Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review of Kokandy Productions' Heathers: The Musical.

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Heathers: The Musical. The book, music and lyrics were by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O'Keefe. It was directed by James Beaudry and the music direction was by Kory Danielson. The choreography was by Sawyer Smith. It was about this girl named Veronica (Courtney Mack) and she has just become one of the popular girls, also known as the Heathers: Heather Chandler (Jacquelyne Jones), Heather Duke (Hayley Jane Schafer), and Heather McNamara (Rochelle Therrien). And she gets a boyfriend named J.D. (Chris Ballou) whose dad (Diego Colon) owns a wrecking company, and she finds out that J.D. is a little bit of a psycho but she still likes him, which gets her into some trouble. It is about popularity and realizing that popularity isn't the most important thing. In this show, a lot of characters throw away their lives just to become popular--literally. It is about how important high school feels at the time, but how unimportant it can be in the future--as long as you survive it. I loved this show. I liked the movie already, and I thought the musical made it a lot clearer of a story as well as fun to watch.

There is this song called "Candy Store" that all the Heathers sing about how you are really missing out on something in your life if you don't hang out with us. I don't think that is true, personally. I think if you don't hang out with Heather Chandler, you are saving yourself a lot of flipping trouble. They had a very Destiny's-Child-like performance that they did where they were all very in time with each other and did a lot of sassy dance moves. I loved this song. It was one of my favorites. "Beautiful" was a song that Veronica sang and it was about how life could be beautiful if everyone just accepted each other and acted nice to each other like they did when they were younger. "Candy Store," however, is about how popularity is the most important thing and it doesn't matter if you are nice as long as you are popular. I agree more with Veronica's perspective because I think that no matter how popular you are, it won't really matter if people think you are an absolute jerk.

I mostly liked the musical better than the movie because I felt like Veronica in the musical seemed a little bit nicer and a little less like she was just a Heather from the beginning. You got to see what Veronica did before she was a Heather. And in the ending of the movie she grabs Heather Duke's scrunchy (that Heather Duke took from the dead Heather Chandler's locker, which is really a nice thing for a friend to do--not!) and puts it on herself. But in the musical she burns it, which I think is more effective because in the movie she is just claiming the power of the popular girl, but in the musical it is more like she is getting rid of the privileges of being popular. It is taking over power still, but it is not saying "Now I'm the popular girl." She is going to use her power not to be the queen bee but to say there shouldn't be a queen bee. I liked some of the things from the movie that they left out, like cow tipping and Kurt face-planting trying to get to Veronica. But other than that I liked the musical much better. It did have "Color me stoked" and "Let's motor" in it, which made me very happy.

There was a fun song called "My Dead Gay Son." It could be seen as offensive because they are using a lot of gay stereotypes, but because the people singing it, Ram's Dad (Colon) and Kurt's Dad (Casey Hayes), are actually gay it isn't offensive. I don't think the writers are homophobic, but the characters used to be and I think they are still trying to get over that view of gay people. I felt like Ram (Denzel Tsopnang) and Kurt's (Garrett Lutz) death brought a lot of people together and they realized who they really loved. It is funny and weird and ironic that J.D. and Veronica's lies about Ram and Kurt ended up doing some good. J.D. wants to destroy the high school, but he has brought it back together in this case.

I loved the scene when Veronica first meets J.D. and he starts to fight with Ram and Kurt, and Veronica is narrating the entire scene. Her first thought is "Damn!" and her facial expression was hilarious. The fight was overdramatic and made Kurt and Ram look weak and hilarious. It is also all in slow motion which is amazing! I loved that part of the show so much. It was so hilarious. I also love J.D. and Veronica's first "date" where she is in a 7-11 getting Corn Nuts for Heather Chandler and she sees him there and he lets her have a sip of his slushee. "Freeze Your Brain" is about how 7-11 is kind of like J.D.'s home because he is always moving around. The slushee helps him forget about how terrible his life is, but it isn't pleasant the whole time, just like his life. Both of them can change in a second to being painful.

"Kindergarten Boyfriend" was my favorite song. Martha (Teressa LaGamba) sings it about Ram who was her kindergarten boyfriend but then started treating her like crap. I liked it because it was very touching and it was what she thought were her last few moments on earth. I thought it was sad that she was thinking about a person she knew she couldn't be with anymore and hoping she could be with him in another life. I loved the pictures that went along with it that she drew of Ram and her when they were in kindergarten. The song is about how Ram used to like Martha but when they hit high school he was too worried about being cool to spend time with people he used to like. And this song was a lot like "Beautiful" because it is about how life changes and people change in high school.

People who would like this show are people who like slow-motion fights, brain-freezing slushees, and popularity scrunchies. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. I loved it! I had fun the entire time and I felt just really happy afterwards!

Photos: Emily Schwartz

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