Samuel French has announced that Heathers The Musical (High School Edition) is now available for licensing as part of their 101 School Editions Collection. The original show, which was adapted from Daniel Waters’ cult film and quickly gained its own cult status as an Off-Broadway hit, was R-rated, but has been adapted for high school performers and audiences.
Heathers tells the story of two teens who plot to kill the popular girls at their high school and put an end to their cruel bullying. After an L.A. tryout, the musical debuted Off-Broadway at New World Stages in 2014. Though billed as a comedy, it deals with issues of teen suicide, bullying, homophobia, and gun violence.
Creators Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy say that many of the changes to the script and score have turned out for the better.
“From the moment we opened in New York, we started receiving requests for the rights from students, teachers and faculties across the country. We underestimated how deeply the show would resonate with present-day high schoolers,” commented O'Keefe in a statement.
“If we wanted Heathers to work for high schools, we’d have to find new ways to tell the same story in a PG-13 context. So we wrote and workshopped a brand new draft with the fantastic support of Samuel French and iTheatrics, and were surprised to discover that many of the changes turned out to be improvements,” said Murphy.
Heathers The Musical (High School Edition) premiered at JJ Pearce High School in Richardson, Texas last fall, and the production has been selected to perform at the Educational Theatre Association's (EdTA) International Thespian Festival in June 2017.
Head of theatre at Pearce, Heather Biddle, said that the school production helped facilitate important conversations for the students. “Each night we partnered with various community organizations that deal with intervention and prevention services and teen support groups,” she commented. “Moved by the message of Heathers and our community partners, our students used their learning to support their fellow students.”
“Working on this adaptation has given me the chance to see first-hand how the characters, songs and this story resonate so deeply with young people across the country,” added Marty Johnson, director of education and resident director at iTheatrics. “iTheatrics is proud of our collaboration with Samuel French and the show’s authors, and are excited to know that high schools everywhere now have age-appropriate materials to thoughtfully and sensitively produce Heathers The Musical (High School Edition). This artistically rich show will start conversations that need to happen. That must happen.”
Watch a video message from the cast of the debut high school production below:
Heathers The Musical (High School Edition) joins Rock of Ages (High School Edition), Rock of Ages (Middle School Edition), and resources for producing musicals from Musicals 101. For more information on how to perform Heathers The Musical (High School Edition) and other 101 School Edition titles, visit samuelfrench.com.