Based on the cult classic (starring Christian Slater and Winona Ryder), Heathers the Musical tells a story about high school drama, life and death, and teen suicide. The story starts with Veronica, nerd turned beautiful, trying to balance her new life with the popular girls and her moral standards. Veronica faces the three Heathers, girls that hold the power in high school. Heather MacNamara hides a secret kindness. Heather Duke is a brilliant girl with a little, green monster. Heather Chandler is the classic “mean girl” that everyone loves, hates, and fears.
Veronica also deals with leaving a friend (Martha) behind as she finds popularity, two date-raping football players, and a love that pushes her past the breaking point. Jason Dean (J.D. for short) is a suave, mysterious bad boy. He’s deep. He’s sexy. He reads poetry. Oh, and he’s murdering their schoolmates. Played originally by Ryan McCarten, J.D. sings his tragic backstory while wooing Veronica. His riff towards the end of “Freeze Your Brain” is the best part of the song. “Meant to Be Yours”, also sung by J.D. is quite possibly my favorite song in the show.
This musical is one of my all-time favorites because it has amazing music. I love women with strong voices and every lady in this show is a powerhouse. Veronica, played by Barrett Wilbert-Weed, blows my mind with her belt. The show has so many songs that fill the listener with energy and excitement. “Big Fun,” “Candy Store,” and “Dead Girl Walking” are perfect for scream-singing in your car.
Speaking of Barrett, she plays Veronica so well that I think she could even give Winona Ryder a run for her money for the part. She has become one of my favorite actresses because of her amazing vocal chops and her ability to portray such a powerful range of emotion. She is going to be playing Janice in the upcoming Mean Girls the musical and I’m excited to see how she does!
This musical is also important because it brings up the topic of mental health. It questions how we handle mental illness and how we are taught to think about it. The town in this show isn’t surprised that kids are killing themselves. They don’t even look into the suicides. They never consider that these are actually a string of murders. When Heather Macnamara expresses her suicidal thoughts, she is silenced and seen as dramatic, searching for attention. Veronica is the only one to actually listen.
If you haven’t seen this musical or the movie, I highly recommend it. The characters are all written so well and both versions provide a great take on the high school mindset.