Theatre Mirror Reviews - "HEATHERS, THE MUSICAL"

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note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone



"HEATHERS, THE MUSICAL"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone



The Uncommon Theatre Young Adult Company's 12th Annual summer show is "Heathers, the Musical" which is the Massachusetts premier of this show. It was written by Laurence O'Keefe who created "Legally Blonde" and Kevin Murphy of Reefer Madness. Their terrific pop score expands the story while keeping the black edge comedy of the original movie. Heathers, the musical is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: The Heathers. But before she can get comfortable at the top of the high school food chain, Veronica falls in love with the dangerously sexy, new kid J.D. When Heather Chandler, the Almighty, kicks her out of the group, Veronica decides to bite the bullet and kiss Heather's aerobicized ass... but J.D. has another plan for that bullet. "Heathers, the Musical" is a hilarious, heartfelt and homicidal new show based on the greatest teen comedy of all time with its moving love story, laugh out loud comedy and anguish of high school. The show though a comedy deals with teen issues of suicide, bullying, homophobia, and gun violence. The musical is based on the 1988 movie starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The movie was a black comedy where outsiders took on the obnoxious clique in the high school. Director/choreographer Courtney Bottomley casts her high energy 23 member cast excellently while musical director Danielle Clougher leads her five piece orchestra and taught the cast the gorgeous harmonies in the group numbers. Their combined expertise wins them a thunderous standing ovation at the close of the show.

Courtney lets each member of her cast shine and elicits stellar performances from them. Danielle taught them some difficult numbers and they sound amazing. Some of the crowd favorite numbers are the opening number "Beautiful", where the audience learns Veronica wants the cutthroat aspect of high school to disappear, "Lifeboat" where each kid hopes to survive the horrors of high school, "My Dead Gay Son" sung expertly by Dan Fullerton as Ram's dad and Tucker Still as Kurt's dad, this number stops the show with hilarity (it has a funny twist during it) and "Seventeen", a beautiful song about enjoying being that age. Alyssa Kelley, a gorgeous, brunette with bright blue eyes is phenomenal as the spunky Veronica. She starts off writing in her diary about how awful it is in school until she becomes a member of the Heathers clique. She learns along the way that being popular ain't all its cracked up to be and to be very careful what you wish for. Her fantastic voice is heard in the opening number, "Dead Girl Walking" when she defies Heather Chandler's demand and pukes on her shoes. She also sings "The Me Inside of Me" with the chorus about the real person trying to get out of each of the teens. Alyssa's acting is superb and her interactions with all the performers is extremely well done.

The very evil Heather Chandler is terrifically played by statuesque blonde, Heidi Gleichayf. She is a true bitch on wheels as she runs roughshod on everyone around her. This Heather gets her comeuppance but continues to appear to comment on the goings on. The lady in waiting, Heather McNamara is well played by Jade April who contemplates suicide and is finally rescued by Veronica while the resentful underling, Heather Duke also well played by Jillian Hobaica who encourages McNamara to off herself. There is another disturbing scene when these two Heathers lock Veronica out of the car when the two football jocks want their way with them. The two meathead football players are fabulously played by Matt Garvin as Ram and Charlie Losiewicz as Kurt. They verbally abuse everyone in the school, sing a hilarious number about "Blue" balls that need to be serviced by the girls. It hits the nail on the head as they sing what every teenage guy wants most. They steal many a scene with their naughty and bawdy antics.

The scary, black trench coat new boy in town, J.D. is wonderfully played by Joe Spirito who scares the crap out of the audience from his first entrance to his last. The slow motion fight scene between the two jocks and him is one of the funniest moments in this show. He and Alyssa have great chemistry together. His "Freeze Your Brain" slurpee song is funny while "Dead Girl Walking" duet is properly menacing as us "Our Love is God". Erin Tevnan is fantastic as Martha, the school laughing stock. She sings the most poignant song in the show called "Kindergarten Boyfriend" which tugs on your heartstrings. It also helps Veronica realize that Martha is the one true fried she has had since they were in diapers. Kudos to the whole cast on their vocal prowess and strong dancing ability. So for a topnotch contemporary musical that will leave thinking, be sure to catch this clever, daring musical by Uncommon Theatre's talented young adult company. They always push the edge with their summer shows including "Assassins" and "Spring Awakening" in the past. Tell them Tony sent you.

HEATHERS, THE MUSICAL (14 to 17 July)
Uncommon Theatre Young Adult Company, @MMAS, 377 North Main St, Mansfield, MA
1(800)838-3006 or www.uncommontheatre.org




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