Sneak Preview Review: HEATHERS, (the musical)

by Lynn on September 22, 2018

in The Passionate Playgoer



At Hart House Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

Book, music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy

Based on the film (1989) written by Daniel Waters.

Directed by Jennifer Walls

Musical director, Giustin MacLean

Choreographer, Amanda Nuttall

Set by Brendan Kleiman

Costumes by Erin Frances Gerofsky

Lighting and projections by Melissa Joakim

Cast: Hunter Agnew

Rose-Ingrid Benjamin

Moulan Bourke

Mary Bowden

Aaron Cadesky

Paige Foskett

Becka Jay

Wade Minacs

Justan Myers

Emma Sangalli

Mark J. Umphrey



Taha Arshad

Justine DeSouza

Connor Ferris

Maggie Gallagher

Fay Gamliel

Jacob Moro

Bohdan Onushko

Madison Sekulin

Allison Leia Wall

In spite of an energetic cast with strong voices, lively direction by Jennifer Walls and breathless choreography by Amanda Nuttall, Heathers is hideous. It’s based on the 1989 cult film and seems to follow its checklist of teenage troubles, (suicide, bullying, fitting in, manipulation, cruelty, peer pressure, fear of being gay, attempted rape etc.). It’s all written with a liberal dose of smarminess. It’s not good enough to be satire or smart enough to suggest a solution. The ending is simplistic slop.

Choosing to do this show in this day and age without a scintilla of attention and awareness to what is actually happening to our youth, is plain insensitive. How about this: 1) Take the word HEATHERS. 2) Remove the “S”.  3) Now spell what’s left backwards: REHTAEH. 4) Now add the last name of PARSONS. 5) Rehtaeh Parson killed herself in 2013 because of bullying and on-line shaming, one year before Heathers The Musical was first produced Off-Broadway.


Full review to follow shortly.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Isaiah September 22, 2018 at 2:37 am

Hi Lynn,
I’d suggest speaking on things you know about.
Since you are, clearly, not a youth in this day in age and CLEARLY have no sweet clue what youth deal with this day in age. I’d suggest you rethink your review. Incidentally, it shows a troubling inability to differentiate between script and production. It drags down the local artists who seem to have tried to present this subject matter with respect. Nobody wants to see another know-it-all- boomer speaking in behalf on the more than capable youth of today.
A Youth.


2 Janet Kish September 22, 2018 at 7:58 am

Hello Lynn,

So I’m guessing you didn’t enjoy the production? I too was there last night but what I saw was a courageous production filled with talent, great energy and love. Clearly, the entire company was engaged and committed to the story they are telling. I disagree with you wholeheartedly about the show’s content. The subject material is far more significant today than in 1989 – surely, the audiences currently flocking to HEATHERS in West End bears witness to its relevance. What is insensitive nonetheless is your review. Your choice of vocabulary reflecting your perspective couldn’t be more hurtful to the young company. Even more insensitive and a cheap attempt at reviewer cleverness is your anagram reference to Rehteah Parsons. Shame on you.

An Old Broad