Review: Heathers: The Musical

Heathers: The Musical, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday; $18. Flying Monkey Productions, Black Box Theatre, 1075 West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento; Through August 6.
Rated 4.0

Based on the 1988 teen cult classic film, Heathers: The Musical boasts some talented creators in Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde) and Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness). It gets a polished staging in this commendable—with reservations—Flying Monkey Productions show in West Sacramento.

Flying Monkey shows are entirely directed, choreographed, designed and acted by teens and young adults. There is excellent singing in such songs such as “Seventeen,” “Dead Girl Walking,” “Our Love Is God,” “Beautiful,” “The Me Inside of Me” and the oddly funny “My Dead Gay Son.”

Westerburg High School is a place where bullies, a.k.a. the popular kids— cheerleaders, jocks, etc.—rule, and kids such as Veronica Sawyer (Courtney Clark) and Martha Dunnstock, often called “Martha Dumptruck” (Taylor Fuller) seemingly are no match for “the Heathers”: Heather Chandler (Chelsea Fitzsimmons), Heather McNamara (Breanna White) and Heather Duke (Cassidy Henson). Enter loner Jason “J.D.” Dean (an excellent, intriguing John Novotny) and things begin to change.

The show is a comedy, but it deals with some dark subject matter: gun violence, homophobia, bullying and teen suicide. The language is coarse and (implied) sex is prevalent. Two bully boys (jocks Stewart Wilson as Ram Sweeney and Nate Challis as Kurt Kelly) bravely appear in only their underwear for much of the show.