefer Madness and Desperate Housewives among other things. The thing you have to remember is that it is NOT the movie that you watched until you knew every line by heart. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just different, and sometimes we mistake different to be bad instead of taking it for what it actually is. What I can say is that you should expect to hear all your favorite one liners that we true Heather fans know by heart and it was VERY.
The role of Veronica was played by Barrett Wilbert Weed and she was just an outstanding performer with an amazing voice and sweet, sweet dance moves. The Veronica portrayed in the play was a bit softer than the one on screen, but with Weed I didn’t mind so much. She delivered her iconic lines with a sardonic tone that won me over in the end and performed flawlessly hitting every cue, every key and every kick with an oomph of a true performer. Veronica’s score of Dead Girl Walking was an instant classic with me and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Weed did an AMAZING job of belting out the tune that I felt was one of the most “Heather” like songs in the whole show. When she is essentially kicked out of the Heathers group Veronica knows she only has 30 hours until her social life is dead, and climbs into the dark, deep and brooding JD’s bedroom and breaks out into song. With lines like “I decided I must ride you until I break you…I am hot and pissed and on the pill…I am a dead girl walking” how could this NOT be an instant classic is the only question I held at the end. This song is then reprised at the end of the show when her and JD have their showoff and was just as fitting there as it was the first time they played it.
JD is played by Ryan McCartan and unfortunately I have to say they missed the mark with the casting. Although super talented with amazing facial expressions, voice and dancing abilities, I feel like he was too light and airy to be the deep and essentially insane boyfriend of Veronica. Although written to be lighter than the original Christian Slater version of JD, I felt that McCartan’s version was just TOO light with none of Weed’s effective tone that kept you in the Heathers’ World. For me he was off the mark and I feel he would be better off playing in the chorus than as our beloved JD. When I found out that he is on Disney Channel’s Liv & Maddie I wasn’t surprised. He will need to ditch the Disney and bring on a little more dark with this character. What did surprise me was when he performed “Yo Girl/ Meant to be Yours” with Veronica and Ensemble. He belted out a twisted tune with such perfect mix of insanity, emotion and sex appeal that if he carried THAT throughout his performance he would be perfect for the role.
Most of the songs really did a great job of holding onto the essence of the film while giving it that semi- slapstick lighter feel to it. They even turned famous lines into outright ballads with “My Dead Gay Son” performed by Anthony Crivello and Daniel Cooney who played the two football players fatheres that “killed themselves because they were both Gay and in love", and “Our Love is God” which was a love ballad performed by Weed and McCartan..
Ms. Fleming played by Michelle Duffy is simply amazing and watching her preform “Shine a Light" was an amazing experience. The “Heathers” were played by a very long legged and talented group of girls. Charissa Hogeland did a great job of stepping into the role of head bitch Heather Chandler, but Heather McNamara played by Elle Mclemore stole the show for me. Doing an AMAZING job of turning the teen bitch into a hot mess in a seamless performance, she always kept my eye and did a flawless transition from slap sticker to heart wrenching when she sang Lifeboat (a song about her thoughts on suicide).All in all this was a hit with me. Even with my disappointment with McCartan this was well worth going to see. Murphy and O’Keefe did an excellent job of lightening up this dark film just enough to make it plausible to be a musical. Keeping the script true to the message behind the original Heathers (that society and High School SUCK) while giving it their own twist. The audience was fun and filled with outrageous screaming as favorite quotes were spurted out on stage. The drinks were plentiful and the feeling in the room was that everyone was having a great time. So if you are a Heathers fan, why are you even reading this? Seeing “Heathers the Musical” in the title should have been enough for you to go instantly to Telecharge.com and buy tickets.