This region’s newest theatre group is embarking on their next production and it’s a show that is out of their comfort zone. Wheat City Theatre’s Lisa Vasconcelos is excitedly states the show will do more than just raise a few eyebrows, “We are presenting Heathers The Musical next month. (June 15th & 17th) It's a dark comedy and very different from what we 'usually' do. Heathers the Musical is based on the cult-classic movie from the 80's with really great, rocking music.” Anyone who saw this 80s classic starring Christian Slater and Winona Ryder can attest to the fact that the edgy storyline rocks as much as the soundtrack did. Heathers the movie is a black comedy set in a high school which is dominated by an exclusive group of powerful girls – all named Heather. Veronica Sawyer (Ryder) reluctantly becomes a member of the fearful Heather clique. But the Heathers humiliate her at a party, and she is forced to plot her revenge. She finds support from her seductive but loose cannon new boyfriend (Slater), whose notion of vengeance turns out to be far more excessive than her own. Vasconcelos says there are pleased to present local flair when it comes to the actors as well as the music, “The music for this show is AMAZING!! It rocks – in all ways. The Middle Coast has agreed to come on board as 'the band' for the show.” The amazing trio of musicians will be joined by Shirley Martin and music director Katherine Sherris.
Wheat City Theatre doesn’t plan to tame down the screenplay for their Westman audiences according to Vasconcelos, “This show blew my mind when I saw it off Broadway. It's a funny, scary and hyperbolic look at high school driven by a fricken awesome score. The show is geared to adults. It's an edgy story about three 'mean girls' all named Heather who run their school, picking on losers and geeks, partying and making out with Jocks. They allow Veronica Sawyer to join their clique so she can forge notes to get them out of class. At the same time she joins 'the Heathers', Veronica falls in love with the new kid JD – (picture a sociopathic Edward from Twilight.) His cool factor turns lethal.”
Vasconcelos say the dark comedy was already shining through in the early stages of getting the production ready for the stage, “I don't think I've ever laughed so much during rehearsals… This show is funny – if you are not offended by f-bombs, teenage parties, promiscuity, hormones, naive adults who think they get it, or songs about blue balls and bullies.” With that aforementioned subject matter it’s safe to say this is about as edgy as it gets for local theatre which is why Vasconcelos and her Wheat City Theatre partner Katherine Sherris have decided to remove do it under a different theatre group, “For sure it's the album on my phone with the most E-rated songs. It’s also the score that has resonated with the young adults I work with. I'm producing it under Wheat City Theatre so my little Mecca kids don't come. But I encourage their parents to see it.”
This is the third show that either theatre group Vasconcelos is affiliated with will stage at the Keystone Amphitheatre. Vasconcelos says there are many advantages for live theatre audiences when it comes to this new venue, “the advantages include: – the audience gets to be much closer to the action; they can see the actor's faces, the sweat dripping of their browand because the stage is surrounded on 3 sides by the audience, it brings some new and exciting challenges for staging. The Amphitheatre also allows us to stage shows that we couldn't bring to the WMCA (like Heathers) b/c the rental costs of using the venue is much less than the WMCA. That takes some of the pressure off having to sell 500 tickets a show to break even. Plus there is LOTS of free parking!” Vasconcelos is also excited about some new stage effects they’ll be using, “We have rented a new sound and light system from Studio Productions for Heathers that we are excited to try. Duane Macsymach will be mixing the sound of the band and the vocalists. His skills and talents will bring a real 'rock concert' feel to the show.”
Vasconcelos is the Artistic Director as well of the Producer of this particular Wheat City Theatre Group Presentation, a role that she says brings extra stressful demands, As the producer, if the show loses money, I cover the losses. If it makes money, our plan is to make a donation to a teen help line (the cast will pick it) and the new Mecca Children's Charity MAP (that group supports kids who want to take arts' classes in Westman). Fingers crossed we get to make a donation. And I don't have to sell a kidney…
*** Tickets are $25.00 and available online at tickets.keystonecentre.com *** Heathers the Musical runs Wednesday, June 15th and Friday, June 17th in the Keystone Amphitheatre (West side of the Keystone Centre complex) show times are 8pm both nights.