by Lorie Lewis Ham
Heathers the Musical opened this past weekend at the Selma Arts Center, presented by the Raisin’ Cain Players, and it runs through August 20, and is a Valley premiere of this musical.
Heathers the Musical is based on the 1988 cult film, Heathers, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. This dark-comedy musical follows Veronica Sawyer (Claira Broach), a misfit at Westerberg High who works her way into the most popular (and ruthless) clique on campus: the Heathers, and treats her best friend Martha (Ellie West) horribly at times to win their approval. But before she can enjoy life at the top of the social food chain, Veronica falls for J.D. (William Bishop) a dark and sexy stranger who hatches a plan to put the Heathers, and all the other bullies at Westerberg, in their place–six feet under.
This show deals with a lot of the trials that a teenager can deal with–things that are just as relevant now as in the 80s–being popular, being unpopular, bullies, suicide, date rape, and more. While the portrayal of much of it has a dark comedic over the top feel, there are moments of extreme seriousness as well. One of the most moving moments and songs in the show is when one of the Heathers–Heather McNamara (Sabrina Lopez)–sings “Lifeboat,” sharing her own thoughts of committing suicide. When Veronica is the only person who goes after her, is one of the best moments of this show. On the fun side, when JD and Veronica end up in a 711 and he sings “Brain Freeze” to her is one of the funnest songs, even though even it has a sad edge to it.
While there is content in this show that is disturbing, especially in light of so many shootings and bombings of late, and some that is very crude (be warned this show earns it’s R rating), it is amazingly performed! The actors are incredible and director Dominic Grijalva did an amazing job of putting it all together. Musically this is primarily a rock musical, and having a live band added a lot to the music. The cast is filled with powerful voices that I hope I get to hear more of in the future, and the talent on that stage is phenomenal. Stand outs include Hannah Huyck as Heather Chandler–her portrayal of the biggest bitch of the show is perfection. Claira Broach as Veronica and William Bishop as JD were equally amazing–what voices these two have!
This is an incredibly edgy and dark show with a lot of disturbing topics, but if you enjoy edgy and dark, and a perfectly performed show, don’t miss it. Think of this show as Mean Girls on steroids!
Tickets for Heathers the Musical are available at tickettomato.com or at the Selma Arts Center box office located at 1935 High Street, Selma, CA 93662. Box office hours are Tuesday–Friday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors. Content is rated ‘R.’ Tickets will also be available at the door for the same price, until sold out–doors open half hour before show time. For information visit the Selma Arts Center website at selmaartscenter.com.
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