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OTRC: 'Heathers' the musical opens off-Broadway, based on '80s film

This image released by Vivacity Media Group shows the cast in a scene from the musical 'Heathers' performing at New World Stages in New York. (AP Photo / Vivacity Media Group, Chad Batka)

Heather, my love, there's a new sheriff in town -- off-Broadway.

A musical stage adaptation of Michael Lehmann's 1988 cult dark comedy film -- the "Mean Girls" of its era -- opened at the New World Stages in New York on Monday, March 31. The story focuses on smart high school girl Veronica, played by Winona Ryder, who doesn't really like her friends, all named Heather, but continues to hang out with them in a bid to be popular.

Bored with the daily routine of bullying fellow students and flirting with football players, she becomes intrigued with the mysterious and deeply disturbed new student J.D., played by Christian Slater. "Heathers" features teenage suicide, a murder plots and a school shooting.

The musical stars Barrett Wilbert Weed as Veronica, Ryan McCartan as J.D. and Jessica Keenan Wynn, Elle McLemore and Alice Lee as The Heathers. The show is the work of Kevin Murphy and Andy Fickman of "Reefer Madness" the musical and Laurence O'Keefe of the Broadway show "Legally Blonde."

" In a way, this latest incarnation of 'Heathers' is to the 1980s what 'Grease; was to the 1950s (when it was first staged in the 1970s). Directed by Andy Fickman and featuring a buoyant, cartoonlike cast, this 'Heathers' isn't as savvy or mordant as the film that inspired it," wrote New York Times' Ben Brantley.

"In the end, two words sum it up: 'How very,'" wrote theatre critic Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News.

Check out official photos from the off-Broadway musical and similar scenes from the movie.

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