This past weekend from Thursday, Nov. 3 through Sunday, Nov. 5, CWRU Footlighters, Case Western Reserve University’s student-run musical theater group put on “Heathers: The Musical” at Carlton Commons. “Heathers: The Musical” is based off the film written by Daniel Waters, which follows Veronica Sawyer in 1989 as she tries to deal with high school and the social hierarchy problems that come with it.
From the start, it was very hard to hear the performers. The pit orchestra had microphones, and while they sounded fantastic, the microphones made it difficult to hear the performers. There were several songs where I couldn’t hear soloists or the ensemble because their microphones were not as loud as the pits’.
The musical set was minimalistic. Although it did affect the choreography that could be performed on stage, it worked for the amount of space that was available. The same attitude could be applied to the costumes. The costumes were low budget and lacked continuity, but for the budget the student group probably had to work with, it was not a huge problem and did not take away from the show.
The cast was primarily composed of freshmen with a few upperclassmen, resulting in a wide range of talent levels. Some were incredibly talented singers and actors, while others excelled either in singing or acting or, in a few cases, neither. For the most part, all the soloists did a good job, some even blowing me away with their talent, while others were a bit pitchy and off-key, and I don’t know if this stemmed from not being able to hear themselves over the pit or if they needed more practice. Many of the soloists tried to riff, something they clearly did not excel at and that could have been left out.
With regards to the plot, it was just a big ball of unbelievable angst. While some of the issues are very important and real, a lot of the plot surrounded unbelievable teenage drama. There were so many situations that were just blown out of proportion and escalated too quickly to ever happen in real life. Maybe I just went to a high school with well-tempered teens, but to me, much of the drama in “Heathers: The Musical” was overdone. However I did appreciate how it brought to light some important issues such as teen suicide, bullying and homophobia, although I feel that the importance of these issues was lost in the humor. Maybe that was the point, as this was primarily a comedy.
Overall, despite its issues, I thought it was a solid musical. While the plot was ridiculous, it was entertaining, and the cast did a good job of keeping my attention and even got a few laughs out of me.
Show: “Heathers: The Musical”
Group: The Footlighters
When: Nov. 3–Nov. 5., various times
Where: Carlton Commons