Off the Lake Productions will screen Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s “Heathers: The Musical” – based on the cult 1989 film – from March 24 through April 3.
From “Heathers: The Musical” website, the show follows Veronica Sawyer, an average high school girl who finds herself in a complicated situation when she rubs shoulders with the most popular girls in school: the Heathers. Katie Harvey, a fourth-year theater and arts management and production manager of Off the Lake, said the musical deals with high school relationships and centers on a tragic and toxic love story.
“When you’re a teenager and you’re in high school, you’re invincible and you can do whatever you want, and then them, like, facing the realities of that after the fact and realizing that they’re not invincible, “, said Harvey.
Harvey said in past productions, “Heathers: The Musical” has depicted moments of “stimulated sex” and on-stage suicide scenes between characters, but chooses to stray away from graphic depictions.
“I don’t exaggerate on the explicit parts of the show just for the shock factor because I’m not interested in using shock factor type techniques to, for example, get that reaction from the audience,” said Harvey. “I’m perfectly capable of telling the story without making anyone feel uncomfortable.”
Harvey said this is the first full production she’ll be directing, and doing so for a show as popular among students as “Heathers: The Musical” comes with its own set of challenges. She said she wanted to stay true to the series’ well-known elements while implementing her own vision.
“There are a lot of iconic moments and iconic scene images happening,” Harvey said. “And finding a way to put my own spin on that and make it authentic to my cast and my vision while still keeping the authentic – you know, iconic, what everyone knows the show is – has been really interesting. .”
Eva Scherrer, a third-year history and political science major, will play Sawyer in the production and said she was honored to do so.
Scherrer said she was inspired by the lonely times she experienced in middle school and high school to portray Sawyer’s character more realistically.
“It can be difficult to navigate between the dark and the comedic aspects, but I think it’s accurate to some degree, in a way, what people actually go through in high school and what people go through trying to to be a teenager. and try to grow,” Scherrer said.
In addition to the challenges presented in balancing the show’s heavy themes with the comedic moments, Harvey said rehearsing with masks has been difficult for the cast because the songs are vocally demanding.
“The show’s music is so ridiculously harsh, and these actors stand out,” Harvey said.
Those who might be interested in seeing the show should make sure they are aware of the heavy and sensitive topics covered, Harvey said. However, despite these themes, she said audiences shouldn’t expect to feel depressed.
“They can expect dark comedy in every sense of the word,” Harvey said. “The content is heavy. However, it’s still funny all the time.
Harvey said she hoped Off the Lake’s performance of this particular show would encourage more people to get involved in the arts.
“A show that is more avant-garde and more popular will attract an audience that otherwise might not come to a theatrical production,” Harvey said.
Scherrer said she hopes to engage audiences by putting on a show that feels real.
“As long as you can shoot from a real location to make these moments feel authentic, it will be satisfying for the audience, despite all the comedy that might make it a bit more daring,” Scherrer said.
The cast and crew are fully vaccinated, get tested weekly for COVID-19, and will wear see-through face masks while performing, Harvey said. Members of the public will be required to wear masks in accordance with university guidelines.
Admission to “Heathers: The Musical” will cost $1 or a can at the door, and donations will benefit the Kaleidoscope Youth Center. The musical will take place in the Lawrence Tower Ballroom within the Lawrence Tower from March 24-26 at 7 p.m., March 27 at 2 p.m., April 1-2 at 7 p.m. and April 3 at 2 p.m.