Get ready to take a step back in time to an era when shoulder-pads, big hair and fluorescent colours were all the rage when Heathers the Musical comes to Brisbane in January.
Based on the 1988 cult film Heathers, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, Heathers the Musical is set to make its Brisbane debut at QPAC from 9 to 17 January.
Written and directed by cabaret star, Trevor Ashley (Les Misérables, Priscilla Queen of the Desert), the musical is a fast paced pop rock show based on three cruel high school girls — Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara and Heather Duke — who rule Westerberg High.
With elements of comedy, romance and murder, this show is for everyone who has ever longed to be in the popular group at school or ever dreamed of taking revenge on the cool kids!
Libby Asciak, who plays Heather Duke in the show, says Heathers the Musical is atrociously fabulous.
“It’s bright and bubbly and energised! It’s all about the fabulous ’80s, ’80s music, that ’80s vibe, so we embrace the puff shoulders like nothing else,” she laughs.
“It’s not a cookie cutter version of the movie; we’ve just taken the best aspects from it and pushed it that little bit further.
“It has got some spoilers in there (if you haven’t seen the movie), but it’s so brilliantly written with some of the most famous lines in the movie being spun into the musical.”
Libby says didn’t know how popular the movie was until her first few performances.
“Before I auditioned for the show I had never actually seen the movie, so I had no idea how much of a cult there was behind it,” she says.
“I came out of the stage door after one show and people were dressed as Heather Duke (me) and I was like, ‘Wow, this is nuts’.
“You can hear them in the audience screaming or miming the songs, and that’s great because not every show can do that.”
Playing alongside Libby are stars Kirby Burgess as lead girl Heather Chandler, Erin Clare as Heather McNamara and Jaz Flowers as Veronica Sawyer.
Libby says that out of all the Heathers girls, she’s glad she was picked to be Heather Duke.
“When I was auditioning I was like, ‘I want that role’, because Heather Duke, as a character, has the biggest twist,” she explains. “At the start Duke’s all about pleasing Heather Chandler, because she’s the almighty god. Then, in the second act of the show, things change and Duke has the opportunity to step up and become the leader of the pack. And that’s such a good change for me as an actor, to go from such a small character in the beginning to someone that’s just ruling the school.
“She’s also got some great songs and some fabulous one liners!”
Libby says in some ways she is very similar to Heather Duke.
“I think I was that person in school, that person that would always try to be in with the ‘in’ group, trying to please everyone else,” she says.
“Then there’s the other side of Duke. Duke has a confidence about her and sometimes it goes too far, but if you want to embrace the world and make it what you can, you have to have that ‘I’m strong, I can do this’ attitude.
“You have to eat or be eaten. That’s how school is.”
To study for the role, Libby says she looked back to her school years.
“I didn’t like that place at all,” she admits. “It was terrible. I got bullied a lot. It’s still going on today, all the cliques and stuff like that. I really drew back on those girls from school and how they were and how they managed to manipulate so many people.”
She also says she watched the movie over and over again.
“I watched the movie quite a lot and to be honest I didn’t like the movie half as much as I liked the musical,” she laughs.
“When I read the script for the first time, I just knew that we were creating something really special.”
Libby says she is proud to be connected to such a great show and thinks the Brisbane audience will love it.
“We’re going to be known as the original Australian cast of Heathers the Musical and I’m so happy to be a part of it,” she says.
“It’s been the absolute biggest blessing, I’ve learnt so much from the creative team and cast. It’s just too good to be true.”
“We just hope the audience can just let loose and have fun, because that’s what theatre is all about – escaping and going to another world and just having a ball.”
Heathers the Musical will play at QPAC from 9 to 17 January.
For tickets visit www.qpac.com.au or 136 246.