August 13 – 23

Gen Y Productions announces the Florida Premiere of HEATHERS: The Musical, playing at the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando from August 13 to August 23.HeathersMusical_copy3

Based on the 1989 cult classic film, HEATHERS: The Musical is the dark and hilarious story of Veronica Sawyer, a teenage outcast at Westerburg High School, who is accepted by the school’s most powerful and cruel clique: The Heathers. Veronica rejects the evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dangerous and sexy stranger JD, who plans to put The Heathers in their place – six feet under.

HEATHERS: The Musical at the Dr. Phillips Center stars social media sensation Thomas Sanders in the role of the mysterious JD. Sanders, who is active in the Gainesville theater community, was made famous with his social media Vine Channel, where his themed Vines such as “Storytime,” “Disney Pranks” and “ShoutOutSunday” have been lauded by his more than 6 million followers.

Starring opposite Sanders, the role of Veronica will be played by Nicole Visco. Playing the notorious Heathers are Lindsey Wells as Heather Chandler, Jillian Gizzi as Heather McNamara and Caroline Drage as Heather Duke. The role of Martha Dunnstock will be played by Ally Gursky, with David Kotary as Ram Sweeney and Kyle Wait as Kurt Kelly.

Tickets to HEATHERS: The Musical start at $35 and can be purchased at DrPhillipsCenter.org. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets by calling 407-455-5550.

Following a sold-out run in Los Angeles, HEATHERS: The Musical premiered Off-Broadway in 2014. HEATHERS: The Musical is produced by Aaron Safer an Alice Rix of Gen Y Productions, with direction by Kenny Howard. HEATHERS also features choreography by Blue Star, music direction by John DeHaas, costume design by Kyla Swanberg, lighting design by Amy Hadley and assistant direction by Eric Desnoyers.

HEATHERS: The Musical makes its Florida debut at the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 13. Performance dates and times are as follows: 7:30 p.m. from August 13-16 and August 18-23, and 2 p.m. matinee performances on August 15-16 and August 22-23.

Nicole Visco, a native of Viera in Brevard County, knew she wanted to pursue acting as a profession from a very young age. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of Central Florida. While she has worked in theater and media before, HEATHERS: The Musical is Visco’s first-ever performance at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center. She talks about what the musical and what it’sHeathersMusical_copy like to play such an iconic role in this exclusive Hotspots interview.

How excited are you to be a part of this production?

I’m absolutely, totally excited. Veronica is one of my “dream roles” and I’m surprised that this is happening for me now because I thought this would be off-limits to me for a couple of years, because it’s so new, but now that it’s really happening, I can’t even put the excitement into words.

How nervous are you to step into a role that was made so famous by Winona Ryder?

It’s always like that with any role you take on; there’s a big shadow looming over you because with many roles, people identify them with their original actors. I want to do her justice, but I also want to bring my own touch to the role. I want to bring some “Nicole” into it so it’s a nice mix of Veronica and Nicole too. [laughs] 

What are the differences between the movie version and the musical?

HeathersMusical_copy2It’s a very good musical adaptation of the movie. You’ll recognize full scenes that are verbatim from the film. You’ll notice a few events moved around, and some characters are consolidated, but they really help the musical flow better, so there are more long, flowing scenes as opposed to small, choppy scenes you’d expect from a movie.

What’s your favorite part of the musical?

My favorite song that I like to hear on-stage is “Blue.” It’s one of the few songs that I don’t participate in, and it’s basically two drunk jock types talking about having blue b-lls. [laughs] I have to make sure I don’t laugh when I’m up on stage because they can make me lose it.

What would you say to people to get them to come see the musical?

It’s the high school experience I promise you’ve never had. [laughs] It can be a dark story at times, for sure, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s what I love about HEATHERS: The Musical. The message that the whole show gets across is that we were all 17 once, and when you get down to it, we’re all freaks and we’re all damaged, and that’s all right. I think it really speaks volumes to younger people.

For more information about HEATHERS: The Musical, visit heathersthemusical.com. For more information on the Dr. Phillips Center, visit drphillipscenter.org.