How Very: “Heathers” A Hit For Miami Theatre Players

Despite its popularity, “Heathers: The Musical” ran off-Broadway for only six months in 2014. The film which the material was based on was released in 1988 and starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater; though it didn’t initially succeed at the box office, the film became a cult classic.

Dear diary… last Thursday, the Miami Theatre Players opened their spring production of “Heathers: The Musical.” 

Inside of McKenna Theatre, 2019 New Paltz was taken back to 1989 Ohio. Based on the cult-classic film of the same name, “Heathers” follows 17-year-old Veronica Sawyer, a social outcast trepidatiously beginning her senior year at Westerburg High School (or “the thunderdome,” as she calls it). Veronica believes she is a genuinely good person, and has hope in her otherwise hopeless classmates, believing that they can revert back to the innocence of childhood and all treat each other with basic kindness and respect. Maybe even hold hands in a kumbaya-style show of togetherness (a very ‘80s belief…*cough* Hands Across America). 

There are, however, three God-like figures at Westerburg that “float above it all”; Heather, Heather and Heather. The Heathers. They’re rich, pretty, popular—they stand on a pedestal overlooking the rest of the student body (and in Miami’s production, they did so quite literally). The Heathers are like the Plastics from “Mean Girls” on crack. Heather Chandler, the head of the dragon, walked so Regina George could run. 

After a fateful encounter with the Heathers leads to her adoption into their clique (cult?), Veronica meets JD, the newest student at Westerburg. Dressed in a trenchcoat and always reading something, JD has bigtime ax murderer vibes; but at 17, that’s kind of endearing. It is to Veronica, at least, who falls for him before even learning his name. Wildly relatable. 

From there, “Heathers” takes off, never straying far from Veronica’s POV. Our protagonist takes on many titles during the shows runtime (loser, Heather, murderer, “Dead Girl Walking”), all while trying to maintain her own morality; a challenge that only grows harder as the story chugs along. 

Of the three Miami productions I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, “Heathers” was a step above the rest. From beginning to end, the energy of each performer on stage was infectious, drawing the audience in deeper with every line, note, joke. It’s a difficult task to make an audience forget that a productions set is limited to what were essentially a few large boxes; Miami did so with ease. 

At the core of “Heathers” were some outstanding performances. Taking on the role of Veronica, Sydney Giles shined. She gave off big Barrett Wilbert Weed (who originated the role off-Broadway) energy, a compliment I’ve refrained from giving out to any other portrayal of the character I’ve seen to date. At her side (as JD) was Lucas Anderson, who managed to encompass all that the character is supposed to be. Sure, he’s a murderer, but you kind of feel for him? And, like, understand why Veronica was really down to risk it all; the OG emotionally unavailable king. 

Jackie Evans, who I previously saw in last semesters mainstage production of “Into The Woods” as Cinderella, proved her versatility as Heather Chandler; from floating around stage during “Me Inside Of Me” to a killer rendition of “Candy Store” to her perfect delivery of the iconic “f*ck me gently with a chainsaw” line. 

Though Heather Duke and Heather McNamara are second and third in line to Chandler in the show, Ally Brewer and Mackenzie Badick (respectively) did not fade into the background in any sense. Brewer nailed the Gretchen Weiners-esque characteristics of Heather Duke, and Badick demanded attention as she belted out the chilling, showstopping “Lifeboat” in the latter half of the show. 

With a nearly sold out opening night, “Heathers” was an event that was not to be missed. Above all, it proved that with the right show and some great talent, a completely studentrun production can be an undeniable success. 

About Jake Mauriello 100 Articles
Jake Mauriello is a fourth-year journalism and public relations major, with a minor in film and video studies. This is his seventh semester with The Oracle. Previously, he has worked as an Arts and Entertainment Copy Editor, Features Editor and Managing Editor. He dedicates each of his stories to his personal heroes, Taylor Swift and Alexis Rose.