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"HEATHERS THE MUSICAL"--A MUSICAL THEATRE REVIEW

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(All photos by Lisa Nalven)


"Heathers The Musical" ended the Slow Burn Theatre Company 2015-2016 season at the Amaturo Theatre of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts with a full house at opening night and rousing applause for a talented, hard working cast.
Do you remember the mean girls at high school who were the arbitrator of who was 'in and who was 'out'? Do you remember the dumb good-looking jocks? The nerd(s)? The 'fat' girl who was ostracized? The kids who were 'different'? And those who do anything to fit in? If you do then "Heathers The Musical" is about your high school, if not then you are probably over 40 because YOUR high school wasn't like that at all, right?
The audience seemed to be evenly divided between a younger crowd who have become a cult around the 1988 movie, which the musical is built on, along with films like "Clueless" (1995) and "Mean Girls" (2004) and the older crowd who probably didn't see the films and tell kids about the 'good old days' they had in high school. The reaction to what takes place on stage is more strongly greeted, and reacted to, by the younger crowd, while the other half smile more than laugh, are a bit taken aback by the lack of immorality, crassness, the offhanded approach to sex, sexual acts and language.
There is no doubt a lot of strong singing talent on stage and though the ensemble really has very little to do the leads are equal in abilities but Bruno Faria, as the outsider J.D., is particularly strong in the acting and singing department. Abby Perkins as the Heather want to be Veronica Sawyer and, love interest of J.D., along with Leah Sessa as the mean Heather Chandler and her two followers, Sunny Gay as Heather McNamara and Cristina Flores as Heather Duke are powerful, touching and funny in their roles. Stephanie Trull as Martha, Sawyer's friend, has a strong solo in the second act titled "Kindergarten Boyfriend". Adding a lot of humor, and eye candy, are the jocks Domenic Servidio as Kurt and Justen Fox-Hall as Ram.
The music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy has two strong numbers, one called "Seventeen" sung by Sawyer and Faria and the other "My Dead Gay Son" sung by Ram's Dad, Ben Sandomir and Kurt's Dad Noah Levine, with the latter song stopping the show. On the whole the score is uneven and a couple of the songs could be eliminated without being missed and making for a tighter, shorter act 1.
Artistic director Patrick Fitzwater is doing a stand up job in that position and as he has done with other shows he directs "Heathers The Musical" tightly and uses the whole stage to the advantage of the actors and the play. I do wish he would turn over the choreography to someone else as he serves the purpose of the shows he has done but they need more than that to make the dancing a meaningful part of a show. By the way he does do an excellent job in the 'fight' scenes.
"Heathers The Musical" will be at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts until June 26.
We are looking forward to the Slow Burn Theatre Company 2016-2017 season when once again they will present musicals that South Florida wouldn't see otherwise such as "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Titanic the musical", "Big River" and "Elton John and Tim Rices Aida". Call 954-468-3280 to get a season's subscription now.


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