BWW Review: HEATHERS THE MUSICAL at OnStage Atlanta
If you lived in the year 1988, you know that the movie "Heathers" had a bit of a cult following. If you love all things musical theatre (or went to BroadwayCon 2017), you know that HEATHERS THE MUSICAL has a similar following. And here's why: the score is catchy as can be and the lyrics are bitchin'.
With these things in mind, you can imagine my excitement when I heard that OnStage Atlanta was finishing their 2016/2017 season with HEATHERS. I was even more excited when I got to see the show. Directed by Charlie Miller, the musical tells the story of Veronica Sawyer, her badass boyfriend JD and the cool kids led by the Heathers (more or less the mean girls of the school). The themes of the show include, but are not limited to, teen suicide, bullying, inclusion, homophobia, and gun violence. (Funny how a movie from the late '80s is still just as relevant as ever, right?)
Since I am a fan of the show, I was nervous that I might not love what OnStage did in comparison to the Off-Broadway cast that I saw back in 2014. But honestly, the Decatur-based theatre company, which claims to be semi-professional, was just as good as what I saw three years ago at New World Stages (minus the performance of Heather Chandler because Jessica Keenan Wynn is a Broadway treasure, though OnStage's Janine DeMichele Baggert did come fairly close).
In fact, the cast was chock-full of great talent. Hannah Lake, playing Veronica, was beautiful. Branden Hembree's performance as JD is a controlled storm that is exceptional. Joshua Jones and Austin Basham, who played the sexually charged jocks of the school, were big fun to watch from scene to scene. Molly Wiley, who played Heather McNamara, had an incredibly moving performance all while playing the ditsy head cheerleader, which sounds ironic but actually works.
And then there is Sasha Penndorf, who plays Martha Dunnstock. The character of Martha is that girl in high school that is constantly teased, harassed and bullied. We all know someone that has been in this position, or we might even be the ones with the battle scars. Sasha shared Martha's story perfectly. It got even better during her solo towards the end of Act II when she had everyone on the edge of their seats with "Kindergarten Boyfriend."
The only real issue you will have with this show is actually getting a seat. After all, opening weekend was completely sold out. Make sure to get your tickets, otherwise, someone just might ask you, what's your damage?
OnStage Atlanta's HEATHERS THE MUSICAL is running through August 13 with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online with free parking right in front of the venue.