I loved Heathers so much that I decided to sit down and chat with the cast and crew to see what it was all about. I spoke with the director Jeff Sanders, the male and female leads Scott Worley and Holly Kirkman, and the stage manager Sierra Peck.
So why Heathers and not another musical? There are two followings of Heathers out there: the people who saw the movie when it came out, and a generation of younger people who know about the play. Jeff picked this play out because of the musical numbers from an off-Broadway production.
Most of the actors were theatre students, but some weren’t. Eastern students will definitely get a little priority when selecting cast members, but cast and crew can be picked out from anyone. In fact, a non-theatre student had a major role in Heathers. One great thing about EWU is that the theatre program is a little smaller than the largest universities; anyone can get the opportunity to play a lead role!
Heathers was incredibly well-received. It outsold Avenue Q by 200 tickets and may have even outsold Romeo and Juliet which had 97% capacity. That’s a lot of people!
A little about the actors
Holly and Scott ended up learning a lot about acting.
Playing as Veronica gave Holly a much better understanding on where her limits were, and what limits she thought she had that she was able to surpass. Scott wasn’t able to connect with the troubled JD on an emotional level, so he mastered a technique from Theatre 1 called the Chekhov technique.
Most everyone in the play knew each other beforehand but there were definitely some new people. Scott said “with every new actor, you learn something from. I want to work with as many new actors as I can.”
Holly added that “we really are a family. In theatre we grow really close. We do these kickbacks where we run scenes, run monologues, and give critiques and feedback.”
What if I don’t want to be on stage?
Sierra was the stage manager, which means she helped manage the crew who helped put on the production. These are people who move the sets, put on costumes, and make sure the lighting and sound work properly.
A good crew is vital to getting a play to work. According to Sierra: “a good run crew and good crew overall is integral to having a good show. So many working, moving parts happen backstage that are super important to making the show good.”
Stage crew really is important. After a few weeks to get the lines down, the crew showed up and started putting up and taking down the set an hour before and after the cast. That shows a lot of dedication.
How can you join the crew? There are addition sheets during auditions for students who audition for cast parts. You can also get in touch with the theatre department and email them. Sierra says that she picks out people based on interest, so if you really want to get in, make sure to send out emails.
How do I get started?
If you want to get into the plays, start off by going to the plays. The Fall play typically has a call for auditions and you’ll be able to learn how to apply.