Heathers: The Musical

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NEWS RELEASE
Media Contact: Nick Sawin, Marketing Director
816-531-7529 ext. 17 (Please call or email to set up interviews, to review this show, or to inquire further)
nsawin@unicorntheatre.org
High resolution photos available upon request
or online at http://www.unicorntheatre.org/?page=press
Like, totally killer…
Heathers: The Musical
Book, Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe & Kevin Murphy
Based on the film written by Daniel Waters
Co-Directed by Cynthia Levin and Missy Koonce
Musical Direction by Angie Benson
Sponsored by Theater League

High school hallways have always been a social minefield with bullies and cliques behind every locker door, but
in the satirical musical comedy Heathers, fitting in has never been more dangerous. Based on the classic 1989
film, Westerberg High is ruled by a posse of mean girls: Heather, Heather and Heather, the hottest and cruelest
girls in all of Ohio. When misfit Veronica rejects their evil regime for the dark and sexy new guy, J.D., their
relationship starts racking up a body count. From the writers of “Desperate Housewives” and “Bat Boy” comes
this explosive new musical.
Critics have praised Heathers: The Musical as “Sassy, sexy, and oh so smart! Heathers deserves to run with the
popular crowd!” — David Cote, Time Out New York; “A rowdy guilty pleasure!” — Ben Brantley, New York
Times; and “Heathers still cliques…Ingenious, naughty and very funny!” — Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post.
Directed by Cynthia Levin and Missy Koonce, the play features Katie Karel as Veronica Sawyer; Molly
Denninghoff as Heather Chandler; Colleen Grate as Heather McNamara; Chioma Anyanwu as Heather
Duke; Shon Ruffin as Martha Dunnstock; Teddy Trice as Ram Sweeney; Jacob Aaron Cullum as Kurt Kelly;
Thomas Delgado as J.D.; Vincent Onofrio Monachino as Ram’s Dad, Bud Dean, Coach Ripper; Val Fagan
as Ms. Fleming, Veronica’s Mom; Mike Ott as Kurt’s Dad, Veronica’s Dad, Principal Gowan; and Josh Atkins,
Sara Kennedy, Molliann McCulley and Zachrey York as the Ensemble.
Heathers: The Musical is on Unicorn Theatre’s Levin Stage located at 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
64111. The show runs June 1st – 26th, 2016. Previews are June 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Opening Night is June 4th.
Featured Friday pre-show events are scheduled for June 10th, 17th and 24th at 7 p.m. Talk back performances,
where patrons are encouraged to stay after the show and discuss the play with the actors and director, are
scheduled for June 7th, 12th and 19th.
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Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and
Sunday at 3:00 p.m. If you are unable to afford a ticket, you may Pay What U Can at performances on
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, because we believe art is for everyone.
Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529) EXT. 10, go online at www.UnicornTheatre.org or buy in
person at the box office located at 3828 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111. Special discounts are available for
seniors (65+), students, and patrons under age 30.
About the Co-Directors, Cast, Band and Creative Team:
Cynthia Levin (PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/CO-DIRECTOR) is in her 37th season as the Producing Artistic
Director with Unicorn Theatre. Over the years she has served as a director, actor, designer or producer for over 275
productions. At the Unicorn, she recently directed The Oldest Boy, Women Playing Hamlet, Bad Jews, Grounded, Venus in
Fur, My Name is Asher Lev, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Soul Collector (world premiere), Hungry (world premiere),
Red, Two Jews Walk Into A War…, Distracted, Green Whales (world premiere), Miss Witherspoon, My First Time, The Clean
House, Mauritius, 9 Parts of Desire, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Bat Boy: The Musical and the world premieres
of rightnextto me (both at the Unicorn and Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY), How His Bride Came to Abraham,
Light:Damage, Mercy Killing, Innocent Thoughts and Jack and Jill. At Coterie Theatre, she has directed Number the Stars,
And Then They Came for Me, Frankenstein, Gatherings in Graveyards (I and II), Valley Song and To Kill A Mockingbird. At
the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., she directed world premiere readings of In The Belly Of The Whale, The
Friendship Of Her Thighs, The Last Pair Of Earlies, Tigers Be Still, White Devil and Loving Mother for the MFA Playwright’s
Workshop. Cynthia is a graduate of Park University which also awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in 2002. She is a
founding board member of the National New Play Network, an organization dedicated to the development and production of
new works. She has been honored with the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Human Rights Campaign
Equality Award. She shares her home with Zia (the beagle), Dodger (the cat) and the spirit of the big red dog, Sylvia.
