These three words make me squeal with delight: Heathers: The Musical. Oh my God, how very.
Yes, the seminal ink-black teen comedy is indeed coming to the stage. The thought of an all-singing, all-dancing Heathers is almost more than I can handle. Back before Gossip Girl, before Gilmore Girls, before Mean Girls, three mean gossipy girls named Heather and their new friend Veronica ruled.
The 1989 film featured Winona Ryder and Christian Slater as the misanthropic, murderous Bonnie and Clyde of the study hall set. When Veronica, a newly minted member of the popular clique, meets bad boy J.D., her teenage angst starts piling up a body count.
The movie painted an almost eerie picture of a pre-Columbine world of high school dystopia, ruthless social order and homicidal tendencies. It also helped to launch the careers of Winona, Christian and Shannen Doherty, who plays one of the Heathers.
The cult classic and its many memorable lines seems custom-made for a campy, dark musical treatment. That said, I could see things go one of two ways with this project: very, very right or very, very wrong. In the wrong hands, the up-chuck factor could be off the charts. In the right hands, well, imagine the joy of hearing someone belt out a tune called “F–k Me Gently With a Chainsaw.”
Helming the musical adaptation is Andy Fickman (the director of Race to Witch Mountain and She’s the Man — uh-oh) and his Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical co-producer Kevin Murphy (who has written for Desperate Housewives and Reaper — a little more reassuring). They’ve also brought Legally Blonde — The Musical composer Larry O’Keefe on board.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, producers have already held readings for the musical with Reefer Madness co-stars Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Heroes) and Christian Campbell (Trick) in the roles of Veronica and J.D. While I could see Kristen in the role if she dyes her hair, Christian (who is also Neve Campbell‘s older brother) is a full two decades too old to play a high school kid.
No final casting is set and the project is still in development. The team hopes to have a fully mounted regional production ready for 2010, followed by a Broadway run. Already director Fickman says he knows at least one of the film’s iconic lines he plans to put to song: “I love my dead gay son!”
Might I also suggest “Lick it up, baby. Lick. It. Up.,” “Corn Nuts” and — of course — “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It).” So, are you excited? And if not, seriously, what’s your damage?