Heathers: The Musical is streaming exclusively on the Roku Channel.
By Elazar Abrahams
I’ve been a huge fan of Heathers for years. I discovered the original 1988 film in my first year of high school and fell in love with the sardonic tone of its world and characters. Next, naturally, came an obsession with its musical adaptation, of which the original cast recording is widely available. I even enjoyed the 2018 TV version of the franchise, which was maligned by pretty much every critic imaginable, including on this very site.
All this to say that when a proshot of Heathers: The Musical was announced, I was really excited. Ultimately, the product delivered still hits home but the packaging of the production is disappointing. Filmed on London’s West End, the undeniably special show is muddled by way too many close-ups, flashy camera pans, and other mind boggling camera work. Just give us wide shots of the full stage please. After sitting through all two hours of the musical, I couldn’t even tell you what the set looked liked, or describe the choreography. While this was filmed for the screen, the editors forgot to retain the elements of what makes theater, well… theater.
The cast took some getting used to, as they aren’t the OGs, and as they are the West End cast (and not the original Londoners at that), their voices sound different than the soundtrack we’ve constantly replayed on Spotify. I don’t want to unfairly critique them for that though. Not everyone can be Barrett Wilbur Reed.
Song-wise, the highlights are Lifeboat, a song that I never much cared for until seeing it here in full context of the play, and Dead Girl Walking’s reprisal, which carries the emotional weight of both acts that have come before it and is just an incredible climax.
Despite Heathers’ problems, proshots of Broadway shows are always a good thing. Although nothing can replicate the electricity of live theater, they are an important step in making theater more accessible to the masses.
I give Heathers: The Musical a B-.