Six weeks. We had to put on a monster of a musical in six weeks. This past weekend, the Penn State Thespian Society premiered “Heathers: the Musical” at Schwab Auditorium. We put on four shows and boy, were they special. This dynamic cast was comprised of people from all academic majors and backgrounds. All, however, held the same love and passion for theatre.
I am from a small town called Duxbury on the shore of Massachusetts. Theatre was a huge part of my life for so long, and it truly only felt natural to continue on studying the subject in college. During my senior year of high school, I auditioned at various musical theatre programs across the country. Slowly but surely, I started to fall out of love with the thing that I had once regarded as my soulmate. I could no longer see myself performing on Broadway forever and pictured a more conventional for myself. When I switched my intended major to broadcast journalism, I found myself looking into the involvement opportunities outside of academics. What I found was a highly impressive array of theatre clubs, but one stuck out in particular: The PSU Thespian Society. The oldest club on campus that presents professional-grade musicals looked like a win, so I committed and never looked back!
At the beginning of this year, auditions were held for our fall musical. “Heathers” is the OG “Mean Girls.” It is raunchy and vulgar, and most shows either flop or soar — there is no in between. The main set of characters are also very “Mean Girls”- esque since there are three popular teens and one outcast who is welcomed into their madness. The only difference is that there is a large, dark, murderous twist to the plot.
I was cast as the dumb, head cheerleader, Heather McNamara. She is such a fun character to play because she comes off as very surface level, but by the end of the show, she reveals incredible depth. Although she has had an easy life, the death of three close friends leads her to consider suicide and eventually befriend some of the “uncool” people in Westerburg High School.
The director of the show, Laney Pleasanton told me to play the character as if “Heather wakes up every morning and just thanks God that she is still popular.” At times, the rehearsal process was difficult because toward the end we had up to six-hour practices, five days a week, but the end product was more than worth the effort. I am so proud of the product that we created and could not be more excited for our spring show!
If you or a friend is interested in theatre, on or off stage, keep an eye out for posts about auditions and rehearsal staff applications after winter break. We are putting on the smash-hit musical, “Mamma Mia!” March 26–28. VALLEY supports the arts and so should you — come out and witness this visual masterpiece!