at Sunny Hills

Reviewed on October 27, 2017

Orange County Register
La Habra
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Audrey Mitchell

Submitted for publication to Orange County Register

Sunny Hill's "Heathers" is So Very
written by Audrey Mitchell, a senior at University High School

Veronica Sawyer is a typical teenager at Westerburg High— deadpan, disillusioned, and desperate to get an in with the mystical clique of Heathers. But when she meets bad boy JD, she has no idea that he'll lead her on a gruesome adventure with a body count.

Sunny Hills High School's production of the ‘80s cult classic "Heathers" is darkly funny, tackling themes of bullying and gun violence. Detailed technical elements and upbeat actors overcome minor sound issues to create a energetic and powerful performance.

Kassidy Hughes is versatile in the role of Veronica. She initially stands awkwardly alone, tripped by mean boys and belittled by meaner girls. When she meets JD she fawns, twirling her hair and tittering nervously. Her powerful voice is showcased in "Dead Girl Walking," eyes gone glassy after being ousted from the popular crowd.

Ben Woehrer is dark and dangerous as JD. Slinking around in a trench coat, Woehrer careens between classic bad boy and actual psychopath. He crosses that line in "Our Love is God," shooting a classmate and wrapping his arm around Veronica in a half-chokehold that reflects his emotional manipulation. Woehrer finally loses it, breaking into Veronica's house with a crazed smile and screaming at her as he threatens to kick the door down.

Maddy Marks commands the stage as Heather Chandler. Whether squawking shrilly for Corn Nuts or staggering dramatically as she dies, Marks puts a comic twist on the stereotypical queen bee. Once dead, her ghost appears more vindictive than ever, reveling in her posthumous popularity and smiling cruelly at Veronica.

Student director Maddy Githens' work is amazing. From choreographing a hilarious slow-motion fight between JD and two jocks to establishing the ghost of Heather Chandler as Veronica's conscience with mirrored gestures, Githens uses every moment to create stronger characters and to further the show's anti-bullying message.

The costumes (Ryan Mercer, Maddy Githens, and Zoe Young) are incredibly intricate, highlighting each personality and invoking designs from the original film. Veronica sports her signature blue coat and appears in a tattered, soot-stained version of the same outfit after defusing a bomb. JD wears a trench coat and dog tags. Hippie teacher Ms. Fleming (Sammie Cano) wears increasingly outlandish and bedazzled outfits.

Unique and layered, Sunny Hills' production of "Heathers" is utterly affecting as it emphasizes the true damage that bullying can cause.

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Madeline Crisp
La Habra

Submitted for publication to OC Cappies Facebook

Sunny Hills shines a Light with "Heathers"
written by Madeline Crisp, a sophomore at La Habra High School

Sunny Hills High School conveys a powerful and personal message in "Heathers," complete with upbeat musical numbers and witty acting.

As Veronica Sawyer navigates the drama and popularity hierarchy that is Westerberg High, she soon realizes that just being seventeen is not as easy as it might seem.

Kassidy Hughes is lovable and quirky as Veronica Sawyer. Hughes showcases her angelically sweet and strong voice in her exceptional performance of "Fight for Me," and her facial expressions and deadpan comedic timing provide additional enhancement to her character.

The bold and brash Heather Chandler is played by Maddy Marks. Strutting across the stage in high heels and flipping her hair, she makes her presence known, and her sharp smile and bitter cackle make her all the more intimidating.

Joey Linehan and Josh Acosta portray Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney, respectively, and easily play off of one another. The two perfectly represent stereotypical high school boys as they laugh ridiculously and amble from one place to another.

Nancy Cervantes plays the kind-hearted Martha Dunnstock. As she stands in the corner of the stage with hunched posture and a downcast facial expression, she succeeds in displaying the vulnerability of a victim.

The student ensemble is a constant source of energy and commitment. Every member is their own distinct character, and each dance step is flawlessly in sync. The cheerleader group stands out in their sharp movements, remaining consistent throughout the show as they periodically look in the mirror and twirl their hair.

The costumes, artistically designed by Ryan Mercer, Maddy Githens, and Zoe Young, differentiate each character and reflect their unique personalities. Through undeviating color schemes and rapid changes, the costumes tell the story in their own way. Ms. Fleming, the hippie teacher, played by Sammie Cano, changes into a dress with more sparkle as she becomes increasingly enthusiastic, which makes her appear even more animated.

Tackling difficult themes such as bullying and suicide, Sunny Hills's "Heathers" shines a light on the darkness that everyone inevitably faces and succeeds in presenting a feeling of hope through the cast and crew's undoubtable togetherness.

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Katie Wagner

Submitted for publication to OC Cappies Facebook

Cruel Cliques and Mean Chicks at Sunny Hills' 'Heathers'
written by Katie Wagner, a junior at University High School

Peering intently through his long, dark bangs, J.D. (Ben Woehrer) is standing predatorily hunched over his girlfriend Veronica. A shadowy figure, he encircles her delicate neck with his elbow as if about to violently choke her, and tightly presses her body close to his. Desperate for companionship, he is clearly possessive and dangerous.

"Heathers" at Sunny Hills High School is a dark, hilariously convoluted delight. Cleverly framed to center around anti bullying, this production is graced with both a high-spirited cast and insightful technicians.

Kassidy Hughes is Veronica Sawyer, the sarcastic hero of this production. With a radiant, 100-watt smile and infectious laugh, she is gleefully accepted into the most popular clique on campus. Later, when she realizes that she has made the wrong choice, Veronica sings sadly in her powerful, dulcet soprano that she is now a "Dead Girl Walking." The contrast between Veronica's initial happiness and later hopelessness clearly demonstrates the power a bully can have on a person's emotional state.

Maddy Marks revels in the character of Heather Chandler, the leading mean girl in a power trio of Heathers. Demanding and assertive, she takes long strides, often pausing to pose dramatically and gaze out at her devoted admirers. She bosses Veronica around with a shrill screech, demanding Corn Nuts and fancy beverages. Heather Chandler clearly loves herself, and her outrageous entitlement serves to quickly establish her larger-than-life character.

The set for this production is primarily made up of two tall platforms stacked on top of each other, as well as three attached staircases. However, the most interesting aspect of this set are the tall, black walls flanking the main stack of platforms. In the spirit of anti-bullying, complimentary phrases are painted on these walls in a large, white font, easily dwarfing the insults painted alongside them.

Sunny Hills' high spirited musical illuminates important, relevant themes of tolerance and is able to showcase both spirited performers and astute technicians.

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