Kennesaw State University Department of
Theatre and Performance Studies Presents
"Heathers: The Musical"

MUSIC, LYRICS, AND BOOK BY LAURENCE O'KEEFE & KEVIN MURPHY
Based on the film written by Daniel Waters
DIRECTED BY: AMANDA WANSA MORGAN
MUSIC DIRECTION BY: CRISTINA DINELLA
CHOREOGRAPHY BY: CINDY MORA REISER

THE STORY

"Heathers: The Musical," based on the 1988 movie of the same name, addresses serious issues facing teenagers in America which include mental health disorders, suicide, bullying, intolerance, social pressures, eating disorders, and neglect. 

The artistic team, cast, and dramaturges worked to connect the challenges facing the characters to the challenges for today’s teens.  Many of the challenges remain but take on different forms through the heavy usage of social media and the internet. 


THE STORY TELLERS

  • WRITER laurence okeefe photo


    Laurence Crawford O'Keefe, also known as Larry O'Keefe, is an American composer and lyricist for Broadway musicals, film and television.

    O'Keefe is a graduate of Harvard College, where he studied anthropology and wrote humor for the Harvard Lampoon and sang with the Harvard Krokodiloes. He got his start in musical theater through Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, performing in the Pudding's drag burlesques, composing two others (notably Suede Expectations, book by Mo Rocca), and penning one libretto (Romancing the Throne). He later studied composition and film scoring at Berklee College of Music and the University of Southern California.

    He is known for writing the score for Bat Boy: The Musical, which ran off-Broadway from March 3 to December 2, 2001, followed by over 500 regional and amateur productions all over the USA. Bat Boy received eight Drama Desk Award nominations, including nods for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics, won two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and won both the Lucille Lortel Award and the Outer Critics' Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical.

    With his wife and co-writer Nell Benjamin, O'Keefe has also written two musicals for Theatreworks USA: Cam Jansen, and Sarah, Plain and Tall. Benjamin and O'Keefe also collaborated on a short musical entitled The Mice, which was produced by Hal Prince as a part of the three-show evening 3hree at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia, in 2000. Benjamin is also a Kleban Award winner for her lyrics.

    O'Keefe and Benjamin's project, Legally Blonde: The Musical, opened in San Francisco on February 2, 2007, and opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on April 29, 2007 and closed on October 19, 2008. For their work on Legally Blonde, they received Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lyrics, as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Score.

    On March 13, 2011, Legally Blonde won three Laurence Olivier Awards at the annual presentation at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London, including Best New Musical as well as Best Actress in a Musical for Sheridan Smith and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for Jill Halfpenny. 

  • WRITER kevin murphy photo

    Kevin Murphy is an American screenwriter, television producer, lyricist and composer. He wrote the book and lyrics of the musical Reefer Madness, as well as its television adaptation. For television, he has worked as a writer and producer for many series, most notably Desperate Housewives.

    Murphy's television career began as a writer for the family sitcom Big Brother Jake. He went on to write for the animated series The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sabrina: The Animated Series and Phantom Investigators; the science fiction-themed family programs Weird Science (TV series), Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show and So Weird; the action series Martial Law; the romantic comedy-dramas Jack & Jill and Ed; and the family dramas Get Real and The O'Keefes. From its premiere in 2004 to 2007, he worked as head writer and co-executive producer for the hit comedy-drama Desperate Housewives. Desperate Housewives was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2005, when Murphy was its head writer.

    In 2007, Murphy wrote and produced an original TV movie titled Nobody. In the same year, he worked as a writer and co-executive producer for the supernatural-themed comedy-drama Reaper. He also contributed original songs to Nobody and Reaper. In 2008, Murphy created the short-lived comedy-drama Valentine. In October 2009, Murphy joined the staff of the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica. A month later, he became the showrunner for the SyFy drama, taking over from Jane Espenson.

    As of 2009, Murphy has been working with Tom Welling to develop the September 2010 series Hellcats television series for the CW, based on the book Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders by Kate Torgovnick. He was also working on a drama titled Velvet Hammerfor USA Network.

    Murphy is currently the producer for SyFy Network's series Defiance.

