By Lori Simmons Zelenko
GLEEFULLY SENDING UP THE CUT THROAT CULTURE OF HIGH SCHOOL
Seeking gleefully wicked entertainment? Look no further than Heathers: The Musical the new off-Broadway musical that takes a dark look at the golden girls – and boys – of high school.
Based on the cult classic film from the 1980s that starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater as good kids gone so bad that killing off enviable classmates became a team sport, the musical is today’s answer to Rocky Horror Picture Show with fans shouting out the lines long memorized and uproariously enjoying the clever, sarcastic exchanges between the “popular” characters we love to hate and the “geeks” we hate to admit that we relate to. Attending a performance is in itself a theatrical experience just being among the passionately devoted fans – of every age – so present and alive in the audience.
Created long before there was cause for concern about teenage bullying or even the extreme of teen-on-teen violence which we have seen with Columbine and beyond, the show takes a humorous look – granted with a black perspective – at what it takes to run with the in crowd when you’re an outsider…meaning smarter, deeper, more grounded than the flighty insubstantial “rulers”, the Heathers, of Westerberg High.
Written by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, Heathers is based on Daniel Waters’ screenplay for the 1988 Michael Lehmann movie. Winsomely updated and relevant, it’s far from a period piece as it wittily upends clichés and takes a fresh and definitely unexpected look at what it takes to survive the cut throat culture of High School.
The sometime Heather, you could call her a wannabe Mean Girl who turns out to have a heart of gold – Veronica Sawyer – is played by Barrett Wilbert Weed who is just terrific at expressing her longing to be in with the in crowd yet simultaneously sharing her reluctance at accepting the price of sacrificing her integrity. As she rationalizes to her uncool fat and former best friend, “These are people I work for, and our job is being popular.”
Her BF is JD Dean (played with sexy vulnerability by Ryan McCartan known for Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie) plays a bad boy in black, seducing Veronica into a path of homicidal destruction. When his wish fulfillment catches up with him, he gloriously self-destructs literally ending the show with a bang!
Heathers: The Musical is crazy fun, a must see! Tickets are currently on sale via Telecharge.com and 1-800-447-7400 and at the Box Office of New World Stages, 340 W. 50th Street. www.heathersthemusical.com www.facebook.com/heathersthemusical Twitter: @HeathersMusical