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TheatreZone-FGCU ‘Heathers’ collaboration gives students chance to work with equity actors


Future stars of the stage collaborate with professional Equity actors in Heathers: The Musical, a joint production of Naples’ Theatre Zone and Florida Gulf Coast University’s Bowers School of Music. Considered an iconic black comedy and the greatest teen comedy of all time, Heathers offers a hilarious, heartfelt and homicidal look at the joys and angst of a high school bullied by the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio.

In the preface to the script, the playwrights (Laurence O’Keefe (Bat BoyLegally Blonde) and Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness, Desperate Housewives)) wrote, “We wanted to give our audience a chance to look at the most terrible aspects of human nature, laugh at them, and maybe find inspiration to combat these things with love instead of anger.”

Heathers’ setting is Westerberg High, ruled by the shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing, terror-inspiring Heathers – Heather McNamara (Yellow Heather), Heather Duke (Green Heather) and Heather Chandler (The Red Queen) – the hottest, cruelest and most condescending girls in all of Ohio. After gaining admission into their clique, isfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under.

Mark Danni, founding artistic director of TheatreZone, says he is “thrilled at the spectacular level of talent” of the FGCU’s theatre and music students who have been cast in the musical.

FGCU’s theatre program offers a Bachelor of Theatre Arts degree. For musical theatre study, the school maintains close collaboration with TheatreZone, which is entering its 19th season in Naples in 2023-2024. Heathers: The Musical, is its fifth joint production with FGCU.

The FGCU students who are acting alongside Equity actors cast by Mark Danni are earning valuable professional workforce experience, a requisite of their degree programs.

Also performing in Heathers is FGCU theatre professor and Equity actor Gerritt VanderMeer, a frequent lead performer in TheatreZone’s musicals — he played Tully in Escape to Margaritaville and Hertz Klinemann in Rock of Ages.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.

September 19, 2023.

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