Missy Koonce (CO-DIRECTOR) has been a bar owner (bar Natasha), cabaret singer, music producer, theatre producer,
actress, choreographer, director, mentor and most recently – “Celezbutante Activist”; needless to say she is always
reinventing herself. Missy has worked in virtually every theatrical venue in Kansas City in some capacity; these are a few of
her favorite things: co-directing and choreographing Batboy, directing The Salvation of Iggy Scrooge, Speech & Debate, [title
of show] and Hands on a Hardbody, performing in The Laramie Project, Hedwig, a memorable cameo turn as Claire in Bare,
and the one woman show Loving Lucy at the Unicorn; playing a psychotic lesbian in Kimberly Akimbo at the M.E.T., her
knock-out performance as Helene in Pride & Joy… and Mame in Auntie Mame’d produced by Kansas City Artists Against
AIDS to benefit AIDS Walk 2010 and 2013, or, at AHT, Beehive and The Dixie Swim Club. Behind the scenes at AHT, you
may have caught her directorial offerings: My Way and Duck Hunter Shoots Angel. Missy has
directed/choreographed/performed in too many shows to mention at the Coterie and Late Night Theatre with her brother,
Ron Megee…so we won’t mention them. She is also known for performing in, coordinating entertainment and hosting a
myriad of not-for-profit Kansas City events, as well as her continuing journey as President of the AIDS Service Foundation.
Angie Benson (MUSIC DIRECTOR/CONDUCTOR/KEYBOARD) is thrilled to return to Cynthia and her family at the
Unicorn! By day, she serves as a freelance accompanist in the University of Central Missouri Departments of Theatre &
Dance and Music. Her national touring credits include A Chorus Line and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana. Regional credits
include Tommy (Stoneham Theatre), Side By Side By Sondheim (Utah Musical Theatre), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now
Change (Cleveland Playhouse Square), Altar Boyz (Citizens Bank Theatre), Sound of Music (Northern Stage), and Seussical
(West Virginia Public). In KC: Coterie, KC Rep, Musical Theater Heritage, New Theatre, Spinning Tree, Starlight, and
Unicorn. Upcoming: Chicago and Have You Met Miss Jones? (New Theatre). Always for Dad & Hoff.
Katie Karel (VERONICA SAWYER) is thrilled to be back at the Unicorn, and part of this “killer” show. Past Unicorn
performances include: Women Playing Hamlet, By the Way Meet Vera Stark, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Bare. Recent
credits include: You Can’t Take It With You, The Addams Family, Hairspray (New Theatre); Sherlock Holmes & The Great
Nome Gold Rush (North Coast Rep); Always…Patsy Cline (Okoboji Summer Theatre); Lucky Duck (New Victory Theatre,
NYC); Flat Stanley (Starlight Theatre); Sunday in the Park with George, Evita, Sweeney Todd, 1776, Big River (Musical
Theater Heritage); Seussical, Life on the Mississippi, U:Bug:Me (Coterie Theatre); Into the Woods (KC Rep); Rocky Horror,
Valhalla, In Trousers, Evil Dead (Egads Productions). Love to the cast and creative team, Missy, and Cynthia.
www.katiekarel.com
Molly Denninghoff (HEATHER CHANDLER) is happy to be back at the Unicorn! She was last seen here in Cock. Select
credits: You Can’t Take It With You, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (New Theatre); The Sound of Music (Starlight); A Little
Night Music (Spinning Tree); Carousel (TLR/KC Rep); A Christmas Carol (KC Rep); Boeing Boeing, The Unexpected Guest,
Camelot, Buddy (Arrow Rock Lyceum); Gypsy (MTH); The Marvelous Wonderettes (American Heartland); Seussical, James
& the Giant Peach, Frindle (Coterie); Quilters (Avalon Theatre – Kevin Kline Award Nomination, St. Louis). Molly has had the
pleasure of touring with the Legends of Rock n Roll throughout western Canada, and is a proud founding member of the
1940s-style girl group, the Star Spangled Betties. Love to this killer team and Z.
