Broadway, take notes

Joel Kramer

Musicals have been an important source of entertainment in America for many decades. With phenomenal soundtracks, passionate performances, and important themes addressed in memorable and moving ways, it’s no surprise that there is a street in NYC dedicated to countless musicals and gift-shops of the shows. However, a musical that has not quite made its way to Broadway but certainly deserves the recognition is “Heathers: The Musical.”

Released in 2014, “Heathers: The Musical” is based on the popular 1988 cult film Heathers, which deals with issues such as gun violence, teen suicide, bullying, homophobia, and murder. Set in 1989, it follows the story of seventeen-year-old Veronica Sawyer, who attends Westerburg High School and is sick of the bullying of nerds and underclassmen by jocks like Ram Sweeney and Kurt Kelly.

Not wanting to be harassed anymore, Veronica somehow ends up joining the inner circle of the most popular girls in school: the Heathers. Veronica soon realizes that popularity is a double-edged sword and must deal with protecting her sweet, overweight friend Martha while also trying to balance her difficult acquaintance with the Heathers. When a boy named Jason “J.D.” Dean enters the scene, things at Westerburg High change drastically.

The great thing about Heathers is that it has a well-structured balance between comedy and sobriety. It does a brilliant job incorporating the comedic moments of high school and growing up as well as being respectful when addressing the serious topics of suicide and bullying. By doing so, the characters of the show seem to develop very well from start to finish, and the audience will leave the show with a memorable, thought-provoking impression and realization that high school can be a difficult place to grow up.

An obvious characteristic of any great musical is the soundtrack that makes it brilliant and enjoyable. The opening track “Beautiful” introduces the characters of the story and the hellish social hierarchy of Westerburg High, showing the cruel bullying often inhabiting high schools. “Candy Store” is the bop of the soundtrack guaranteed to lodge itself in anyone’s head, starring the Heathers as they threaten Veronica’s reputation when she tries to protect her friend Martha from their bullying. Veronica’s solo song “Dead Girl Walking” is a sexy rock song addressing a decision she makes after a tantalizing experience with the leader of the Heathers. Towards the end of the soundtrack, the song “Meant to be Yours” is a chilling, haunting sort of love song revealing the true nature of one of the show’s characters.

“Heathers: The Musical” addresses topics that are still as important today as they were in the 80s. It gives insight into the hells of high school that some people had growing up or are experiencing in the present. Giving important messages about suicide and bullying, the dark tones of the musical really leave a memorable impression.

The story entails there is hope for a better tomorrow and there is always people willing to help one another. “Heathers: The Musical” is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches or listens to it. Hopefully, this phenomenal show will make its way to Broadway soon to showcase all its glory.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)