Dear Diary, My Teen Angst Has A Musical

By Maynor Alas

 Growing up in the 90’s with an older sister, I spent many a night reminiscing about the 80’s with her. Movies like Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles were constantly churning away here in our VCR. They were placed on a tacky, zebra-print pedestal. So naturally, I wasn’t sure how Heathers the Musical would hold up to the original.

I didn’t have to go on this journey into the unknown alone, though. I, along with several of my fellow Urban Arts alumni and current students of the Life Stories theater program, of which I am a graduate, arrived at the New World Theater, guided by our “Obi-Wan”, Anna Strout (Kenobi) at roughly 7:30pm. To my surprise, in a crowd of teens and adults reliving their tweens, I wasn’t the only one who remembered the movie fondly. We were all anxious, nervous and excited. Walking into the theater we were greeted by neon lights, pink and teal ridges and the 80’s hit “Come on Eileen”. I gasped to myself at just how gaudy the whole thing was. I loved it. The next two hours were just icing on the cake.

Heathers tells the story of 17 year old Veronica Sawyer, played here by Barrett Wilbert Weed (Lysistrata Jones), an outcast at Westerburg High who thanks to chance (and a helpful talent) is invited to join the titular Heathers. They are the cool kids, three girls, all named Heather, who rule Westerburg with an iron fist. What follows is a coming of age story which touches on all our teenage soft spots including: feeling like an outcast, doing anything to fit in, the disconnect between kids and adults, suicide and/or murder and our first love.

I have to say, even with my fondness for the original and my high expectations (this show was directed and produced by the incomparable Andy Fickman, who directed movies like Race to Witch Mountain, The Game Plan and is a regular at the 24 Hour Plays on Broadway), Heathers the Musical blew me out of the water. Even with the incredibly dark and somewhat exaggerated source ti buy essays material, the show was uplifting, touching, funny and above all, real. The biggest highlight for me had to be the performance by Alice Lee, who played Heather Duke, portrayed in the original by Shannon Doherty. Her performance had me literally laughing out loud.

After the show our patron saint Andy, the writers and the entire amazing cast was gracious enough to sit with us for a talk-back/cookie eating session. It was very thought provoking and informative. The actors among us got some insight into how to buy dissertation, iconic as they are, your own without losing the audience who identified with them originally. As a playwright, I was particularly interested in picking the brains of writers/producers Kevin Murphy (Defiance, Desperate Housewives) and Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde, Batboy). Their hope was to try to leave people with a message they could take away and spread. For me, working side by side with other young people in the mental health community, the message that I took away was that, especially in this day and age, we have to be supportive of our peers and celebrate their unique quirkiness.  Buy tickets at HEATHERSTHEMUSICAL.COM/Like on Facebook and Follow on [email protected]