What do scrunchies, Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, the 80s, and Trevor Ashley have in common?
Remember the 1988 cult film Heathers? Well sick back biatches, because Trevor Ashley is bringing Heathers: The Musical to QPAC’s Playhouse to make its Brisbane debut from 9 to 17 January 2016.
Well known as a writer, performer, and cabaret star, Trevor Ashley (Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Fat Swan, Little Orphan Trashley), will sit in the director’s chair (complete with shoulder pads), for Heathers: The Musical.
Aussie Theatre’s QLD correspondent Bobbi-Lea, caught up with Trevor to gossip about the show and his transition to the other side of the stage.
“It was oddly easy”, Trevor explained. “I had some serious nerves when I first started the process, but I have vision for all shows that I have produced and I’m pretty decisive. The biggest challenge was doing 8 hours a day of rehearsal and still doing 8 shows a week of Les Mis. It was full on.”
Obviously a huge learning curve for the performer-turned-director, Trevor had some words of advice for other emerging musical theatre directors;
I think you need to go in with a complete picture of the show. Even if you have a fantasy cast in your head, a bunch of “moments” that you want to hit the audience with and how you want people to feel when they leave the theatre. Make bold choices, and don’t be afraid to tell an actor you need to think about a question before you make a decision.
Written by the award-winning creative team of Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness, Desperate Housewives) and Laurence O’Keefe (Bat Boy, Legally Blonde), Heathers: The Musical is a fast paced, pop/rock show that’s for anyone who has ever longed to be ‘popular’ or fantasised about taking revenge on the cool kids.
The show follows Heather, Heather and Heather (Kirby Burgess, Erin Clare, and Libby Asciak), the teen queen bees at Westerberg High. When misfit Veronica Sawyer (Jaz Flowers) falls in love with the dangerously sexy new kid J.D. (Stephen Madsen), and out of step with the Heathers, she makes own plans to put the girls in their place – six feet under.
Being the music theatre nut that he is, Trevor came across the musical version during a random online search.
“I always read up about new musicals online, and the concept of it really excited me. Once I heard the soundtrack I was hooked! I think it’s a brilliant score and the comedy sits well for me in my slightly twisted brain,” he said.
Before Mean Girls and Easy A, the original movie The Heathers, dealt with peer group pressure, penned with a deft black hand, but when adapting to the musical theatre stage, obviously there are a few changes;
For the most part it is extremely faithful. Obviously, songs have been added and a few characters have been combined or become more prominent, but all the stuff you love from the film is there – including the catch-phrases that have become cult.
After the success of the film-turned-musical Footloose, there’s obviously room for another musical celebrating all that is the 80’s?! And even though Trevor was very young at the time, he still remembers the icons of the era.
“I was born in 1980, so I really only knew of it through the eyes of a child… the music is what stays with me mostly. Madonna, Kylie, Cyndi Lauper and NKOTB. Alf. Ninja Turtles. The Goonies. Those are the things I remember most!”
So, grab your scrunchie and your best fluro outfit, and bop on down to QPAC this January for Heathers: The Musical.
For more information, go to the QPAC website or call 136 246.
Warning: contains explicit language.