Story by Abigale Racine, Culture Editor
Photo Courtesy of Spectrum Theatre
What’s my damage? The sensational musical conversion of the 1988 cult culture classic film Heathers was finally brought to a Grand Rapids stage, with performances held at Grand Rapids Community College’s Spectrum Theatre throughout the month of October.
For those unfamiliar with the quirky dark comedic flick, Heathers is centered around a clique of witchy high school girls, in which curiously most of its members are named Heather. The Heathers are the bee’s knees of Westerburg High School and control the the social scheme of the school environment through malicious tactics, preying on those unpopular. One individual member of the Heather clique is named Veronica- who is the dark horse of the group who has recently invited into the elite clique, and she takes an interest in the mysterious new boy in town.
After a bad night of partying and entering an altercation with Heather Chandler, Veronica and her new found love interest may/may not have accidently killed off the reigning Heather and cover it up as a suicide. Suddenly, like wildfire, there are mental health concerns all across Westerberg High and there is a body count.
In the climax of the production, Veronica must come face to face with the monsters she has created.
For those sensitive to foul language, violence or to pâté, this is not the musical nor the film for you. Those indifferent to
such debauchery, you may have recognized a few familiar faces in the production of Heathers, including AQ junior Ben Avery as the cocky jock Ram, as well as alumni Jason DeJager and Mackenzie McElroy in the ensemble.
If you are curious how the musical conversion differs from the popular teen film, I recommend seeing it for yourself and judging from there. The musical maintains the same 1980’s identity, complete with the Heathers’ signature scrunchies and plaid skirts set against a colorful Saved by the Bell-like stage. While I enjoyed the Actor’s Theatre’s performance, I found myself longing for Winona Ryder’s snappy, dry portrayal of Veronica versus the wishy-washy character portrayal of her in the stage edition.
The vocal talent of the cast was immense- especially from actress Macey Madias who played Westerberg loner and victim, Martha “Dumptruck” Dunnstock and wowed audiences with her rendition of “Kindergarten Boyfriend” before her suicide attempt. The songs featured in Heathers are both fun and thought-provoking, such as “Seventeen” and “Our Love is God”.
Considering the prevalence of mental health concerns and violence within schools in today’s society, the message behind Heathers remains as relevant since its original release. It is a cautionary tale, reminding its audience of how the toxic influence of others can affect a community. So please AQ, take care of yourself, take care of others and watch Heathers on Netflix together while munching on a bag of BBQ Corn Nuts and love one another.
Abigale Racine is a senior st
udying English, with a focus in journalism. She is the Culture Editor of The Saint and does some freelance work on the side, when she isn’t soaking up the scene that is Grand Rapids.