Don’t let the music, lyrics, and book by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy fool you, this high-energy black comedy is still willing to tackle conversations about supremely dark issues, like bullying, teen suicide, sexual assault, fatphobia, classism, mental illness, and school violence. It’s no surprise that when the camera of “Heathers: The Musical” pans to the audience, the crowd is dominated by young millennials and Gen-Z fans of the show.
When the show first debuted Off-Broadway in 2014, it was generally well received, with the music and choreography praised as well as the show’s incorporation of the film’s most memorable moments. There were some naysayers who felt the production didn’t take the bleak themes of the original seriously enough, citing the infectiously bubbly music and high-camp performances. To that, I say … have y’all never seen a musical based on a movie before? Are you new?
“Heathers: The Musical” is right up there with “Evil Dead,” “Legally Blonde,” and “Hairspray” in terms of solid film-to-stage adaptations, with songs like “Candy Store,” “Dead Girl Walking,” “Kindergarten Boyfriend,” “Big Fun,” and “Seventeen” all absolute bangers. Ailsa Davidson stars as Veronica Sawyer, joined by a fantastic cast including Simon Gordon as J.D., Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler, Teleri Hughes as Heather McNamara, Vivan Panka as Heather Duke, and Mhairi Angus as Martha Dunnstock.
Now, fans of the recording will have to understand very quickly that this is not the same cast you’ve been listening to since 2014, and since this is a performance recorded live, it’s also not going to sound as crisp as a recording booth. That said, it’s still a fantastically shot recording.