Reboots of iconic and/or cult classics are always challenging and controversial: Psycho
, Star Trek
... If you happen to be obsessed with the original material, deviations from the source can be ... upsetting. And so, after seeing Heathers: The Musical
, I left Theatre on the Square with a heavy heart. Heathers was and still is a staple in my movie collection. It's my generation. I already knew the music was pretty formulaic, having listened to the soundtrack many times. But the gleeful, darkly vicarious experience of the movie — I would have loved to serve up some cups of Drano to several students in my high school — simply doesn't translate to the stage.
With that said, TOTS' production has its pros and cons.
Let's start with the pros:
• Director Zack Neiditch and choreographer Annalee Traeger created a most excellent slo-mo fight scene for "Fight for Me." The cast's expressions are priceless, and they pull off the effect perfectly.
• Also absolutely hilarious is "Blue," a song performed by Joe Mount as Ram and Nic Nightingale as Kurt. Call me immature, but these guys pull off the crazy lyrics in a LOL yet totally believable way. ("They're warm like mittens./They'll curl up on your face/And purr like kittens!/You make my balls so blue!")
• Clay Mabbitt as Ram's dad and Ryan Ruckman as Kurt's dad give an equally comical performance of "My Dead Gay Son."
• Clayton Marcum as JD has an excellent voice.
• As do Sommer O'Donnell as Martha and Jenny Reber as Heather McNamara in their solos "Kindergarten Boyfriend" and "Lifeboat," respectively.
• The live band is fantastic.
And so, the cons:
• Veronica's "transformation" from geek to hottie entails a wardrobe change. Period. It's on par with She's All That: take Laney's glasses off and bam! She's a babe! And Veronica's hair is all wrong.
• The costumes are hit-or-miss. JD's trench coat is OK, but the jeans and T-shirt are too 1990s. Heather Chandler's spangly party dress is a disaster. OK for prom, not a house party.
• Miranda Nehrig's (as Veronica) vocals are capricious. Sometimes she hits that goal note, but sometimes ... she doesn't.
• A lot of the choreography uses moves too reminiscent of Grease.
• Heather McNamara's character is a doppelganger for Sarah Jessica Parker in Hocus Pocus.
• The set is minimalistic. I went in anticipating that TOTS would pull out all the stops, seeing as this slot had originally been reserved for RENT. But, no.
Through August 13, $15-20, Theatre on the Square, 627 Massachusetts Ave., tots.org