ST. LOUIS, Mo. - New Line Theatre - “the bad boy of musical theatre" - opens its 25th anniversary season of adult, alternative musical theatre in the brand new Marcelle Theater in Grand Center, with the regional premiere of the rock musical Heathers, running October 1-24, 2015.

Heathers, the pitch-black musical comedy, is written by the award-winning team of Kevin Murphy ( Reefer Madness) and Laurence O’Keefe ( Bat Boy, Legally Blonde) and will mark New Line's 75th production. This hilarious, big-hearted, and homicidal new musical is based on the 1989 cult film, truly one of the darkest teen comedies of all time. The original screenwriter Daniel Waters called it, “a Carson McCullers-style novel of a girl who meets the Antichrist as a teenager.”

It’s September, 1989, and Westerberg High is terrorized by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather and Heather, the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But brainy misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the damaged new stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place. For good. Deliciously, wickedly funny, weirdly romantic, and occasionally powerful, this is a surprisingly truthful fable for anyone who’s ever been in love, in trouble, or in high school.

And today, in this era of bullying and school shootings, the satire of Heathers takes on a powerful new relevance. As a 2014 Atlantic article said, “ Heathers has the courage to sympathize with a psychopath who exposes how dangerous it can be when fads and gossip are more influential than basic decency.” Today the original movie, released a full decade before Columbine, seems weirdly prescient. And the musical adaptation takes on this weight of our more recent history, without ever losing its satiric touch or its outrageous comedy, in songs like “I Love My Dead Gay Son.”

USA Today wrote about the musical, “As the true motives of Veronica’s new beau, J.D., become clearer, and the couple’s relationship more intense, Murphy and O’Keefe ask that we also consider them, and their classmates — even the more despicable ones — as human beings.” Variety said, “The show still deals with the serious issues that gave the movie its cutting edge: school bullying, teen sexuality, campus shootings, bomb threats and suicide epidemics. After 25 years of horrific school violence, J.D.’s terrorist persona and homicidal activities are actually more chilling today than they were when the movie came out."

The cast of New Line’s Heathers includes Anna Skidis (Veronica), Evan Fornachon (J.D.), Sicily Mathenia (Heather Chandler), Cameisha Cotton (Heather Duke), Larissa White (Heather McNamara), Grace Seidel (Martha Dunnstock), Omega Jones (Ram Sweeney), Clayton Humburg (Kurt Kelly), Brenda Bass, Kevin Corpuz, Colin Dowd, Alex Glow, Joel Hackbarth, Lindsey Jones, Chris Kernan, and Victoria Valentine. The show is directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy, with music direction by Jeffrey Richard Carter, choreography by Robin Michelle Berger, scenic design by Rob Lippert, costume design by Sarah Porter, sound design by Benjamin Rosemann, and lighting design by Kenneth Zinkl.

Heathers contains adult language and content.

"It's definitely mind-blowing to realize that New Line has been around for 25 years and produced 74 musicals," says New Line founder and artistic director Scott Miller. "I couldn't be prouder of this upcoming 25th season, which embodies everything New Line is about. And what a thrill to open the season this fall in our brand new blackbox theatre, created by Ken and Nancy Kranzberg specifically for us and the kind of work we do, We can't wait for everyone to see the new space. It's going to be such a great season!"

New Line also brings back its TALK-BACKS onstage, on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. All the talk-backs are also posted to YouTube. For each show, the New Liners also blog about our creative process, taking you behind the scenes of every New Line production, from first rehearsal to closing night. Details on the website.

Heathers runs October 1-24, 2015, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, at 8:00 p.m., at the new Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive (63103), just three blocks east of Grand, in Grand Center. October 1 is a preview. See the New Line website for directions. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays; and only $20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Thursdays. For other information, visit New Line Theatre's full-service website at www.newlinetheatre.com. All programs are subject to change.

Press release contributed to this article. 



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