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Cal U Theatre presents ‘Heathers: The Musical’

Kelly Tunney

Kelly Tunney

Jessica Crosson, Entertainment Editor

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Cal U’s Theatre department has officially kicked off their run of Heathers: The Musical. Their production runs from April 12-14 on Steele Hall’s Mainstage Theatre.

Prior to the show’s beginning, a short video is shown to those in the audience that features a handful of students involved in the production. During the video, the students discuss different experiences they had while in high school.

One of those students is senior Theatre major, Kitty Hoffman, who plays the role of Heather Duke. Hoffman explains how her real-life personal experiences impacted the development of her role,

“It was and it wasn’t a challenge at the same time because since I had those personal connections it was easier to tap into that emotion and understand what was going on behind everyone. I saw the bullies and I saw the people who did those things to my friend so it was easier to tap into how they felt and how they just couldn’t care less. It was a little challenging at first to tap into that but once I got into character it came naturally.”

Heathers: The Musical is based off of the cult classic film, Heathers, which follows high school senior Veronica Sawyer (played by senior theatre major Kayla Grimm) as she tries to figure her way out through senior year. Longing to be a part of the “cool girl” clique, Veronica Sawyer quickly learns that being a part of the Heathers is not as luxurious as it seemed to be.

This musical takes on tough topics such as bullying, suicide, domestic violence, and more.

Director, Dr. Michele Pagen, shares that the show “is unapologetic, blunt and graphic. It’s a modern musical that speaks to our campus community, to students who are here.”

Senior Middle Level English Education and Special Education dual-major, Chelsea Feudale, plays the role of Heather McNamara whose character comes to a point in the show where she attempts suicide. Following department preview Feudale shared how she prepared for a challenging role like this one,

“I have never been that low in my life to where I wanted to commit suicide so I kind of had to put myself into perspective and I had to try and get into my character’s mindset. I wrote her a backstory which really helped me to develop the character further. I developed some internal struggles for her that the audience doesn’t see so that when all these crazy things start happening within the school it starts to bring all those internal struggles out to a more public knowledge.”

Another challenging role in the show was taken on by freshman English and Theatre dual-major, Jeromy Mackey, who played the leading male role of Jason Dean. Mackey’s character has been through a lot in his relatively short life and as a result he does not understand how to appropriately function in romantic relationships or social settings.

“Jason Dean is a loner, with a really bad home life, who moves around schools a lot. When he gets to his new school he meets the first girl he kind of connects with who is Veronica Sawyer, the female lead of the show, and once he connects with her he realizes that when he was young his mom committed suicide and he wants to protect Veronica since he couldn’t protect his mother. At first its normal relationship stuff but as she starts getting bullied and taken advantage of, he starts getting a little drastic with some of the ways he deals with protecting her.” Mackey states.

Senior Theatre major Kayla Grimm, who plays the female lead role of Veronica Sawyer, presented her honors thesis on the psychology of this musical which fellow cast members, such as Mackey, say helped them develop their characters.

Heathers: The Musical is open to the public. Show times are 7 p.m. April 12-13 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 14 in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre. Ticket price is $12. Students with valid CalCards are admitted for 50 cents; a $5 deposit will be returned when the student attends a performance. The public also may attend the talk by Abbey Sager, founder of the Diverse Gaming Coalition, at 8:45 a.m. April 13.

For more information or to order tickets by phone, call the Steele Hall box office at 724-938-5943.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Veronica Sawyer………………………………………Kayla Grimm*

Jason “J.D.” Dean……………………………………….Jeromy Mackey

Heather Chandler………………………………….Sidney Popielarcheck*

Heather McNamara………………………………….Chelsea Feudale

Heather Duke……………………………………………….Kitty Hoffman*

Martha Dunnstock……………………………………………….Erin Stump

Ram Sweeney……………………………………………….Jeshua Myers*

Kurt Kelly…………………………………………..Noah Dohanich

Ram’s Dad, Coach Ripper, Veronica’s Dad…………………..Mark Barrett*

Kurt’s Dad, Principal Gowan, Big Bud Dean…………………Garrett Smyth

Ms. Fleming, Veronica’s Mom………………………………Alexis Hawk

Beleaguered Geek, Officer Milner…………………………………….Sam Lucas

Hipster Dork, Officer McCord……………………………..Felix Rivera

Stoner Chick………………………………………………..Amanda Rhoades

Young Republicanette…………………………………………..Marissa Sorenson

New Wave Party Girl…………………………………Mackenzie Griffin

Ensemble…………………………………….Mollie Ehrlichman, Holly Grainger, Hailey Hart and Bethanie Patterson

 

Director: Dr. Michele Pagen*

Choreographer: Maria Gismondi*

Music Director: Brian Eisiminger*

Production Stage Manager: Betty Kline

Set and Props Design: Sabrina Hykes Davis*

Costume, Hair and Makeup Design: Joni Farquhar*

Lighting Design: Deborra Bergmark Peelor*

Projection Design: Ryan Johnson*

Sound Design: Dr. Rob Connick*

Dramaturg: Ccaylona Halpin

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Cal U Theatre presents ‘Heathers: The Musical’