Popularity, murder and croquet are the primary curriculum of students at Westerburg High School in “Heathers: The Musical,” the darkly comedic show opening at Playhouse Merced Oct. 10.
Based on the ‘80s cult classic film, the story starts with a high school ruled by a trio of popular girls all named Heather who spend their days bullying and manipulating the other students for their own amusement. When social misfit Veronica is discovered by the Heathers to have a talent for forgery, she is quickly drawn into their exclusive clique and becomes central to their schemes and machinations. When a disruptive new student named J.D. shows up at Westerburg High, Veronica quickly begins wishing for a return to normal life as everything starts to spin out of control.
“Heathers: The Musical” has become an increasingly popular show since its Off-Broadway premiere in 2014. The dark humor and frighteningly familiar themes of the 1988 film continue to resonate with audiences more than 30 years later and the play carries all of that into a beautifully modern rock musical made for a contemporary audience. The show tackles themes like bullying, homophobia, gun violence and suicide with an open, high-energy approach that very few musicals can match. Written by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, the show features biting comedy, memorable characters and a driving musical score packed with unforgettable songs.
“Heathers: The Musical” is directed by Playhouse Merced’s new artistic director Alyse Neubert and is musically directed by Shelly Bort. It runs through Oct. 26 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $23, with $16 student tickets available through the box office. For tickets and information, go to playhousemerced.com or call (209)725-8587. “Heathers: The Musical” is recommended for mature audiences.