An Inside Look at "Heathers: The Musical"
First Year Players, a student-run theatre organization, is putting on Heathers: The Musical this weekend. Based on the 80s dark comedy film Heathers, FYP is bringing the same drama and high school angst to the stage. The show runs April 14-16 at 8 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium.
Jerk talked to the three Heathers AKA the original mean girls to see what the hype is all about.
Chael MacKinnon: Heather Chandler, the “red” Heather
Kat Krumbach: Heather Duke, the “green” Heather
Hannah Fleager: Heather McNamara, the “yellow” Heather
Here's how the movie compares to the musical.
Chael: “Whenever I tell people that we’re doing Heathers, they’re like ‘Oh my god, that movie, that was so dark. That was so gruesome.’ But what’s different about that the musical is… it’s just so much brighter. And it has the same material, it just presents it a different way.”
Kat: “And I think there’s something about putting that story and all the jokes and everything to music that just makes it pop. It’s so much funnier when it’s in song, and the lyrics are super corny.”
Hannah: “[In Dead Gay Son], we sing about two football players dying for one another because of their gay forbidden love.” In a movie, that would be hard to interpret, but satire is more clear in the musical.
How did you prepare for these roles?
Chael: “Last year I played Kathy Selden in Singing in the Rain, and she’s the most cookie cutter, goodie two shoes, ‘can’t do anything by myself’ [girl]. So transitioning from her to a stone cold bitch was difficult… I modeled my actions after what I thought Regina George would do.”
Kat: “Not gonna lie, I understood Heather Duke’s role a lot more when someone compared her to Gretchen because she sucks up to Heather Chandler but secretly wants to take over except, unlike Mean Girls, she actually gets the chance to…because Regina George doesn’t die.”
Hannah: “My character’s very strange in the sense that she’s a mean girl, but she secretly wants to be friends with everybody else. And she’s also very creepy and awkward. My first line of the show, I describe Veronica, the main character, having a perfectly symmetrical face because you can take a meat cleaver down the center of it and you’d have matching halves…Heather’s definitely a lot more complex than just a mean girl, so it was a very weird space to put myself and try to figure out. It’s not like anything I’ve ever done before.”
Chael: The song Candy Store. “Everyone really gets to see that the Heathers are a force to be reckoned with.”
Hannah: “At the end of the show, the very very last song, it’s where everything sort of culminates, and I just think the song and the dance put together warms my heart a little bit. [It] makes me think that everything we just did is okay because it gets the message across right in the last scene of the show.”
Kat: “Dead Gay Son is a very standout number because everyone throughout the song at different points lets down their guard and gets on board with homosexuality in the 80s which [was] a hot topic in the 80s.”
According to the “Heathers,” the show includes several F bombs, sex scenes, drugs, eating disorders, sexual assault and death. What did you learn from covering these very heavy issues?
Kat: “It was a good reminder that these issues transcend demographic and age and backgrounds of all kinds…You’re reminded that everyone can relate to these issues in one way or another. So if we all bring a little humor to it, considerably so, I think it’s a good reminder that we all come from common ground.”
Chael: “I also think working on a project with such heavy content [is easier] when you do it with so many people you love…I get sad thinking about the show ending. So it makes it a lot easier to work on something with such heavy content when you’re doing it with people that are supportive and love you no matter what.”
Hannah: “Also just the fact that we are talking about these topics [is important]. I know for me, I really have never sat down with someone and ever talked about these things, but I think they’re so important to realize that they do happen and people think about these different things everyday. We can help get these things talked about within the public sphere.”
Tickets to see Heathers: The Musical are available at the Schine box office for $4 with your SU/ESF student ID.