“What’s your damage?” The Young Players Second Stage group of Benton presents “Heathers The Musical” January 9th-12th and January 16th-19th, 2020 in the historic Royal Theatre, 111 South Market Street, in downtown Benton, Arkansas.
The rock musical features music, lyrics, and book by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, and is based on the 1988 film of the same name written by Daniel Waters. The show is a high-energy, fun, but dark comedy that facilitates conversations about important issues including bullying, teen suicide, sexual assault, and school violence that are still relevant today. Show times are 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for military, college students with a valid ID, and senior citizens (60+); and $6 for students (12th grade and under). Tickets can be purchased at https://theroyalplayers.ticketleap.com/heathers-the-musical.
With a cast of 37 actors, the production showcases some of the best local young talent in Arkansas. The leads were double cast to allow both college and high school aged actors to take center stage. A large ensemble is featured in all of the shows. The Candy Store cast, featuring mostly college students, will perform Jan. 9th-12th and the Brain Freeze cast, featuring mostly high school students, takes the stage Jan. 16th-19th. The local production features direction by Justin A. Pike, music direction by Tanner Oglesby, and choreography by Reagan Hammonds. Destiny Marchese is stage manager, assisted by Emma Boone.
The Candy Store cast features Hannah Hill as Veronica Sawyer, Brooke Melton as Heather Chandler, Izzy Hammonds as Heather Duke, Hannah Blacklaw as Heather McNamara, Makenna Schaeffer as Martha Dunnstock, Stanly Robinson as Kurt Kelly, and Christian Waldron as Ram Sweeney. The Brain Freeze cast includes Annslee Clay as Veronica Sawyer, Skyla Conger as Heather Chandler, Sharayah Wallace as Heather Duke, Madison Stolzer as Heather McNamara, Lexie Ellis as Martha Dunnstock, Luke Ferguson as Kurt Kelly, and Zachary Glover as Ram Sweeney. Ethan Patterson portrays Jason “J.D.” Dean in both casts.
The ensemble appearing beside both casts includes Molly Austin, Lauren Belk (Stoner Chick), Lauren Bond, Maverick Burleson, Brooklyn Courtney-Moore, Elizabeth Dawson, Ethan Davis (McCord), Simon Guess (Beleaguered Geek), Matthew Glover (Milner), Wyatt Gunter, Kris Jerry (Preppy Stud), Amber Thompson, Noah Lee, Shelby Loftis, Hazel Ragsdell (New Wave Party Girl), Makayla Shipe (Young Republicanette), Madison Smith, Matthew Tribble (Hipster Dork), and Samantha White. Adult mentors rounding out the cast are Tony Clay, Danny Troillett, and Cheryl Troillett.
Heathers The Musical is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy teenage misfit who finds her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers (Heather Chandler, Heather Duke, and Heather McNamara). But before she can get comfortable at the top the high school food chain, Veronica falls in love with the dangerous new kid, J.D. When Heather Chandler, the Almighty, kicks her out of the group, Veronica must decide whether to comply or fight back.
Young Players Second Stage (YP2S) is a branch of the Young Players program at the Royal Theatre. It exists to provide advanced theatrical opportunities to likeminded, creative young people in the greater central Arkansas area. YP2S stresses dedication, positivity, preparedness, community, and focus as a means to success. This program provides a unique youth theatre experience in that it combines the talents of young theatre enthusiasts with the talents of experienced adult mentors. YP2S was conceived in 2013 by Justin A. Pike and Daphne Shoppach and produced its first production in January 2014. Ages 13 to 23 are eligible to audition and participate.