Having directed the present in Los Angeles, New York, and London, few folks know Heathers: The Musical in addition to Andy Fickman.
The award-winning smash hit has come a great distance since first being staged nearly a decade in the past, and now the stage captured (which suggests it was filmed on stage) TV film of the present is premiering on The Roku Channel.
I caught up with Fickman to debate the newest incarnation of his imaginative and prescient impressed by the 1988 film, which starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, and why it is a milestone within the venture’s evolution.
Simon Thompson: Many individuals draw back from musicals as a style, however one thing about you attracts you to them. What do you see as a possibility that others see as an albatross or a nightmare?
Andy Fickman: (Laughs) In my motion pictures, I am drawn to working with youngsters and animals, too, so I feel I simply by no means learn the foundations. I used to be a child who grew up in Texas obsessive about The Rocky Horror Image Present. That was my each Saturday evening, I noticed that musical, and it defied logic for me. My mother and pop have been large lovers of Broadway musicals, so each Broadway musical album was all the time taking part in in the home. From an early age, I simply grew to become mesmerized by them since you might entertain, however then you might break into tune. When the precise venture has landed in my lap, I’ve liked that chance.
Thompson: How do you know that this was the precise one? You’ve a protracted legacy with Heathers: The Musical. After I heard about it as an idea a number of years in the past, loving the unique film, I assumed it was blasphemy.
Fickman: (Laughs) I most likely felt the identical manner. It was about 2005 when one other certainly one of our musicals premiered on Showtime and Sundance referred to as Reefer Insanity. The producers introduced me the thought and mentioned, ‘Do you suppose Heathers could possibly be a musical?’ I instantly was like, ‘It is certainly one of my favourite motion pictures. I do not wish to destroy it however let me suppose.’ My associate Kevin Murphy got here on board, we had been trying to do one thing with Larry O’Keefe, who did the e book for this, and all of us bought our heads round it. We sat with Dan Waters, the creator of Heathers, and we set about seeing if we might take what he did however take it in a distinct path along with his assist. Between him, the unique director Michael Lehmann, and Denise Di Novi, the unique producer, who had been by our facet from day one, everybody noticed what we have been doing, bought on the bandwagon, and their blessings opened the door. Winona Ryder noticed it in LA, Christian Slater noticed it in New York, and Lisanne Falk noticed it in London, and having so most of the unique forged members see it and log off on it has meant the world to us.
Thompson: In your thoughts, have been you the one one to have the ability to put this musical on movie once more? Or have been you pondering that you are the final one that ought to do that since you’re so near it?
Fickman: That is an awesome query. As a result of I accomplish that a lot movie and tv, part of me seems like that is what I naturally do. When the dialogue got here up with our companions at Village Roadshow, it was a straightforward blink for me to be like, ‘Oh, effectively, I do know it so effectively, however now the movie and TV facet of me is aware of the place to place my cameras.’ I by no means felt, ‘I will not convey something contemporary to it.’ I feel it is also as a result of I am nonetheless in the course of it, the place as quickly as we launched stage seize, we went into rehearsals for our new forged. This final week, I simply completed rehearsals for the following forged that is up and operating by way of February, so I feel as a result of it is not dusting it off, it is exercising so many elements of the mind that most likely made it very simple for me.
Thompson: So Heathers: the Musical as a TV film is a degree within the present’s evolution slightly than an finish?
Fickman: 100% as a result of after years of doing our developmental readings with our unbelievable forged, by the point we opened in LA, abruptly, we have been the offered out hit present in our little theater. Then the New World Phases got here from Off-Broadway and mentioned, ‘Come to New York. You haven’t any time to pack.’ We took our forged and tiny set to New York, we have been up and operating, after which we have been closed a number of months later. Then we had this chance in 2017. Paul Taylor-Mills, who was operating Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Different Palace in London, England, referred to as and mentioned, ‘What should you got here right here?’ We have been like, ‘Would anybody there know something about Heathers or MTV within the 80s or Sherwood, Ohio?’ We have continuously been evolving. By the point we bought to the UK, between The Different Palace and the Haymarket within the West Finish, we might added new songs and made the script stronger. Doing a stage seize now does really feel like an incredible alternative and an evolution.
Thompson: I needed to ask you about your determination to do stage seize with this present. Your earlier musical film, Reefer Insanity, was off the stage, on location, and in the true world. You determined to maintain Heathers on stage. Why was that?
