Valparaiso’s Chicago Street Theatre’s dark musical comedy “Heathers, The Musical" can be viewed as being as relevant today as it was when it was first introduced to the masses more than three decades ago.
“Some of the subject matter, teen suicide, teen bullying, trying to fit in and doing what you can to fit in, is something that teenagers and a lot of adults deal with on a day to day basis,” said “Heathers” director Mike Glorioso. “To say that that’s all behind us in high school is definitely a lie.”
Opening Friday and running through June 27, "Heathers" is the tale of Veronica Sawyer, a frustrated student at the cliquish Westerburg High School whose life, along with many of her fellow classmates, is turned upside down with the arrival of the rebellious J.D. Dean.
Taking its cue from 1989 black comedy film, which starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, “Heathers” was adapted as a musical by Laurence O’ Keefe and Kevin Murphy, whose collective CV includes “Legally Blonde: The Musical” and the AMC drama “The Son.”
Featuring songs such as “Shine a Light,” “Fight for Me” and “The Me Inside of Me,” “Heathers” made its stage debut in Los Angeles in 2013 before running Off-Broadway a year later.”
“It deals with (serious subject matter) in a very tongue in cheek way,” Glorioso said. “It’s a funny show, but there’s some dark and gritty moments that go on as well.”
Peyton Tinder is Sawyer and Tyler Mills is Dean in Chicago Street’s production of “Heathers.” They lead a cast of 18 area thesps, including Mara Manoski as Heather Duke, Michaela McGarel as Heather Chandler and Madison Marsh as Heather McNamara.
Chicago Street Theatre opened their doors for the first time in more than a year in April with the family favorite “James and the Giant Peach.” The shows, according to Glorioso, played to full or near-full houses in a socially distanced setting.
“We weren’t sure if people wanted to come back but it seemed like people were ready to see live theater again,” Glorioso said. “With that buzz and also with the buzz that ‘Heathers’ creates as well, we’re hoping to really bring people back to the theater and back together again.”
Masks will be required for “Heathers” and seating will be at capacity.
“We’re taking every precaution to keep people safe,” Glorioso said. “We also have the HEPA purifier in the auditorium to keep the air clean. All of our actors are vaccinated or all nearly fully vaccinated.”
Gunshots and strobe light effects are included in Chicago Street Theatre’s production of “Heathers, the Musical.”