Credits: Music, Lyrics, and Book by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy.
Summary: A musical version of the 1988 movie “Heathers,” a dark comedy in which a brainy teenage misfit teams up with a rebellious outsider to take on the popular clique at a high school (all of whom are named “Heather”). Mayhem and murder ensue.
Dates: The show debuted in Los Angeles for a limited engagement in the fall of 2013. The Off-Broadway production opened in March 2014 and ran until August. Other performances include limited-run regional productions in San Francisco, Vancouver and Australia. There have been rumors that the show might make its way to Broadway, but nothing has been confirmed.
Rating: R (Based on the original movie – for swearing, violence & sexual content)
Why This Musical: Why spotlight a musical that played Off-Broadway for less than six months? First of all, it’s based on a dark, but hilarious, 1980s cult movie that holds up after repeated viewings. Second, because the songs are fabulous—a mixture of snark, heartfelt emotion, and teen angst, with clever lyrics and sharp dialogue. Lots of great moments from the original movie are retained in the show, including key phrases, corn nuts, and croquet. The musical does deviate from the movie’s plot on certain points (in the musical, Veronica and Martha are best friends, rather than acquaintances), but it keeps true to the spirit of the movie. Best of all for someone like me, who’s “a sucker for happy endings,” the final song shines a ray of hope on life at Westerberg High, despite all that’s happened.
My Connection: I first saw the movie in the theatre when it came out in 1988, and since then, I’ve watched numerous times. It’s one of those classic 1980s films where certain phrases have become a part of pop culture. I had a chance to see the musical Off-Broadway at the New Stages Theatre when I was in New York City in 2014 with my daughter for a series of college tours. We had intended on seeing something else, but the lure of discounted tickets from TKTS swayed us. Choosing to see Heathers: the Musical was a gamble, as the reviews were mixed, but it paid off because my daughter and I loved the show. The small cast did a wonderful job and thoroughly engaged the audience. The cast recording came out in June 2014, and it’s been a regular fixture on my musicals playlist ever since.
Where to See It: Sadly, the show isn’t playing at any theatres right now, but the awesome cast recording is available on iTunes.
“Dead Girl Walking”
Final Thoughts: If you’re a fan of the movie, and you aren’t offended by R-rated language, check out the cast recording!