Although a fan of Heathers the movie, I have never seen Heathers the musical. So this night at the Ottobar with slushie machine, crazy lights and 7-11 props was a hell of a Friday night! My friends and I got our butts settled and took it all in.
The evening began with a drag show that was full of wonderment. Anastasia Belladonna and Venus Fastrada are full of life, sparkle, and sex appeal. They chase each other across the space and are a fabulous kick off to an irreverant evening.
Heathers the musical is loosely based on the 1980s movie of the same name. The movie is a bit darker and macabre than the musical, which tends to be a little more pop-infused and breezy. The story chronicles three popular girls all named Heather who rule the school. They have recently taken in Veronica and transformed her into one of them. Enter one brooding cool new kid in a trench coat that catches Veronica’s eye and you have the makings of high school rom-com. This shifts another direction though when J.D. kills one of the Heathers, and then continues to go on and plan the demise of the school. But if you don’t already know that, what’s your damage? Watch it on Netflix immediately!
Danielle Robinette kept the show tight. She introduced us as the MC for the evening early on and did a good job of keeping the pace up and action tight on the stage. There was a lot of parading up and down the one set of stairs to the stage, but the lower levels of scenes- to the side and by the slushie maker were eye-catching and could maybe have been used more.
The lead for this is Amanda Rife as Veronica Sawyer and she nails the fuck out of it. Her belt outs are phenomenal, her callous demeanor and blow offs with a hint of an underneath concern, seals her spotlight. It is hard when you’ve seen a movie thousands of times to not draw the connection between her and the actress on screen; but she becomes another Veronica, a morph of modern teen angst with old-school Winona that turns into a fresh perspective. Amber Wood as Heather Chandler is funnier and more eye-catching post death than she is in reality. Sara Burton as the yellow Heather is cute and cordial in some killer shoes (thanks Kitt Crrescenzo). Her scene with the football player is played down a bit in the musical version, but still horrifying to watch. The green Heather is Maggie Mellott, perfectly bitchy in pumps and knee highs. J.D. is Jacob Zeranko is my favorite. Was he always pitch perfect and on key- no, but he’s not supposed to be. He is complicated, with a god complex to boot. A bit flawed and utterly masterful.
The cast is huge for such a small stage and I can’t get to all of them- not to any of their detriment. I am sorry I don’t have the songs memorized either like the two girls sitting next to us- but our favorites of the evening were totally “blue balls” by the dead football players, followed close behind by “I love my dead gay son.” And while we are talking about music- shout outs to the live band that didn’t miss a beat- Stacey Antoine, Ben Shaver, Tanner Selby, Cody Raum, and Joseph Pipkin.
There were some projections on the screen that were comical and timely, and some that were just confusing- like a Tron looking neighborhood with homes in purple outline (what?)
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? Stillpointe puts on these holiday one weekend only shows, last year’s Hedwig was tremendous fun, and this year’s Heathers was as well. We had a helluva night, even when the slushies were out (bah humbug). The music was wailing, the comedy was lively, and the show was a hit. Get out here before it is gone! (I)
Running at Ottobar through December 22nd. Just over two hours with one intermission.