    Murphy wrote the lyrics and co-wrote the book for the musical Reefer Madness. It was his third collaboration with writer-composer Dan Studney, but the first to be professionally produced. For the off-Broadway production of Reefer Madness, Murphy was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Lyrics". In 2005, Murphy and Studney adapted their stage musical for television for Showtime. The song "Mary Jane/Mary Lane", which they composed for the television adaptation, won an Emmy Award for Music and Lyrics.

    In 2009, Murphy began developing a musical adaptation of the 1988 film Heathers. Murphy wrote the book and lyrics, and the score was written by Laurence O'Keefe, composer of Legally Blonde: The Musical. Three staged readings of the Heathers musical took place, with Kristen Bell in the starring role; the creators hoped for a regional production in 2010, to be followed by a Broadway run in 2011.  In 2013, the musical began a run Sept. 21 at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles.  The musical then began an Off-Broadway run in March 2014 and closed in August 2014. There are rumors of a movie musical coming in 2016, as well as a Broadway run.

THE TEAM

  • Director.....................................Amanda Wansa Morgan

    Music Director..........................Cristina Dinella

    Choreographer..........................Cindy Mora Reiser - (Guest Artist)

    Assistant Director.....................Lindsay Ross

    Stage Manager.........................Sami McBrayer

    Scenic Designer........................Jamie Bullins - (Guest Artist)

    Costume Designer....................Elizabeth Rasmusson

    Sound Designer........................Daniel Terry

    Production Manager.................Dawn Eskridge

    Technical Director.....................Kenyon Shiver

  • Ke’ilah Bailey.........................Mrs. Fleming

    Ashley Behrend.....................Goth Girl

    Abigail Brown........................Understudy/Pit Singer

    Sully Brown...........................Preppy/Officer Milner

    Alex Burcar............................Geek

    Jovahn Burroughs.................Hipster Dork

    Maggie Ewing......................Republicanette

    Harper Ford..........................Martha Dunstock

    Shelby Garrett......................Veronica’s Mom/Coach Ripper

    Sarah Grossman..................Heather Macnamera

    Justin Hart..........................Jason Dean

    Joey Mangum.....................Kurt’s Dad

    Cassandra Mayfield............Stoner Chick

    Courtney McCullar..............Understudy/Pit Singer

    Andrea Mora.......................Veronica Sawyer

    Shannon Murphy.................Heather Chandler

    Laura Reboulet....................Heather Duke

    Hayden Rowe......................Kurt Kelly

    Carson Seabolt....................Ram Sweeney

    Christian Smith....................Ram’s Dad/Big Bud Dean

    Jay Strawder........................Prinicpal Gowen/Veronica’s Dad

    Cameron Walker..................Eager Teen/Officer McCord

  • CINDY MORA REISER, Choreographer
    A hearty welcome to Guest Artist Cindy Mora Reiser, our Choreographer!

    Cindy Mora Reiser has choreographed over 50 musical theatre and dance productions in the metro Atlanta area. She received a BFA in dance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she was the recipient of the prestigious Pulaski Award. For more than a decade, she has taught and choreographed for the Cobb County Center of Excellence in the Performing Arts (CCCEPA) at Pebblebrook High School. Some of her favorite productions include Tarzan, All Shook Up, Footloose, and The Drowsy Chaperone. Mrs. Reiser was the recipient of the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Shuler Hensley Awards for Outstanding Choreography for her work with the CCCEPA productions of Footloose, Aida, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Hairspray. Cindy has also choreographed for the Atlanta Lyric Theatre. Among the productions she has choreographed for the Atlanta Lyric are Hairspray, The Will Rogers’ Follies, West Side Story, Catch Me If You Can, West Side Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Peter Pan, in which she also performed the role of Tiger Lily. Cindy also received three Suzi Bass Award nominations for her productions of Cabaret, The Will Rogers’ Follies, and Hairspray. In addition to her work at Pebblebrook and Atlanta Lyric Theatre, Cindy has choreographed for the Macy’s Lighting of the Tree, Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts, and has performed throughout the world as dance captain with Holland America Cruise Lines.


KSU HEATHERS Promo Sticker

Social and Self Awareness Information

Below are articles about those social issues as well as some resources to organizations that can provide help to those facing challenges. 

> Kennesaw State Counseling & Psychological Services
> NAMI Cobb (National Alliance of Mental Illness)
> Fear of Food: A History of Eating Disorders
> Fat Shaming can Literally Break Your Heart

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