The Daily Stream: Heathers: The Musical Is Finally Available On Streaming? How Very!

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Production: "Heathers: The Musical"

Where You Can Stream It: The Roku Channel

The Pitch: In 1988, director Michael Lehmann, armed with a deeply satirical script by Daniel Waters and tour de force performances by Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, changed the teen movie genre forever. The film was "Heathers," the edgy, snappy, pitch-black response to the John Hughes and Brat Pack era of teen cinema. 

"Heathers" is considered one of the most iconic coming-of-age films ever made, but was a box office flop at the time of release. And yet, thanks to home video rentals and endlessly quotable lines, "Heathers" is one of the strongest examples of a cult film crossing the threshold into bonafide classic territory. That film is currently available to stream on Prime Video, but chances are, you've never seen Heather, Heather, Heather, Veronica, and J.D. quite the way they're being presented on the Roku Channel. 

For the very first time, "Heathers: The Musical" has been given a professional recording, finally giving folks who have been belting their faces off to the cast recording and illegally uploaded YouTube videos for almost a decade a chance to see how the show plays out on stage. It's also a great way for fans of the original to develop a brand new appreciation for the story that somehow feels more relevant than ever.

Why it's essential viewing

Don't let the music, lyrics, and book by Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy fool you, this high-energy black comedy is still willing to tackle conversations about supremely dark issues, like bullying, teen suicide, sexual assault, fatphobia, classism, mental illness, and school violence. It's no surprise that when the camera of "Heathers: The Musical" pans to the audience, the crowd is dominated by young millennials and Gen-Z fans of the show. 

When the show first debuted Off-Broadway in 2014, it was generally well received, with the music and choreography praised as well as the show's incorporation of the film's most memorable moments. There were some naysayers who felt the production didn't take the bleak themes of the original seriously enough, citing the infectiously bubbly music and high-camp performances. To that, I say ... have y'all never seen a musical based on a movie before? Are you new?

"Heathers: The Musical" is right up there with "Evil Dead," "Legally Blonde," and "Hairspray" in terms of solid film-to-stage adaptations, with songs like "Candy Store," "Dead Girl Walking," "Kindergarten Boyfriend," "Big Fun," and "Seventeen" all absolute bangers. Ailsa Davidson stars as Veronica Sawyer, joined by a fantastic cast including Simon Gordon as J.D., Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler, Teleri Hughes as Heather McNamara, Vivan Panka as Heather Duke, and Mhairi Angus as Martha Dunnstock. 

Now, fans of the recording will have to understand very quickly that this is not the same cast you've been listening to since 2014, and since this is a performance recorded live, it's also not going to sound as crisp as a recording booth. That said, it's still a fantastically shot recording.

'Shut up, Heather!'

The folks who filmed "Heathers: The Musical" clearly took notes from the "Hamilton" recording, using the camera as a way to highlight and emphasize already fantastic moments on screen rather than trying to pretend this is anything other than performers in front of a live audience. The production was directed by Andy Fickman ("Reefer Madness!," "She's the Man"), who has also directed the show in Los Angeles, New York, and London. Dude knows this musical inside and out, and it shows. 

Now, there are differences between the film and the stage production, and that's part of the musical's charm. Betty Finn has been morphed in with Martha Dunnstock, the ridiculed fat girl from the original film who barely spoke a single line, who is now treated as Veronica's former friend and is even given her own song to explain why she feels the way she does. But don't worry, all of your favorites are there like BQ corn nuts, Slurpees, dead gay sons, and a hippie teacher who manages to center herself in a wave of teen suicides. 

The music for "Heathers" is pretty vocally challenging, and everyone deserves to watch "Dead Man Walking" and "Candy Store" sung by actors who can belt their faces off ... which is not always the case when community or educational productions try their hand. 

"Heathers: The Musical" has an obvious love for the source material, and the creators sat down with the original creative team from the very beginning to make sure they weren't blaspheming a beloved and treasured favorite. The live capture of the show is absolutely fantastic and finally gives a massive audience a chance to see it for themselves.