Welcome to Feature Fridays! Every week, the AU music library staff will be highlighting a different CD or artist from our collection.
This week, Student Assistant Dan McCahon reviews Heathers The Musical with music, lyrics, and a book by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy.
Heathers The Musical is based on the cult-classic film of the same name released in 1989. It is a dark comedy of twists and turns, with the main protagonist Veronica grappling with the dramas and woes of high school, strung together by the girls at the top: the Heathers.
The opening track “Beautiful” is a ballad based on Veronica’s diary entry, as she struggles with the changes that come with growing up. “Then we got bigger that was the trigger…college will be paradise if I’m not dead by June.” Veronica’s morbidity and cynicism are put up against her hope for the future: “If we changed back then, we could change again, we can be beautiful…life can be beautiful.” The song introduces the Heathers, the main antagonists for a majority of the show. “They float above it all,” referencing their inability to be bothered by the stressors of high school, which students attribute to their beauty. Veronica aims to cozy up to the Heathers to make high school more bearable, and succeeds, with the song concluding with Veronica becoming beautiful just like the Heathers. “Heather, Heather, Heather, and Veronica?!”
“Candy Store” is the second track and denotes the first act conflict between Veronica and the Heathers as Veronica tries to understand her identity among the Heathers against who she is to her childhood best friend. These two songs underscore the main themes of the show, at least until it runs off the rails into the second act. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that this is a musical worth listening to if not for its fantastic vocalists, then for the plot twists that accompany its stellar tracks.