Fickman: One of many issues we love that’s uncommon about this present, and once more, this speaks to me from Rocky Horror, is that we are saying that our audiences are our fifth Beatle. The nightly fan response, folks wearing cosplay, the screams and shouts, and the interactivity the place they hit sure laughs are what we needed to point out as a part of the expertise for Heathers. We needed to point out that Heathers: The Musical is one thing that exists as a result of our followers have blown it up a lot. This model was the one which bought us probably the most excited. We thought, ‘What if folks might see in the event that they could not come to London, Los Angeles, or wherever? What if they may expertise what it was like in the event that they did go?’
Thompson: That is present enterprise, so it is nice that folks can watch this in their very own dwelling, however which means there may be one much less butt in a seat.
Fickman: There’s all the time a way of that. I feel what reveals similar to Hamilton have demonstrated with their unbelievable stage seize is that it should not detract from the theatrical expertise. A fan ought to be capable of go and be like, ‘I wish to go see that.’ I had seen The Rocky Horror Image Present actually 300 instances on movie, however once they did the revival in New York, I should have seen it ten instances on stage. It wasn’t that I did not know Rocky Horror, however I desperately needed to expertise it for myself. We’d lose a butt, however perhaps we acquire a butt. The choices might go both manner.
Thompson: I am additionally a large fan of The Rocky Horror Image Present. I am unable to let you know what number of instances I’ve seen the film and the manufacturing on stage. Together with your success with Heathers: the Musical, have you considered giving this therapy to Rocky Horror? That hasn’t been completed.
Fickman: The one manner in my thoughts I might do it was if I used to be sitting throughout from Richard O’Brien, and he advised me he had this concept. I’d do it and observe up with Shock Remedy. I’d do all of it. I might really feel, in that case, a lot the identical manner now we have the reverential therapy of the unique Heathers. I take a look at Richard O’Brien within the sense that every little thing emanates from him. When Flash Gordon got here out, I used to be the man who, at any time when Richard O’Brien was on display, would flip to everybody and be like, ‘I do not know if you already know who that’s. That’s Richard O’Brien. Let me let you know just a little about Rocky Horror.’
Thompson: What are you able to inform me concerning the modifications you wanted to make to appreciate Heathers: The Musical on display? Had been there some you did not anticipate?
Fickman: My largest problem was I needed the viewers to have the most effective seat in the home. Typically I’d be annoyed as a result of I’d sit at the back of a theater and see a selected row leaning over to attempt to get a greater look. I’d be indignant at myself and suppose, ‘I do not know tips on how to repair that on stage. I do not know tips on how to tweak it sufficient.’ No one ought to have to go searching anyone to see the shot, and now they need to see it for actual.
Thompson: Did you shoot this multi function or little by little?
Fickman: From the start, as a result of I do loads of multicam in TV and movies, I knew it might be a mix. We might spend a few days taking pictures it piece by piece the place I can actually get in shut. I needed to shoot the viewers and run it head to toe a few performances as a result of we desperately needed to get that power.
Thompson: Has it made you consider what else you are able to do with the present?
Fickman: I really feel like Kevin, Larry and I are in the course of our journey. We did our first tour to elements of the UK, after which I used to be like, ‘Perhaps I might take this present to locations around the globe.’ We hear from so many international locations, and a few of them have the newbie rights, however I’d love the possibility to take a model of the present around the globe.
Thompson: When do you know this labored? Did you take a look at the ultimate lower and really feel it?
Fickman: I am unable to watch my motion pictures or TV reveals after they arrive out. I feel the advantage of having that stay viewers was that it matches what I am used to within the present. It wasn’t that second the place you needed to sweeten amusing or add a cheer. Typically we have been taking down some noise the place our crowd was so rowdy as a result of we’re like, ‘That seems like my mother’s within the viewers.’ I feel once I confirmed it to Kevin and Larry for the primary time was most likely once I was probably the most nervous. That was like when your child reveals you their artwork and you are like, ‘Please God, do not be horrible. I like you eternally, and I do not need this to suck.’ Kevin and Larry have been so overwhelmed and excited that, to me, was the second the place I knew we had completed one thing proper.
Heathers: The Musical premieres on The Roku Channel on Friday, September 16, 2022.