Southeast Missouri State University student publication

River Campus’ “Heathers” Cast Welcomes Audiences to the “Candy Store”

Saturday, October 19, 2019
The cast of Heathers: The musical energetically performing the song "Big Fun". Tuesday, ‎October ‎15, ‎2019.
Photo by Jelani Days

Beginning on Oct. 30, audience members will be able to step out of Cape Girardeau and into the 1980s as The Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance Series presents “Heathers: The Musical.”

“Heathers: The Musical” is based on the 1988 movie of the same name, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The show tackles issues such as gun violence, underage drinking and bullying. Senior Tyler Battista, who plays J.D., said the musical has a positive spin on its many negative topics.

“‘Heathers’ is a good reflection of what society is in a high school setting,” Battista said. “It’s definitely a story of open solution, rather than it being ‘oh, society sucks.’ It definitely shows the more positive side of how we can come together and be able to get past all of our differences.”

According to Director Kenneth Stilson, production began back when the cast list was announced in April, with rehearsals starting when students arrived on campus in August.

“Production starts up to six, seven months, before rehearsals do,” Stilson said. “In this case, it started three, four months ahead of time. That’s when you’re doing all your design work, all your research, you’re doing all the stuff that goes into the beginning of rehearsals.”

Due to its R-rating and heavy material regarding suicide, underage alcohol use and adult language, the director and cast have said “do not bring kids” to the prodution. According to Stilson, the show is appropriate for some high school students and is appropriate for college students and adults, just not for kids.

“It is going to appeal to college-age students, but it’s also going to appeal to anybody, even up to my age, in their 50s [who] knew this movie as a kid,” Stilson said. “I don’t want people to come thinking that this is a Disney show, it’s not Disney.”

With opening night approaching, the cast has moved into dress rehearsals. It’s begun to sink in that soon, all their hard work will be on display for Cape Girardeau to see.

Senior April Bassett, Veronica Sawyer in the musical, said she has loved the entire “Heathers” experience, from the cast to the music and everything in between.

“The cast is incredible, they’re all very positive people [who] really want to be here and are really invested in telling the story,” Bassett said.

“Heathers: The Musical” will run at the River Campus in the Rust Flexible Theatre from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, followed by a break before they come back for five more shows from Nov. 7 through Nov. 10.