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Colleen Grate (HEATHER MCNAMARA) Unicorn Debut! Kansas City Repertory Theatre: Sunday in the Park with George,
Little Shop of Horrors, Cabaret, A Christmas Carol. American Heartland Theatre: The Marvelous Wonderettes, Honky Tonk
Angels, …Spelling Bee, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. Starlight Theatre: Footloose, Jesus Christ Superstar,
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. New Theatre Restaurant: The Music Man, The Sound of Music. Quality
Hill Playhouse: I’ll Be Seeing You, Sh-Boom Sh-Boom. Chestnut Fine Arts: Crooners, Sentimental Journey, Satin Dolls.
Okoboji Summer Theatre: The Diviners, The Secret Garden, The 1940’s Radio Hour, Enter Laughing. Television: Boardwalk
Empire. Education: Stephens College. www.colleengrate.com
Chioma Anyanwu (HEATHER DUKE) is so very, very thrilled to be part of this production! Some of her favorite credits at
the Unicorn include Ruined, Hungry, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Mountaintop, and Seminar. Thanks to all of you
for supporting local theatre. This one is sure to “slap you face off!”
Shon Ruffin (MARTHA DUNNSTOCK) is ecstatic to be joining the Unicorn Theatre family! She received her Bachelors of
Arts in Theater Performance from Kansas State University. Other productions in the KC area include West Side Story
(Spinning Tree Theater), Hairspray (New Theatre Restaurant), Jitney (MET), and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus
Boycott (The Coterie). Shout out to her wonderful, supportive friends and family! You can find her singing with her band
2Proud2Beg. http://shon8yes.wix.com/kcactress
Teddy Trice (RAM SWEENEY) is overjoyed to be returning to the Unicorn in Heathers: The Musical. Past Unicorn credits
include The Brothers Size, earlier this season. Teddy is a native of Kansas City and graduate of Drury University where he
received his B.A. in Theatre. Other KC credits include: The Wiz, Lyle the Crocodile, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Where the
Wild Things Are (Coterie Theatre), King Lear (Heart of America Shakespeare Festival), The Island (KC Actors Theatre).
Regional: Lucky Stiff (Ozark Actors Theatre). Upcoming: Damn Yankees (Ozark Actors Theatre). Teddy would like to thank
the Unicorn for this opportunity, along with friends, family, and patrons for their support.
Jacob Aaron Cullum (KURT KELLY) is stoked to be back at the Unicorn where he has previously appeared in The Whale,
Cock, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Local: A Christmas Carol (Kansas City Repertory Theatre); Journey’s End
(Kansas City Actors Theatre); Red Badge Variations (The Coterie); Bernstein’s Broadway, Sweeney Todd (Musical Theater
Heritage); West Side Story, Hello Again (Spinning Tree Theatre); Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (New Theatre). Regional:
Ring of Fire (Plymouth Playhouse); Spring Awakening (WaterTower Theatre); Bare: A Pop Opera (Broward Center for the
Performing Arts); Dark Play (Outcry Theatre). Upcoming: Cliff in Cabaret at Musical Theater Heritage! For updates and
more, check out www.jacobaaroncullum.weebly.com.
Thomas Delgado (J.D.) is thrilled and honored to be making his Kansas City debut with Unicorn Theatre and this production
of Heathers: the Musical. Past Productions: Wiretapped: A New Musical (Morgan), Into the Woods (Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf),
Mother Divine (Prodigal Son), The Taming of the Shrew (Hortensio), Miss Saigon (Ensemble). Education: BA in Theatre
Performance, Missouri Western State University. Thanks to Cynthia Levin, Angie Benson, and the entire team for this
wonderful adventure. Thanks to Tee Quillin, James McQuillen, Dr. Susan Carter, and my friends and family for their never
ending support and love. XO
Vincent Onofrio Monachino (RAM’S DAD, BUD DEAN, COACH RIPPER) is thriled to be back at the Unicorn. Favorite
roles include: Sheriff in Bat Boy, and Frank in Hands on a Hardbody (Unicorn Theatre); Fudge in Tales of a 4th Grade
Nothing (Coterie); Big Jule in Guys and Dolls (KC Rep), and Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, FL; Potiphar in Joseph… (New
Theater Restaurant); Musical Monday: Rock of Ages and A Spectacular Christmas (MTH); and Dave in The Full Monty
(MET). Vincent has also performed at Starlight, Quality Hill Playhouse, American Heartland Theatre, and Arrowrock Lyceum
Theatre. Love to my husband, Tom!
