Archikulture Digest

Heathers: The Musical

Heathers: The Musical

By Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy

Directed by Kenny Howard

Musical Direction by John deHaas

Choreography by Blue Star

Starring Thomas Sanders and Nicole Visco

Gen Y Productions

Dr Phillips Center, Orlando FL

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Here’s the sprightly musical that puts a face on all those jerk wads who made life miserable in high school. Veronica (Visco) desperately wants to be liked; even the football team picks on her. Held back by her unsightly friend Martha (Ally Gursky), Veronica’s only hope for acceptance lies with the cabal of the Cool Girls: Heather Chandler (Lindsey Wells), Heather McNamara (Jillian Gizzi) and Heather Duke (Caroline Drage). They are all color coded like Power Rangers, and after some begging the Heathers allow Veronica to be cute. Her success engenders hatred from all her former friends including Martha; Veronica trades true friendship for short term popularity and its clear she has sold her soul to Vogue. Soon wandering J.D. (Sanders) moves in; he’s more grounded than Veronica’s 1% friends: he beat off her attackers, doesn’t say “no” when he should have, and then turns weird in the second act. We are just one small step away from Columbine and one giant leap away from making high school friendly to the socially awkward.

There’s so much good stuff going on I don’t know where to start. The Heathers are all brutal beyond words; they sometimes sound like they rehearsed at Gitmo. David Kotary is a wild eyed psycho and the football “hero” bent on raping, pillaging and plundering the entire 12th grade. Ally Gursky is sad eyed and loveable as the fat girl no one loves anymore, and Sander’s J.D. smoothly transitions from Veronica’s dark knight savior to her worst nightmare. I give Alexander Mrazek high marks as the sad dad leading the best song in the show: “My Dead Gay Son”. He’s a large man, but he can move with amazing agility. There were other great numbers like “Freeze My Brain” where J.D. and Veronica sing the praises of 7-11 and the stunning “Shine A Light” led by supporting actress Jessica Hoehn gave me chills. Of the Heathers, I’ll single out Ms. Wells as the actress who does not let death slow her down; she comes back for a demonic “Life Boat” as well as Veronica’s entitled conscience. What a trouper!

All this plays out on a nearly vertical stage (Tommy Mangeri designed and Bonnie Sprung painted) under the guidance of veteran production boffins Kenny Howard, John deHaas and Blue Star. The first row is nearly on stage and the sound in the Pugh theatre some of the best in town; it’s well worth the hassle of having to park a mile away and hike. And best of all, while this is a “message” play it’s also a solidly built musical with great songs, interesting plot devices, and a cast that hits it notes, hits its marks and dances and sings with blazing energy. If I ever end up in hell, it will be high school, just like this troupe portrays it.

For more information on Gen Y productions, please visit https://www.genyproductions.me or https://www.facebook.com/Genyproductionsorlando</a.</em>>


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