Discover his inspiration for the children’s story about a cheeky little fellow with big dreams of being in the spotlight.
Opening recently at London’s The Other Palace following its premiere on Broadway, Heathers The Musical has already secured its West End transfer, jumping to Theatre Royal Haymarket from the 3 September 2018.
With the smash hit thriving almost exclusively from enthusiastic word of mouth, here’s what you need to know about the rapidly emerging hottest ticket in town.
What is Heathers The Musical about?
Heathers The Musical is based on the 80s cult movie, Heathers, following the twisted relationship between lead characters Veronica Sawyer and Jason Dean, known to all as JD.
Veronica is struggling her way through high school as a nobody, desperate for acceptance from the in-crowd, namely the three Heathers and their leader Heather Chandler. After new kid JD arrives at Westerberg High, sweeping Veronica off her feet, things take a turn for the macabre. JD plunges Veronica into a dark world of murder, suicide and lies, as he delivers his own take on justice on the high school bullies.
The story, although dark, unfolds with a heavy dose of comedy. On stage, Heathers The Musical embodies the same black comedy that propelled the 1988 film to cult status.
Who stars in Heathers The Musical?
The cast is led by Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica Sawyer, who is set to continue the role as the show transfers into the West End. Carrie Hope Fletcher joined the cast fresh from winning the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her stint as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (UK Tour). Carrie previously played Éponine in Les Misérables in the West End for three years. She has also released her debut album When The Curtain Falls.
She’s joined in Heathers The Musical by Jamie Muscato (Big Fish, Lazarus) as the role of the heart-stealing rebel JD.
The three catalysts for the tale are Jodie Steele (Myth, Wicked – UK and International Tour) as Heather Chandler, Sophie Isaacs (The Rocky Horror Show – EU tour, Grease) as Heather McNamara and T’Shan Williams (Caroline Or Change, Guys & Dolls) as Heather Duke.
The leading cast are joined by Chris Chung and Dominic Anderson as stereotypical jocks Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney, Jenny O’Leary as Veronica’s childhood friend Martha Dunnstock and Rebecca Lock as the fame hungry counsellor Mrs Flemming.
We recently caught up with Carrie, Jamie, Jodie, Sophie and T’Shan during the Heathers The Musical launch event to find out more about performing in the show:
What’s this about the Heathers film?
Heathers The Musical is closely based on the 80s film of similar name, starring Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and the era’s heartthrob Christian Slater as JD. First unveiled in 1988, with a mainstream release the following year, the film also stars Shannen Doherty as Heather Duke. Doherty would go on to appear as Brenda Walsh in the hugely popular 90s TV series Beverly Hills and turn of the century favourite Charmed.
Ryder would famously go on to star in the likes of Edward Scissorhands, Girl, Interrupted and Black Swan. Most recently she’s played Joyce Byers in the Netflix hit Stranger Things.
Heathers turned high-school movies on their head, taking the likes of 1985’s The Breakfast Club and pushing the adrenaline up to the max. The film tackled the serious themes of teen suicide and bullying with a groundbreaking blend of dark humour and sincerity.
It undoubtedly had a huge influence on 2004’s Mean Girls, a film which similarly took a unique approach to the concept of inner school cliques.
The film is often seen as a result of social dysfunction and a desire by young people at the time to be heard.
What can audiences expect from Heathers The Musical?
This production is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Heathers The Musical carries a very similar tone to the film, albeit with an added layer of music. At its core, this is a very dark comedy, as poignant now as the film was upon release.
The songs, a handful of which are brand new for London, bounce between the suitably cheesy (it’s a satirical take on high school after all) and the downright heartbreaking. Jenny O’Leary delivers a particularly powerful moment in brilliant style as forgotten friend Martha Dunnstock, unaffectionately nicknamed Dumptruck by her classmates. Jocks Ram Sweeney and Kurt Kelly, who spend the majority of the performance in nothing but Y-fronts, begin the show as dumb comic relief before things take a vastly more serious turn.
The leading cast of five are nothing short of phenomenal, led by the truly enchanting Carrie Hope Fletcher whose acting prowess is easily matched in voice. Jamie Muscato embodies Christian Slater’s darkly brooding JD, and pulls off a character adored, hated and feared in equal measure.
The Heathers themselves deliver understated power. Steele is fantastic, balancing the venomous bite with a necessary humanity. Both Isaacs and Williams emerge as masters of comedic timing. Much of their performances are delivered through show-stealing facial expressions.
Listen to Seventeen from the original Broadway cast recording below:
All are guided by incredibly crafted music and choreography that bring Heathers further to life. On the surface the film may not have been crying out for a musical adaptation, but it certainly does it no harm. If anything, it offers another perspective on this truly captivating tale.
It’s this story that has the biggest impact. The songs underpin a tale of hatred, vengeance, love, pain, beauty and darkness – a tale that rings true across many corners of society.
There’s no surprise that Heathers The Musical has been met by repeated standing ovations and elated whoops and cheers.
What are the critics saying?
“Sheer joyful exuberance” ★★★★★ – City AM
★★★★ – Independent, Metro, The Stage
“Carrie Hope Fletcher dazzles” – The Stage
“Heathers is a masterful deconstruction of hypocrisy and a hymn to acceptance and tolerance” ★★★★ – Telegraph
What else do I need to know about Heathers The Musical?
The phenomenon has already sold out its acclaimed run at London’s The Other Palace, and has caused quite the stir announcing its move to the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
It arrives in its new home on Monday 3 September 2018, currently booking until the 24 November 2018.
Tickets for Heathers The Musical are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk, and are expected to be snapped up very quickly.