Val Fagan (MS. FLEMING, VERONICA’S MOM) Broadway: The Addams Family (original cast/cast recording). Off
Broadway: Forbidden Broadway-Rude Awakening (original cast/cast recording, NY Drama Desk Award, Billboard Top Cast
Album). Regional: Musical Theatre West; Forbidden Broadway (LA Ovation Award: Best Leading Actress nomination),
Forbidden Vegas (Las Vegas At Its Best Entertainer). Chestnut: Always…Patsy Cline (Patsy Cline). National Tours: Man of
La Mancha (Aldonza), Les Misérables (Fantine). Soloist/NBC: NYC Marathon. Co-author: 6 Women with Brain Death
(Unicorn Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival, published MTI). Author: Goin’ to the
Chapel (Miracle or 2 Theatrical Licensing). Val is thrilled to be back home in KC. Much love to her family, Brad and the
Chestnut!
Mike Ott (KURT’S DAD, VERONICA’S DAD, PRINCIPAL GOWAN) is thrilled to be making his Unicorn debut! Most recently
he was a part of the New Play Lab produced by The Living Room Theater as part of the 35th Anniversary William Inge
Theater Festival in Independence, KS. Other local credits include Chainsaw: The Musical (The Living Room), Kiss & Tail (KC
Zoo & The Living Room), The Last Night of Ballyhoo (MET), and Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Coterie). He
has also had the pleasure to perform at Theatre for Young America, KC Fringe, and The Writer’s Place; as well as in
numerous films and voiceover work.
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Josh Atkins (ENSEMBLE) is very excited to be a part of Heathers: The Musical. Not having been in KC for very long, Josh
has been on the stage numerous times. His recent credits include: An Evening with Cole Porter (MTH), West Side Story
(Spinning Tree Theatre), Hairspray (New Theatre), Godspell and Lysistrata Jones (Egads! Theatre) just to name a few. He’s
very grateful for all the opportunities KC has offered him, and hopes for many more! He wants to thank his friends and family
for being very supportive, and thanks the audience for taking time to enjoy this show. Enjoy, have a laugh, and have a drink!
Sara Kennedy (ENSEMBLE) is a Kansas City Actor currently based in New York. Credits include Unicorn Theatre: Hands
on a Hardbody. Coterie Theatre: Charlie Brown Christmas, To Whom it May Inspire. Moonshine Variety Co.:
MotherFreakingHood! New Theatre Restaurant: The Addams Family. Musical Theater Heritage: Guys and Dolls. It’s good to
be home!
Molliann McCulley (ENSEMBLE) is so happy to be back in her hometown of KC, and to be returning to the Unicorn stage
for Heathers! A few of her favorite credits include: Johnny Baseball (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Distracted (Unicorn),
Oklahoma! (GPT), Wizard of Oz (Theatre in the Park), Late Night with Lewis Black (Williamstown), Sorority House of the
Dead (Coterie), Into the Woods (Egads). Film: Lovers Game, Mad About the Boy. Education: Stephens College. Big thanks
to Cynthia, the entire Heathers clan, and of course to her better half, Steph, for all the love and support!
www.molliannmcculley.com
Zachrey York (ENSEMBLE) is excited to make his debut at Unicorn Theatre. He has his BFA in Musical Theatre from
Central Michigan University. Past Kansas City credits include Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Coterie Theatre), Jesus
Christ Superstar and Annie Get Your Gun (Musical Theatre Heritage), The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (MET), and Dancing
at Lughnasa (White Theatre). Zachrey’s upcoming work will include Jake in Evil Dead: The Musical (Egads) and a remount
of Rudolph this winter (Coterie Theatre)! Zachrey wants to send his unending love and gratitude to his wife Kelsey for all she
does and the Unicorn for this amazing opportunity.
Joe Levens (GUITAR) is very happy to be back at the Unicorn! Over the last few years Joe has played guitar for many
musical theater productions including: Hands on a Hardbody, Everyday Rapture (Unicorn Theatre), Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The
Addams Family (New Theater), and many more at Spinning Tree Theater, MTH, MET, and AHT. Joe also teaches guitar at
The Village Music Academy.
Kevin Payton (BASS) has been a performing bassist in the Jazz and Musical Theatre scene of Kansas City for over 15
years. Kevin also called Chicago home for several years, performing and touring. He most recently spent 2015 playing bass
for New Theatre’s productions of Forever Plaid and Hairspray. His other performing endeavors include Spinning Tree, Egads
Theatre Company, Theater League, Michael Beers Band, The Kevin Payton Trio, The Bill Crain Quartet and Studio Bassist
at BRC Studios. Thanks to Mandy, Sophia, Vicki Vodrey and the Unicorn.
