A dip in dark comedy: Hilltop’s “Heathers”

Three Heathers perform the song "Candy Store." (Photo by Amanda Martin.)

Incorporating dance numbers, musical renditions and dark, elicit comedy, Hilltop players performed the musical “Heathers” on April 27th and 29th in DPAC.

The musical, like the movie, focuses on the life of Veronica Sawyer, played by junior Marielle Scoire, as she tries to befriend high school mean girls Heather Chandler, played by sophomore Danielle Umanita, Heather McNamara, played by sophomore Monique Plante, and Heather Duke, played by junior Megan Chestna. The friendships disintegrate after Sawyer coincidentally kills one of the Heathers. The production also references sensitive topics such as bullying, suicide and abusive relationships.

Hilltop President Tiffany Santiago said, “It is so important for the Hilltop Players to be putting on a show like ‘Heathers.’ Not only for the ’80s nostalgia, but for the hard, sometimes uncomfortable topics that are brought up. … We are all trying to make it out alive and find happiness in whatever outlet it may come in. I am so proud of my organization for their maturity in addressing these topics.”

The musical opens with the song, “Beautiful,” as new girl, Sawyer, Sciore, and other Westburg high students sing, “You know life can be beautiful,” dancing around the stage while exposed to high school bullying.

The song is mentioned again at the end of the musical, except then the students are holding hands, united, unconcerned about maintaining their reputations.

Pianist and musical director Leah Marley captures the atmosphere of every scene, designing and sustaining beats to match the movement of the cast members and tones of their performances.

The dance numbers, choreographed by senior Emma Quinn, were entertaining and more often than not, humorous. Each motion reflected the energetic ambience and was perfectly executed to the rhythm of the live band.

Sciore said she was a huge fan of the musical “Heathers,” since her senior year high school when a friend played her the song, “Seventeen.”

“I instantly fell in love with the music,” she said. “I was so honored and excited to play Veronica. It was truly a dream to bring her character to life.”

Sciore added, “It was challenging pushing my voice to do the music just because I am use to playing characters with higher voices, and the range for Veronica was a lot lower than I am used to. I really think this experience, and challenging my voice, have taught me not to doubt my abilities.”

According to Umanita, the cast began rehearsing at the end of January up until the Thursday before Hilltop’s opening night and rehearsed twice a week.

Director and sophomore Laura Bradshaw said, “Directing the show has been the most surreal experience I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. … I am so insanely proud of this incredible cast, band and my amazing production staff.”

Producer and freshman Alex Surro said he would like to thank Bradshaw for the amount of work, time and effort she put into the production. “It would have never gotten done if it wasn’t for her.”