HEATHERS The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy
North Texas Performing Arts Repertory Theatre
Director/Costume Design – Ryan Matthieu Smith
Music Director – William Veer
Choreographer – DeeDee Munson
Lighting Design – Sharae Pullman
Set Design – Jo Alamares
Stage Manager/Props – Ruby Pullman
Veronica Sawyer – Pamela Anglero’
Jason ‘J.D.’ Dean – Austin Hines
Martha Dunstock – Elora McLeod
Heather Chandler – Leslie Navarro
Heather Duke – Jordan Gibson
Heather McNamara – Lindsey Kay Smith
Kurt Kelly – Tyler Halbrooks
Ram Sweeny – Dayan Rodriguez
Ram’s Dad/Coach/Big Bud Dean – Conor Clark
Kurt’s Dad/Veronica’s Dad/Principal – Taylor Veer
Veronica’s Mom/Ms. Fleming – Bonnie Gurgle
Reviewed Performance: 10/22/2022
Reviewed by Lindsay Batt, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
HEATHERS the Musical is based on the 1989 cult classic film Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The musical is filled with dark comedy, Big Fun, mean girls, high school drama, friendship, and love. The musical follows the story of Veronica Sawyer who dreams of breaking out of her shell and hustles her way into the most popular clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers. Veronica meets and falls in love with bad boy J.D., who teaches her it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder to be a somebody.
Leading the cast as Veronica Sawyer is Pamela Anglero’. She is fantastic as Veronica and commands the stage. As Veronica, she is onstage about 90% of the time, she is flawless and effortless, you can tell Ms. Anglero is a natural onstage. She had me hooked from the opening number “Beautiful.” Veronica’s eleven o’clock number, “I Say No” was outstanding! I wanted more!
Austin Hines who plays her bad boy boyfriend Jason ‘J.D.’ Dean is conniving and mesmerizing to observe, and Mr. Hines makes you want to like and hate J.D. all at the same time. When both Anglero and Hines are onstage together their moments are magical, and their chemistry as Veronica and J.D is undeniable. Their harmonies together are on point, I especially enjoyed “Dead Girl Walking,” “Our Love is God,” and “Seventeen.”
As your original mean girls, The Heathers, leading the Heathers as Heather Chandler is Leslie Navarro, Ms. Navarro had some great moments, especially in Act II. She is commanding, sassy, and everything you would expect from your resident mean girl. Jordan Gibson plays Heather Duke, Ms. Gibson struggled a bit with her number “Never Shut Up Again,” but her confidence grew as the show went on as she stepped into the head Heather role. Rounding out the trio is Heather McNamara played by Lindsey Kay Smith, Ms. Smith was fun and witty as McNamara, she did a great job with “Lifeboat,” I thoroughly enjoyed her in this role. The iconic number the trio sings at the beginning “Candy Store” was good, and the trio's harmonies were great, but I was left wanting a little more out of the number.
Martha Dunstock played by Elora McLeod was perfection, she was quirky, loyal and the best friend everyone needs. She killed her number “Kindergarten Boyfriend” and had me wanting to hear more from Ms. Dunstock.
Tyler Halbrooks and Dayan Rodriguez played Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeny, who portrayed your typical bro jocks in the musical, they both brought some great comic relief. Conor Clark who portrayed Ram’s Dad/Coach/Big Bud Dean had some terrific comedic moments, especially in the number “My Dead Gay Son” with Taylor Veer as Kurt’s Dad/Veronica’s Dad/Principal. These two onstage together had some solid moments. Bonnie Grugle as Veronica’s Mom/Ms. Fleming struggled with her number “Shine a Light,” she was flat a few times but had some soft moments with some of her assigned characters such as Ms. Fleming.
Kudos must also go to the entire ensemble, with great acting, vocals, and dancing. Anyone of them could have been one of the principal characters. Whenever an ensemble member was onstage, whether moving set or just doing business in the background, they all made great choices and were not distracting at all.
Director and Costumer Ryan Matthieu Smith brought together a great piece of theatre, making some excellent choices for this production. I really enjoyed the playing of 80’s commercials upon entering the theatre. I love how diverse the entire cast was, such a great thing to see onstage. Smith had some great touches to the 80’s costumes, I especially loved Veronica and the Heathers shoes. I do wish the Heathers were a little more matchy than they were but that is just personal preference. Martha Dunstock’s costume was 80’s to the T, from her jelly shoes to her barrettes, headband, and Igloo fanny pack. J.D. with his bad boy trench coat had on Icee earrings, I did love this but wish they were Slurpee's. But overall, the costumes portrayed everything I remember from the ’80s.
Unfortunately, there were some technical difficulties at the performance I attended. Several times when the music was loud and overpowering the actors, late or missed mic cues, a missed sound effect, and the spotlight had difficulty keeping up and staying on the actors. The cast did a great job at projecting but there were several times when I had a hard time hearing them, especially in the large numbers with ensemble soloists.
The set design by Jo Alamares was practical and worked with all the different locations the show took us. The moving pieces were just enough to set the scenes and transitioned in and out well by the cast. The choreography by DeeDee Munson was executed well by the cast. I especially liked the slow-motion scenes as well as the fight scenes. I enjoyed “Beautiful,” “Fight for Me” and “Big Fun.”
I thoroughly enjoyed NTPA Repertory’s HEATHERS, especially with its diversity within the cast and some great leads. I was quite entertained! I had been waiting to see this production for a while. I encourage you to head out to Plano this coming weekend to see it.
HEATHERS The Musical
NTPA Repertory Theatre
Rodenbaugh Theater, Willow Bend Center of the Arts, 6121 W Park Blvd B216, Plano, TX 75093
Through October 30, 2022
TICKETS AND INFO: https://ntpa.org/event/heathers-the-musical-repertory/
*Suggested audience of 15+
Content Warnings: Adult Themes, Drinking, Drugs & Smoking, Mild Language, Depictions of Violent/Death, Sexual Content, Negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures