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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt Off-Broadway goes back to high school with ‘Heathers: The Musical’

Vanderbilt Off-Broadway is set to perform “Heathers” from Jan. 19-20 at Ingram Hall.
Heathers+McNamara%2C+Chandler+and+Duke+pose+with+croquet+mallets%2C+as+photographed+on+Jan.+17%2C+2024.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FAbby+Hoelscher%29
Abby Hoelscher
Heathers McNamara, Chandler and Duke pose with croquet mallets, as photographed on Jan. 17, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher)

Editor’s note: “Heathers: The Musical” includes scenes of attempted sexual assault, self-harm and suicide. 

Vanderbilt Off-Broadway (VOB) will debut their first musical of the semester, “Heathers: The Musical,” at Ingram Hall on Jan. 19 and 20. VOB is the only student organization that performs full-length musicals open for all to audition or participate and at no cost to Vanderbilt students. 

The show follows Veronica Sawyer (sophomore Leni Ertel), an outcast with impeccable forgery abilities in her senior year of high school, as she joins the most popular clique in school known as the Heathers. Veronica grapples with her new social status and struggles to obey the wicked Heather Chandler (first-year Katie Van Arsdel). Soon, her fling with the school’s new bad boy, JD (Garrett Greene), derails, forcing her to reckon with how cruel both the Heathers and the world can be. While the musical has much more heart than the original film, the play’s earnest moments don’t overshadow its comedic center. Each musical number is laced with deep emotions and beautiful scenes fit to bring tears to your eyes as well as gripping moments that keep you on the edge of your seat. “Heathers: The Musical” is sure to fulfill all your desires for revenge and teenage angst yet still manages to fill your heart with love. 

Despite a last-minute recast and halted production due to the recent snowstorm, the “Heathers” crew put on a polished, lively production. The cast and crew were easygoing under pressure, dancing and riffing amongst each other before rehearsals. Senior Jacob Heiser, the show’s director, chose “Heathers” because of its satirical nature and challenging music. Although it is a demanding musical, the effort required has only brought the cast and crew closer together.

“The show is so insane that we’ve all become so close,” Ertel said. 

“Heathers” is a labor of love for Heiser, a first-time VOB director, who views it as a last hurrah before graduating. The cast and crew are looking forward to a nearly full house for the show’s opening night.

“‘Heathers’ speaks to what it means to be a good person,” Heiser said. 

Ertel noted she is excited to watch the audience’s reaction to “Our Love Is God,” a twisted love song between Veronica and JD. The teenage musical boasts flashy belting numbers like “Candy Store,” a fantastic lead cast and side characters that steal the show. 

After a slow week in the snow, relish in this dark comedy’s vibrant lights and candy-colored costumes. After watching, you might even find yourself humming “Seventeen” for the next few days or feel a compelling urge to join the crew’s next production: “Chicago.”

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About the Contributors
Kailey Aldrich, Staff Writer
Kailey Aldrich (‘27) is from Olmsted Township, Ohio, and studies biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering. She is a Life staff writer interested in anything and everything, but she loves creative writing. She is great at relaxing and having fun with her friends instead of studying. You can reach her at [email protected].
Muthoni Kamau, Staff Writer
Muthoni Kamau ('24) is from Dallas, and is majoring in history and minoring in political science and sociology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, Muthoni enjoys walking around Nashville, finding new albums and reading. They can be reached at [email protected].
Abby Hoelscher, Deputy Photography Director
Abby Hoelscher (‘27) is from St. Louis and is an aspiring elementary teacher currently studying in Peabody College. Outside of writing, she enjoys performing, learning Taylor Swift songs in American Sign Language and trying the seasonal lattes from the campus coffee shops. She can be reached at [email protected].
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George Albu
2 months ago

As somebody who watched Heathers last night, I 11/10 recommend going to see it!