See the Musical Heathers and Feel Bad for Laughing
I love musicals. Go to them all the time. Some of my favorites are Mama Mia, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, I could go on and on. Talk about comedy therapy, going to a musical always lifts my spirits…until last night.
I went to see the musical “Heathers.” Now, this is on me, I didn’t do much research. Here’s the premise I read online before purchasing my tickets:
“Based on the classic 1989 film, Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather and Heather… the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under. Relive your high school years, friends and foes, in this rollercoaster ride of a musical!”
The picture for the musical portrays a bloody mallet so naturally I thought: death by croquet, what could be more fun? Only it was much darker and twisted than that. J.D. is a murderer who doesn’t stop with killing one Heather. He kills anyone who insults Veronica. Then he plans to blow up the entire school during a prom. And one of the sweetest songs in the musical is about suicide. Talk about conflicted!
The music and dialogue were hilarious from beginning to end, but imagine if someone put song and dance to the Columbine massacre, would we be laughing? Hell no! For me, it’s hard to find the comedy when it rings so close to what’s happening in our schools across the nation. I found this troubling if not irresponsible. And after the musical, as if this message worried producers about the possibility of glorifying school shootings, a symposium was held with attorneys, police, and a judge to address how to protect your child and how to report suspicious activity.
I’ve been to musicals before that handled difficult topics like war and death, but in those cases the subjects were adults and my emotions weren’t as mixed as they were last night. For the record, there were a lot of high school kids in the audience who seemed to have no trouble with the topic or message. Which is troubling in itself. It’s like they’ve come to accept that high school is a ticking time bomb.
So what’s my point? I don’t really have one except the need to work out my inner turmoil of laughing at a serious subject. I still recommend going to musicals as a source of comedy therapy, however, perhaps do a little more research than I did.