I’d like to preface the article with a hefty spoiler alert as a majority of the plot is spoiled in this article. 

The dark comedy musical Heathers, performed from January 18th- 20th, at Roschel Performing Arts Theater was a ride down the memory lane of mean girls in high school.  It was directed by Jake Miller 24’, assistant directed by Marissa Thompson, choreographed by Ellie Borghi, Jahnel Rodriguez, & Jessica Perfit, and music directed by Reece Chang, Morgan Moore, Julia Homer, Gavi Fischer, and Delaney Adair. 

This production confronts serious subjects like cliques, fitting in, and suicide. 

The musical Heathers is based on the 1988 dark comedy movie of the same name. The film stars Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and Christian Slater as JD. It became a cult classic. The musical production is faithful to the original screenplay written by Daniel Water. The lyrics, book, and music are by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy.  The story revolves around Veronica Sawyer, a high school student who becomes entangled with a popular clique of girls, all named Heather. The “Heathers” are led by Heather Chandler. As Veronica navigates the social hierarchy, she becomes involved with a rebellious new student, Jason “J.D.” Dean. Together, they embark on a spree of violence and mayhem, seeking revenge against the oppressive high school culture. The play goes on to explore themes of teenage angst, bullying, and the consequences of seeking revenge. It blends satire, dark humor, and social commentary to provide a unique perspective on the challenges of adolescence. 

Reece Chang’s (JD) stage presence was mesmerizing and his ability to portray JD was amazing.  His vocals and range were able to convey humor, fear, and anger that shocked me consistently. From my brief interactions with Reece after the performances and throughout the first semester, his portrayal of JD was the opposite of who he is. The transition from him being the antagonist who’s hidden from the audience to the antagonist who’s out in the open is very subtle and is very easy to miss on the first watch.  I greatly enjoyed his performance and am saddened that he graduates in May. 

Similarly, Sophia Duke’s performance as Heather Chandler was amazing.  Her ability to provide comic relief as well as a dramatic performance was incredible. She stole every scene that she was in, especially after her character’s death as she was able to interweave comedy and drama through her performance. I thoroughly enjoyed her performance and am excited to see what she does in the next 4 years here and see her perform later this semester in her performance in Poor Richards!

Jake Miller’s directing ability and cameo in the final show were amazing. I am sorry to see him leave as I wish I’d have seen more of him but nevertheless, I’m excited to see him in Player’s “Broadway Revue” this semester and in his final Chessman performance! 

The use of set design and lighting was incredibly effective and clever, the rainbow lights during I Love My Dead Gay Son were a very very nice touch. The use of a single bedroom whether it’s Veronica’s, Heather’s, or JD’s still having the same layout with slight changes was a very nice touch. Costumes were also effective. The addition of the rainbow suspenders during I love my dead gay son was a nice touch. It was the kind of thing that I noticed on my second showing and was something I thoroughly enjoyed!

Freshman Jonah Schumeister is a Contributing Writer. His email is jschumei@fandm.edu