Wednesday, September 21, 2022

"Heathers: The Musical"

Content note: Onstage murder by gun, onstage suicide attempt, onstage hanging, suicidal ideation, mass murder attempt, sexual harassment, bullying, fatphobia, homophobia, toxic masculinity, toxic parenting, swearing.
So here's the thing. I have seen the "Heathers" movie. It was weird and problematic and yet, somewhat compelling at the time. 
"Heathers" calls out a lot of problematic things, but also engages in almost every one of those things. Would it be possible to create a non-problematic musical based on this source material? Probably.
But this musical is not really interested in that. There are more people of color in this musical, and there are songs. That's about it for deep changes. 
For those unaware, there are three Heathers who are part of the popular crew, and Veronica who is tired of being bullied decides to show off her forgery skills to get in with the Heathers. Except being a friend of the Heathers kind of sucks. Spurred on by hot new kid JD, Veronica tries to change things but things spiral out of control. 
I have to imagine if you've never seen the movie, the musical feels a.little discombobulating. Some musicals you listen to the cast album and assume a lot happened between the songs. Not so here. They move quickly from life sucks, being a friend of Heather, this sucks, let's have sex, oh she's dead, and so on. 
To be fair, this show is trading on the stereotypes of high school, it's not really interested in subtleties. 
Now did I watch the whole thing? Absolutely. Do I Iove that there's a weird song about brain freeze? I do. 
And in some ways it's unfair to ask a black comedy to do more than shine a light on the ridiculous things. 
The pro shot was filmed before a live audience, though they are muted except at the end of each song, and, well, during one specific audience interaction. 
Currently available on the Roku Channel, in the US and Canada.