Heathers The Musical Begins Sold-Out L.A. Premiere Engagement Sept. 21
By Adam Hetrick
The new Laurence O'Keefe-Kevin Murphy musical Heathers, based on the wickedly dark 1988 film comedy about a clique of deadly and domineering high school girls, begins a limited world-premiere engagement Sept. 21 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles.
Tony Award-nominated Legally Blonde composer O'Keefe collaborated with Emmy-winning Reefer Madness author Murphy on book, music and lyrics for the musical. Andy Fickman ("Reefer Madness," "She's the Man") directs the stage premiere that runs through Oct. 6.
The entire run is sold-out. Heathers plays Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances at the 99-seat venue. It is presented in cooperation with Lakeshore Entertainment, the production company that produced the film property.
"Heathers" screenwriter Daniel Waters has been involved in the development of the production.
Heathers has received several New York and Los Angeles readings. A concert of the musical was presented at Joe's Pub in 2010.
"I'm unbelievably excited," O'Keefe told Playbill.com. "'Heathers' is the greatest teen movie of all time, the blackest black comedy, and in its way the most truthful depiction of the 80s. It's also got a great love story – actually two love stories.
"There's the awesomely twisted love story, with the horribly damaged JD bringing out the worst in the brilliant malcontent Veronica. But as we wrote, we realized there's an even deeper love story: Veronica and her school. Her classmates terrorize each other and disappoint her in a hundred ways, but still she has to learn to forgive and embrace them.
"Over the past few years we've gotten to develop this show with the most amazing performers and musicians. It is going to be so fierce."
He continued, "We are so excited I could only fully express it by standing naked on top of the Hollywood sign and yelling, 'Fu** me gently with a chainsaw.'"
The musical, according to the creators, "turns this late '80s classic, which launched careers for Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, into a tuneful, darkly comic, and ultimately touching and hopeful stage musical."
The principal cast includes Barrett Wilbert Weed (bare) as Veronica, Ryan McCartan ("Liv & Maddi") as JD, Sarah Halford as Heather Chandler, Kristolyn Lloyd ("The Bold and the Beautiful") as Heather Duke and Elle McLemore (Bring It On) as Heather McNamara.
Completing the company are Katie Ladner, Jon Eidson, Evan Todd, Rena Strober, Rex Smith, Zachary Ford, AJ Meijer, Zach Bandler, Cait Fairbanks, Charissa Hogeland, Trevor Shor and Rachel Flynn.
Heathers has choreography by Marguerite Derricks (Wonderland), musical direction by Ryan Shore, scenic design by Francois-Pierre Couture, costume design by Genvieve Tyrrell, orchestrations by Ben Green, lighting design by Jeremy Pivnick, sound design by Jonathan Massena, video design by Kaitlyn Pietras and prop design by Michael Courville.
The stage musical is produced by Denise DiNovi, Andy Cohen, Amy Powers, J. Todd Harris, Bruce Bendell, Scott Prisand and Jamie Bendell, along with creators O'Keefe, Murphy and Fickman.
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