Murder, bullying, drugs, teenage sex and suicide are not typically covered in musical theatre but, as Wellington audiences will discover next week, Heathers is hardly a typical musical.
Heathers: The Musical is based on the cult classic 1989 film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater and, like the film, it includes dark topics including bullying, depression, suicide, drug use, and sexual violence. While the musical is presented as a dark comedy, the confronting themes may be challenging for some. Wellington Footlights is proud to be partnering with Youthline to help support audience members and spark healthy discussion.
“We have a responsibility to look after our audience’s well-being. While we think the musical appropriately tackles these important issues, we also appreciate that audience members may struggle with the themes explored,” says Heathers director Karen Anslow.
“The homophobia, the bullying, the language in Heathers is a product of its time, but these themes are still relevant to young people even 30 years later, with online bullying a prevalent and growing problem. While we think the musical approaches these themes respectfully, it is difficult to know what may trigger strong emotional reactions, which is why we will be at the performances supporting people,” says Chloe Bisley-Wright, Youthline Wellington’s Education & Youth Development Coordinator.
Youthline staff members will be in the foyer during intermission of all four performances and written resources will also be available.
Heathers: The Musical was first performed off Broadway in 2014 but it is set in 1989. The musical, which begins next week, is a New Zealand Premiere.
About Heathers: The Musical
Presented by the Wellington Footlights Society
$28 adult / $20 concession