Aired on KSDS-FM on 11/15/19
RUN DATES: 10/18/19 – 11/17/19
VENUE: OB Playhouse
Mean Girls meet The Wild One— with a high school grudge and a gun. And a bomb. Cue the choreography.
“Heathers the Musical” took a dark, off-the-wall 1988 cult film and made it even darker — and funnier. Only “Carrie the Musical” has more vengeful high school deaths.
But there are more laughs here amid the blood and mayhem, thanks to the quirkiness of the misfits and the over-the-top hatefulness of the three Ohio Heathers and two jockish lunkheads who demean anyone not exactly like them.
At the OB Playhouse, the cast and creative team have just the right campy tone and attitude, though with the inconsistent miking and over-emphasis on belting, it’s sometimes difficult to discern the often-clever lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, who also wrote the book and rockin’ music, well-played by a hard-driving 4-piece band.
Choreographer Michael Mizerany ramps up the energy with slick, cunning moves and killer slo-mo fight scenes.
The 15-member cast is great, headed by Kay McNellen, reprising the role she played so effectively at OnStage Playhouse in 2017, also under the direction of Manny Bejarano. Her Veronica starts out as a nice, nerdy girl who just wants to be popular, but she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for —including the psycho Bad Boy with the itchy trigger-finger and the deranged desire to destroy this lousy world so they can start anew.
Maybe we’ve all had that fantasy a time or two, but not the chutzpah or wild-eyed wherewithal to act on it.
“Heathers” takes everything too far—and comes with a warning about all the heinous exploits it purveys, from drug use to suicide, fat-shaming to bullying, bulimia to rape. And watch out for the homophobic dads and media-hungry hippie teacher.
There’s something to appall everyone here—but it’s all in deliciously nasty, bloody, wacky, deadly adolescent fun.
Ah, the joys of high school.
©2019 PAT LAUNER