by JESSICA HOLLAN
The tag line read “this show is... like totally… not for kids” so as I sat down in the front row of Marion the weekend of Feb. 15, eye level with the makeshift stage, I glanced around to ensure there were no children in sight. I had arrived armed with the knowledge that Heathers: The Musical had adult themes, but that didn’t concern me. I had seen the movie after all, I knew that some teenage girls would inevitably meet their doom via staged suicides. But that didn’t prepare me for the hilarious, disastrous, murderous, sex-on-the-stage-ous whirlwind I was about to witness.
When whispers started circulating last year that there would soon be a musical theatre department on campus, there was immediate debate over exactly what show was good enough to set the tone for the start of an entirely new program. Building something out of nothing isn’t easy, and this musical decision was paramount to the success of musical theatre at TU. So when it was announced that Tiffin’s first ever musical would be Heathers: The Musical my initial reaction was: Heathers? Like that Heathers? Like Mean Girls meets murder? But now with songs and choreographed dance numbers?
That night I sat on Netflix and rewatched the 1988 classic, trying to determine exactly how each murder scene could be turned into a fantastical musical number. I walked into that Saturday night’s showing completely reserved, but I left utterly starstruck and overly excited to see it again on Sunday.
The entire cast gave the performance of a lifetime, but I want to talk about the Heathers- Chandler (Darla Arnett), Duke (Josephine Gabos), and McNamara (Mallory Johnson), whirled, twirled, and harmonized their way through the first act up until Heather Chandler’s untimely death (RIP) with unimaginable energy and splendor. Their hotter-than-thou moment (complete with synchronized high kicks) in “Candy Store” was unlike anything I had ever witnessed.
Another incredible Heather moment occurs in the second act as Heather McNamara (Johnson) sings about her feelings in “Lifeboat” after the death of her best friend and sorta-boyfriend, Kurt Kelly (Issac Echegoyen). Who, along with Ram Sweeney (Michael Seda), gave hands-down the most amusing performances upon that stage. Truly two of the most well-written characters, Echegoyen and Seda performed at Broadway level hilarity- I would see the show every weekend if those two were performing in it.
The beauty of the Heathers and the jokes from the Westerburg footballers were sublime, but the stars of the night were leads Veronica (Chloe Holt) and J.D. (Brandon Utley) who gave riveting performances as star crossed lovers turned murderers. There could not have been two better people to play the young couple and their rendition of “Seventeen” in the second act brought tears to my eyes.
With show stopping vocals, acting, and choreography (shout out to choreographer Julia Plumb) this was an incredible first ever show and I could not be more excited to see what is in store for the future of TU’s musical theatre department, because I’m sure it will be beautiful. The entire cast gave an outstanding performance and by the end of the show all I could ask is if Tiffin University would finally be graced with an actual auditorium- because talent of this caliber, and these students, deserve a proper stage.
Arts & Entertainment Archives