Review: In ‘The Gospel According to Heather,’ the Messiah Has Homeroom

“Do you like Kierkegaard?” In the midst of all the flirtatious banter, this conversation highlights 17-year-old Heather (Brittany Nicole Williams). We also know why the jock she’s asking (Carlos Alcala) walked away. Sadly, this is a given for pescatarian cerebral Heather. She was ostracized by her classmates at her Ohio high school for being “weird” and quietly repressed at her home by her loving but ignorant widowed mother (Lauren Elder). It is

How our heroine suddenly becomes popular is at the heart of the musical The Gospel According to Heather by Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre, Off-Broadway success Daddy Long Legs). It recently opened at Theater 555. Amas Musical Theater Directed and choreographed by Rachel Klein (“Red Rose, Green Gold”).

The title gives a hint as to what suddenly improves Heather’s status. She is revealed as a messenger with the powers that accompany her disciples and their roles. After all, understanding a 19th-century Danish philosopher isn’t the only miracle Heather can do. She can heal seriously injured people and even revive hamsters from time to time.Katie Sagal (“The Connors”) presence in the cast “Son of Anarchy”), the veteran TV actress almost falls under one of those inexplicable surprises.

Sagal plays Agatha, a cynic, wheelchair-riding woman who likes Heather to visit a senior center. Sagal makes the most of a few lines and is central to the eleventh hour’s great plot twist.

Heather’s rise in status leads to new headaches, as she can’t decide whether she wants to be an anonymous standard or if there’s a rewarding aspect to the change. The show anxiously tries to navigate through satire (of conservative fearmongers) and quirkiness (those crazy teens!). ) and spirituality (there’s more to this show than messengers).

What’s certain is that Heather is getting attention from friends and foes alike. Populist podcast host Booker (Jeremy Kushnier) is definitely in the enemy camp, but it’s initially unclear where the feisty Zach (Carson Stewart) will land.

Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea for Gordon to name the main character in a way that reminded him of the cult movie Heathers and its highly entertaining musical version released in 2014. Especially since, like this drama, it centers around a bright and alienated Ohio state. She falls in love with a mysterious boy who invades her bedroom through the window. This is not a comparison this show should encourage.

Despite the book’s lack of consistency, Gordon’s score is frustrating for another reason. It actually has potential. The production opens brightly with “My Name Is Heather Krebs.” The song has some solid melodic hooks and is a hilarious tune that suggests there’s a lot more to come. Sadly, many of the numbers sound like an afterthought or unfinished. I wish some teenage Midwestern savior came to my rescue.

Gospel by Heather
Through July 16th at Theater 555 in Manhattan. amasmusical.org. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.

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