Teen bullying takes musical turn in stage version of 'Heathers'

Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:22pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cyberbullying may be the new weapon of choice for teen harassment, but a stage musical rendition of the 1980s cult film "Heathers," shows just how little high school has changed.

"Watching the show come together in 2013, it's amazing how constant high school behavior remains nearly 25 years later and how high school behavior extends beyond one's teens," said J. Todd Harris, a producer of the musical of screenwriter Daniel Waters' 1988 film.

Although the dark, coming-of-age satire about teen suicide and high school life was a box office flop, it garnered critical acclaim while launching the careers of actors Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty. Waters won an Edgar Allen Poe Award for best screenplay.

The musical's producers are hoping to tap into the avid "Heathers" audience of yesteryear and attract a new audience who will relate to the show about a clique of domineering high school girls all named Heather at a fictional Ohio high school.

"Heathers: The Musical," which premieres in Los Angeles on Saturday at the small Hudson Backstage Theater, has sold out all of its planned performances through October 6.

"When 'Heathers' came out, it was such an outrageous take on Hollywood's typical approach to adolescence," said Andy Fickman, the musical's director.

"It pushed way beyond anything at the time. It showed (kids saying) 'let's have a party and kill someone,'" added Fickman, whose film credits include "The Game Plan" and "Parental Guidance." "Heathers appealed to high school and college students back then and I believe it will have the same impact with audiences today."

EYE ON BROADWAY   Continued...

Sarah Halford (3rd L) and other cast members perform during the rehearsals for "Heathers the Musical" at the Hudson theatre in Los Angeles, California September 17, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni