The History of Heathers the Musical

The History of Heathers the Musical

The filmed stage capture of the West End hit Heathers the Musical will be making its streaming debut on September 16, 2022, in the US and Canada - exclusively through the Roku channel.

This will mark Roku's first stage capture - the streamer will release the filmed-on-stage musical as a Roku Original through its online platform, available on Roku devices,, Fire TV, and Samsung TVs. Unlike recent captures, Heathers will be available to stream for free, a Roku premium subscription will not be needed to stream this release.

With less than two months to go, we think it's the perfect time to learn more about how Heathers got here - and how it became a fan favorite that will now be released globally to Roku's 70 million viewers.

Here's the history of Heathers the Musical:



Heathers the Musical is based on the cult 1989 film by Daniel Waters, who wanted to create a film that contrasts the joyful high school movies of the time. The movie was budgeted at $3 million but was still a financial flop, taking in just a little over $1 million at the box office. Like many other cult favorites, however, the film only gained its popularity years after its original release.

The musical version of the film began development in 2009 with three private readings in LA starring Kristen Bell as Veronica. Shortly after, a full concert was staged at Joe's Pub in New York with Annaleigh Ashford and Jeremy Jordan in the title roles.

The show eventually made its way to New York when it opened at Off-Broadway's New World Stages in 2014. While managing to attract a young fan base during its run, the production only lasted 6 months and 145 performances.

In her New York Post review, Elisabeth Vincentelli gave the show 3 out of 4 stars and said: "Forget those big-budget, starry adaptations of beloved movies. If you want to relive a cult flick, head over to the ingenious, very funny “Heathers: The Musical,” which pulls off wonders on a shoestring."



While the musical version did not manage to get much love or success in New York, London is where Heathers finally took off.

Following a workshop at West End's The Other Palace, a 300-seat intimate venue owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show opened in June 2018 for a limited engagement starring YouTube star Carrie Hope Fletcher (Les Miserables: The Staged Concert) as Veronica Sawyer and Jamie Muscato as J.D.

The new production, which featured many changes to the score, a revised script, and a completely new set, retained most of the creative team from New York, espacially director Andy Fickman, which has been with the project since its first incrination.

The London production opened to mixed reviews, with The Gurdian's Hadley Freeman saying: "This musical justifies its existence best when it goes to weird extremes, such as when a bitchily disdainful Heather Chandler...haunts Veronica after she is killed off. The music is so generic it falls out of your memory as soon as you leave the theatre, with the exception of two lovely ballads".



Shortly after the Other Palace run concluded, Heathers transferred to the bigger Theatre Royal Haymarket, with more changes made to the show and a new song for its leading lady, "I Say No".

The musical managed to fill the 893-seat theater for several months as it gained popularity towards a planned UK tour in 2020.



The show became a huge hit thanks to the revised UK production, releasing a new cast recording in 2019, and winning the Best New Musical award at London's WhatsOnStage Awards. 

In March 2019 the plot and musical numbers from Heathers were featured on the television series Riverdale, which was watched by nearly 1 million viewers on The CW, adding to its popularity among teens.



Following several pandemic-related delays, the UK tour was launched in 2021, with the show returning yet again to the West End's Theatre Royal Haymarket in June 2021 thanks to the success of its 2018 season.



Around the same time, The Other Palace, which was previously owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Theatres Group, was sold to Heathers producer Bill Kenwright.

On the day of the acquisition announcement, Kenwright hinted at the return of Heathers to the venue, saying: "We will be bringing back an old favourite so that The Other Palace's Christmas lights can well and truly start shining again. After these months of both literal and metaphorical darkness, it's a nice feeling."

Days after, it was revealed Heathers will be back at its original London home for a limited engagement starting November 2021. This marked the first time a show played the venue since it got closed by the pandemic.



In May 2022, performances at The Other Palace were put on pause for nearly two weeks to accommodate the live filming of the musical. The show was captured multiple times without an audience and hosted 2 invite-only performances that were filmed with a full house. 

BK Studios CEO David Gilbery said of the filming: “This is a brilliant opportunity for us to bring this hit show to so many more audiences on a global scale, and we’re proud to be partnering with such a prolific studio in making that happen.”

The cast featured in the filmed performance includes Ailsa Davidson as Veronica Sawyer, Simon Gordon as Jason J.D Dean, Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler, Vivian Panka as Heather Duke, and Teleri Hughes as Heather McNamara.

While the production was set for a limited run ending on February 20, 2022, the show was extended several times and will now continue to run through 2023.



Heathers will mark the first time a pro-shot was released through a free streaming service - most recent productions were acquired for distribution by subscription-based platforms such as Hamilton (Disney+), Come From Away (Apple TV+), and Diana the Musical (Netflix).

While free, the Roku Channel is one of the most successful AVOD services in terms of viewership numbers - the channel has an estimated 63 million viewers and is expected to grow an additional 20% this year.

The capture was not cheaply produced either - Heathers was made by Steam Motion & Sound, who previously worked on some very well-produced Broadway and West End captures: Kinky BootsNewsies, and the upcoming Aladdin: The Broadway Musical and Waitress the Musical.

The release of stage musicals that are still playing an open-ended run is pretty rare, but not unprecedented. Laurence O'Keefe's Legally Blonde the Musical aired on MTV in full in 2007 while still playing on Broadway.

As we detailed in our recent Legally Blonde the Musical article, Legally Blonde greatly benefited from the broadcast which helped drive many of its future productions.



The filmed Heathers the Musical will stream as a Roku original in the US and Canada on September 16, 2022. The musical is expected to be released in other locations in 2023 through the Roku channel, with producers likely waiting for all UK productions to close.

Follow our socials for more Heathers content as we count down the days to the release of the capture!