“Heathers” addresses real-world social issues

Record number of students try out for fall musical


The three mean Heathers, Joy Murphy, Maggie Torrisi, and Teaunn Lucas, perform to the song, “Candy Store.”

Maren Blakeney, Reporter

  Heathers has always been controversial. The R-rated 1989 movie was adapted into a broadway musical in 2014.   It’s set in an 80’s high school, with a very Mean Girls-esqe beginning–an outsider gets into the popular girls clique, and soon finds that they are not all she thought–but the similarities stop there. She meets a new boy who has  interesting ideas for how to deal with the mean, popular people. Specifically, murder.

  This is the musical that Guilford chose to do this year. It was adapted to be appropriate for high school audiences.  Two songs were completely changed, and many curse words and suggestive elements were changed or removed altogether.

  Amelia Milks, a freshman who went to see the play, described it as an “interesting and impressive performance.” She also noted that “real world problems, such as peer pressure and depression” were dealt with in a mature and well put together fashion.

  Mrs. Melissa Wolf, Drama teacher and director, chose Heathers because it relates to many of the  struggles students experience or see. These include school shootings, mental illness, bullying, sexual identity, popularity/friends, and teenage suicide.

  Casting is a challenge for any director, and Mrs. Wolf takes pride in casting fairly.

  “I never cast racially or gender specific,” said Mrs. Wolf. “Whoever embodies the character best earns it.”

  Rehearsals went for two months, and the cast expressed that they were full of great moments. Many in the cast did not know each other beforehand,  but this musical gave them a chance to meet each other and connect. Mrs. Wolf said that one of the best moments that the cast had was a heart to heart conversation about the main themes of the musical.

  “I enjoyed sharing the stage with such a talented and fun cast,” said Jernie Saunders, senior, who played the lead role of Veronica Sawyer.

   Because Heathers includes many close fight scenes (both with and without weapons) and close romantic scenes, the cast was, on occasion, uncomfortable, but with the help of Ms. Savannah Strandin, a Guilford alumni who choreographed the fight scenes, the problems were figured out.

  “Heathers inspired me to step out of my comfort zone,” said Grace Carlson, senior, who played Ms. Fleming. “I try to inspire other kids to get into theatre.”