A solid and crew of native college students is brewing up two evenings filled with snarky dialogue and riveting plot strains set for Friday and Saturday, when “Heathers the Musical: Teen Version” hits the Arizona Theatre Firm stage.
“Heathers the Musical: Teen Version,” primarily based on the 1989 film, tells the story of Veronica Sawyer, a gorgeous, clever misfit who’s working her approach into essentially the most highly effective and merciless clique at Westerburg Excessive: the Heathers, three imply ladies— you guessed it—all named Heather. Simply as she is making an attempt to create a spot for herself, a brand new child — J.D. — enters the scene and steals Veronica’s coronary heart. From there issues take a really darkish flip. The musical is stuffed with catchy songs reminiscent of “Meant to be Yours” and “Sweet Retailer,” and can please anybody who appreciates a twisted humorousness.
“As we had been designing this system, we wished to choose one thing that will entice the youngsters,” director Chris Moseley mentioned. “It’s vital for the youngsters to have a second to debate about a number of the matters, like gun management and sexual assault.”
ATC’s Summer time on Stage program options Tucson youngsters as each solid and crew, with six weeks of summer season rehearsal culminating in a weekend manufacturing.
The manufacturing is a highschool model written by the musical’s unique authors and a few songs had been modified to make it appropriate for 13-18 year-olds, Moseley mentioned. For instance, the music “You are Welcome” was changed by a music referred to as “Blue.” Nevertheless, they’ve saved many of the language used within the unique.
Among the many 20 younger actors who will likely be taking the stage are Juju Napier, 16, and Kiera Kuehnle, 15, enjoying the roles of J.D. and Heather Chandler.
“In class, we do not actually speak about intercourse, we do not speak about consent,” Napier mentioned. Kuehnle mentioned that she additionally felt that colleges attempt to censor matters like those mentioned in “Heathers.” However they each really feel they’ll have these conversations on the theatre.
“My favourite half (of Summer time on Stage) is the solid,” Kuehnle mentioned. “This was one of the best solid I’ve ever labored with. We have now enjoyable – perhaps an excessive amount of enjoyable typically – however we get the job executed. They’re a fantastic group of individuals.”
The annual summer season program, placed on by ATC for about 20 years, supplies native teenagers with alternatives to pursue a “efficiency observe” (together with voice and appearing lessons) or a “technical theatre observe” (studying about sound, lighting, costume and manufacturing design). The stage crew for “Heathers” will embody 4 Summer time on Stage college students.
Napier, who just lately underwent surgical procedure that took him out of this system for every week, mentioned he felt understood and supported throughout his restoration course of from surgical procedure, and everybody helped him get again on observe when he returned.
They each mentioned they’re trying ahead to performing and expressed appreciation for his or her castmates and grownup mentors.
“There is a 50/50 relationship between the adults and the actors and tech children,” Napier mentioned. “Everyone seems to be so understanding. It is one of the best theater I’ve executed in my appearing expertise.”
The pandemic affected ATC, and theatre staffers had been struggling to get children to participate in this system. Nevertheless, they’re trying ahead to resuming classes on the theatre and doing extra productions after Summer time on Stage.
“I’ve spent 15 years instructing, and when COVID hit, we misplaced our theater,” Moseley mentioned. “It is so thrilling to get children again collectively and seeing them be taught to precise themselves and take new dangers. We received a fantastic group of children. They’ve turn out to be quick buddies. I’ve by no means seen a bunch of children so excited to work with one another.”