The A-Z Freshman Guide to Heathers the Musical

Reelout & Blue Canoe Productions are proud to be co-producing Heathers The Musical, (book, music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy) at The Baby Grand Theatre in Kingston, ON Canada.  The show runs Tuesday May 3-Sunday May 8, 2016.  Are you a Heathers virgin? Fear not, our handy, (practically spoiler-free), alphabetical guide contains everything you need to know before the curtain rises.


Andy Fickman- American film director, film producer, screenwriter, television director, television producer, and theatre director. Directed the the Los Angeles and Off-Broadway productions of Heathers the Musical.


BQ Corn Nuts– This popular convenient store snack is Heather Chandler’s comfort food,  in the cult-classic film and the musical.


Chandler- Surname to the ringleader of a powerful, high school clique of girls all with the first name “Heather”.  She is referred to as “A Mythic Bitch”.  Heather Chandler is easily identified by her signature colour red.


Duke- Surname to the lowest rung of the Heathers chain-of-command and is most-likely to be on the receiving end of Heather Chandler’s venomous actions.  However, her love of Moby Dick may be an indication that one day she will harpoon the great white whale that is Heather Chandler.  Can be often found puking up lunch and wearing her signature colour green.


Eskimo- Not mentioned in the musical but is a great punchline from the film. Heather Duke’s copy of Moby Dick is stolen and the perpetrator begins to highlight what he believes to be meaningful passages to falsely depict her as someone with severe depression including the sole word “Eskimo”.  Later it is interpreted by the Priest at her funeral to mean that her soul was freezing in Antarctica and he prayed she was now rubbing noses with Jesus.  Fun Fact: The word “eskimo” does not actually appear in the novel Moby Dick.


Fleming- Miss Pauline Fleming is the high school Guidance Counselor in both the film and the musical adaptation. She developed her outlook on life from the hippies in the 60s and may still be suffering from the amount of drugs she took at the time.  The movie character was played by Penelope Milford who was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Coming Home in 1978.


Gowan- Principal of the high school.  Toughest decisions include whether to cancel classes over a student suicide.  “I’d be willing to go half a day for a cheerleader.” The movie character was played by veteran Hollywood actor and soap opera vet (General Hospital) John Ingle, who coincidentally was a drama teacher at Beverly Hills High.


Heather McNamara- The sporty Heather.  Heather Chandler is not all that bright but she does excel at cheerleading and her dad is loaded. If any of The Heathers could be vaguely approachable it would be Heather McNamara although she is far from friendly due to her own insecurities.  She is easily identified by her signature colour yellow.


Ich Luge Bullets- Trying to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.  Let’s just say there’s no such thing as Ich Luge bullets and “Ich Luge” is German for “I’m lying.”


Jason “J.D” Dean-  The mysterious, trench-coat wearing new kid in school.  He reads miserable French poets and has a very strange relationship with his father, Big Bud, who owns a demolitions company.  He has a fondness for Slushees and an extreme disdain for mean girls and bone-head jocks.  An obvious literary allusion to James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause.


Kurt Kelly-  Quarterback and Captain of the football team.  He is chiseled, entitled and cocky.  Essentially he is the male version of Heather Chandler.


Laurence O’Keefe-  Along with Kevin Murphy wrote the book and the lyrics for Heathers the Musical based on the screenplay by Dan Waters.  The two have also collaborated on Reefer Madness the Musical and Legally Blonde the Musical.


Martha Dunnstock- Both in the film and the musical Martha is an easy-target for bullying by The Heathers.  The theatrical version of Martha is also a combination of the film character, Betty Finn,  Veronica’s childhood friend.   Martha loves movies with happy endings and is filled with optimism.  She is the idealistic heart of a high school full of cruelty and negativity and appears to be unaffected by the tyranny of The Heathers.


New World Stages- Site of the Off-Broadway production of Heathers the Musical. Coincidentally, “New World” was also the name of the production company that produced the film.


Ohio- Sherwood, Ohio is the fictitious setting for the film and the theatrical production.


Pate. As in, “Great pate but I’ve gotta motor if I want to ready for that party/funeral.” Veronica’s mother seems to enjoy feeding her family and houseguests pate. Although in one of the more notable deviations from the film to stage, Veronica’s family is not affluent  and Heather Chandler makes a rather rude, culinary clarification that what Veronica’s mom is actually serving is liverwurst.


Queen’s University- While a large casting call for cast and crew was held in the city of Kingston for this upcoming production, the majority of the talent comes from Queen’s University.  It is a public research university founded in 1841.


Ram Sweeney- High School line-backer and inseparable best friend to quarterback Kurt Kelly.  Once kissed Martha Dunnstock in kindergarten (which she still fantasizes about) but has since grown to be the epitome of a big, dumb, jock.


Slushees-  J.D’s drug of choice.  Due to the transient nature of his Dad’s work, J.D’s only constant is that in any town they move to, there will be a 7-11.  He enjoys the exhilaration that comes with drinking these beverages too quickly.  “Freeze Your Brain”.


Teflon- Veronica sums up The Heathers as “solid Teflon- never bothered, never harassed. I would give anything to be like that.”


University- Alas, another deviation from the film was any reference to parties at Remington University.  One of the more disturbing elements to the film is that Heather Chandler is a High School Junior but frequents frat parties at the local university.  In the film, Chandler invites Veronica along. “I’m giving Veronica her shot. Her first Remington party. You blow it tonight girl and it’ll be keggers with kids all next year.”  This scene was adapted to a house party at Ram’s house instead.


Veronica Sawyer- The title may be Heathers but the story’s protagonist is in fact named Veronica.  The unofficial  fourth Heather.  In the film, Veronica is already deeply entrenched into the Heathers clique.  The musical adaptation MAY have taken a cue from Mean Girls by introducing Veronica as an attractive outsider who Heather Chandler eyes as a pet project to makeover.  Veronica likes to write in her journal and has the unusual talent of forging handwriting.  She also has a hankering for J.D the mysterious new bad boy at school.


Westerberg High- The primary setting where a trio of seventeen-year-old girls hold all the power without reproach due to an ineffectual faculty.  The school was named after Paul Westerberg, the lead-singer of The Replacements.  They were Winona Ryder’s (Veronica Sawyer) favourite band.


X-Rated- What are drunk and stoned teenagers supposed to do when the parents are away?  Ram and Kurt suggest to party goers that they go up to Ram’s parents bedroom and lay on their waterbed, rubbing each other’s backs while watching porn on Cinemax.


Yo Girl- One of the darkest and shortest musical numbers appears just before the climax of the film as Veronica’s life and sanity begin to crumble.  “Yo girl, keep it together. I knew you would come far.  Now you’re truly a Heather. Smell how gangsta you are.”


Zesty-Veronica’s favorite dish is spaghetti with lots of oregano. (Admittedly a stretch but alas there are no zebras or zombies in either the film or the theatrical production.)


Heathers the Musical is part of The Juvenis Festival, a week-long celebration of youth and the arts in Kingston funded in part through the generosity of the City of Kingston Arts Fund. #juvy2016  Check out their website at