Mean girls burst into song in ‘Heathers the Musical’ | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

Mean girls burst into song in ‘Heathers the Musical’

Candy Williams
1346442_web1_gtr-TK-heathers-01-070419
Submitted
Becky Minda, Raegan Hochman, Maddie Nick, Emily Hamilla and Lawrence Karl get into character for their roles in The Theatre Factory’s production of “Heathers the Musical” July 12-21 at the Trafford theater.

“Heathers the Musical” could be the equivalent of “Mean Girls” times three — where each of the three snobbiest teens at Westerberg High School is named Heather.

Matt Mlynarski of Lower Burrell is directing The Theatre Factory’s production of the dark comedy based on the classic 1989 film, which he has enjoyed since discovering it with some friends when he was in high school.

He’s also been a fan of the “Heathers” musical ever since the original cast recording was released in 2014.

While his familiarity with the show is certainly a plus, it also presents a challenge for the director, who has been involved in past productions for Apple Hill Playhouse (“Moonlight and Magnolias” and “Steel Magnolias”), Butler Musical Theater Guild (“Assassins”) and The Theater Factory (“Pippin”).

Iconic cult following

“I think any time you take on a show that has an iconic cult following, the hardest part is how you stay true to the original while putting your own spin on it,” he says, “and for me it’s working with my extremely talented cast to find as many different sides to these characters as possible.”

One of those cast members is Raegan Hochman of Harrison City, who plays one of the “Heathers” in the Trafford theater’s version of the musical.

Also a fan of the show, Hochman says her character, Heather Chandler, is the epitome of “that classic mean, rich, high school girl.”

“She knows that everyone adores her, wants to be her, and yet hates her guts at the same time, so she takes that to her advantage and manipulates the whole school into doing what she wants,” she says.

Even though “Heathers” is a story set in the ’80s, Hochman says it has a modern-day musical tone.

Rock musical theater vibe

Mlynarski calls it “a very rock musical theater vibe with a lot of ’80s themes throughout” and says the show will feature a talented group of local musicians in the pit led by “our amazing” music director, Beth Minda.

“Personally my favorite song is ‘Candy Store’ because it features all three Heathers. It is such a powerhouse number and will be stuck in your head for days,” Hochman adds.

The dark part of the show surfaces when Emily Hamilla and Lawrence Karl, both of Pittsburgh, (in the roles of “misfit” Veronica Sawyer and “the dark and sexy stranger” Jason “J.D.” Dean respectively) team up to put the Heathers in their place, “6 feet under.”

Hamilla says her favorite song is “Our Love is God,” during which the shift in her relationship with Dean changes and her character experiences a turning point.

Lessons to learn

Karl believes theatergoers — from teens to seniors — can learn from “Heathers the Musical.”

“Most of us have been to high school, and if we haven’t, we’ve all been angsty teenagers before, so we can relate to the immature things they go through. We can also relate to some of the more mature topics you see in the show, because some of us still deal with them now,” he says.

The show can help people discover that they can overcome the toxic people and traits in their lives – and they can discover the importance of seeing the beauty in people and in life.

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

Categories: AandE | Theater Arts
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.