Julian Goff (DRUMS) is happy to be back at the Unicorn! He is currently in his 10th season contributing to the fabric of
Kansas City’s musical theater scene. Julian is championing arts and music education, through a partnership with MCC Penn
Valley and The RCLG Family Foundation, he will be teaching Hip Hop history as a part of the Penn Valley Creative PreCollege
Camp.
The band is Angie Benson (keyboard), Joe Levens (guitar), Kevin Payton (bass), and Julian Goff (drums).
The creative team for Heathers: The Musical is Tanya Brown (stage manager), Kelsey Brennan York
(assistant stage manager), Emily Swenson (scenic designer), Alex Perry (lighting designer), David Kiehl
(sound designer), Zoë Still (costume designer), Sarah Oliver (assistant costume designer), Bret Engle
(properties designer), Afton Earp (production assistant), Jae Shanks (sound mixing operator), Gregory Chafin
(technical director), Boni Newberry (dramaturg), Dalton Homolka and Courtney Dozier (scenic interns).
About the Playwrights:
Laurence O’Keefe (PLAYWRIGHT) was a producer of the original LA and NY productions of Heathers (Drama
Desk nomination for music). With his wife Nell Benjamin, he won the Olivier Award (London’s Tony) for cowriting
Legally Blonde: The Musical, which ran 2½ years on the West End and has toured the UK. Legally
Blonde received seven Tony Award nominations, two US national tours and several international productions,
winning Australia’s Helpmann Award for Best Musical. O’Keefe wrote the Off-Broadway smash Bat Boy: The
Musical, which won the Lucille Lortel Award, two Richard Rodgers Awards and the New York Outer Critics
Circle Award for Best Musical, and has received 500+ productions worldwide, including Unicorn Theatre, the
West End, Tokyo, Seoul, Berlin and Edinburgh. O’Keefe has composed music and/or lyrics for The Daily Show,
SyFy’s Defiance, the Disney Channel, PBS and Cirque du Soleil. A graduate of Harvard and USC, O’Keefe
teaches master classes at Harvard, Yale, NYU, and elsewhere.
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Kevin Murphy (PLAYWRIGHT) was a producer of the original LA and NY productions of Heathers (Drama
Desk nomination for music). He also provided lyrics and co-wrote the book for the stage musical Reefer
Madness and was a producer on both the original Los Angeles and Off-Broadway productions. Reefer swept the
three major Los Angeles theatre awards, which included triple wins for Best Musical and Best Score. In New
York, Murphy’s lyrics were nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Murphy co-adapted Reefer into a Showtime
Original movie that premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and screened in competition at the 2005
Deauville Film Festival, winning the Premiere Audience Award. The movie received three Emmy nominations,
winning for Outstanding Music & Lyrics. Murphy co-created and runs the SyFy original series Defiance, currently
in its third season. Other TV credits include Desperate Housewives (Golden Globe winner, two-time WGA
Award nomination, Emmy nomination), Ed, Reaper, Caprica and Hellcats. Murphy has co-written many songs
for these shows, most recently “Across the Storm Divide” (recorded by Trace Adkins) and “Teach This Boy to
Fly” (co-written with Laurence O’Keefe), both of which were featured on Defiance.
About Unicorn Theatre
Founded in 1974, Unicorn Theatre enhances Kansas City by developing and producing professional, provocative new plays. We create
opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians and administrative
staff. Unicorn Theatre is under the artistic and executive leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, who joined the company in
1979. From a newly expanded home in the Midtown neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, the Unicorn houses two stages—The Levin
Stage (formerly The Main Stage) and The Jerome Stage (added in 2008). A fully professional not-for-profit theatre, the theatre operates
under agreement with Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. The Unicorn is
a founding member of the National New Play Network, an alliance of not-for-profit professional theatres that champions the development,
production and continued life of new plays for the American theatre; and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc.,
the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Financial assistance for this theatre has been provided by The
National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; corporate and foundation gifts; and the
generous individuals throughout the community we serve.
Unicorn Theatre / 3828 Main Street / Kansas City, MO 64111
INTIMATE. INSPIRING. INVIGORATING.




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