In what is surely a coup for Kokandy Productions, which is devoted to producing topnotch musicals on an intimate scale, the company has announced it has secured the rights to the Chicago premiere of “Heathers: The Musical.” A hit Off Broadway production in 2014, the show will be part of Kokandy’s 2016 season.
Kokandy’s ability to nab “Heathers” should come as no surprise to those who have caught its current production, “The Full Monty” (at Theater Wit), or last season’s excellent edition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins.”
A rock musical with music, lyrics, and a book by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, “Heathers” (Running Feb. – April 2016)described as “the mean teen comedy,” is based on the 1988 cult film of the same name. It will be directed by Allison Hendrix, Kokandy’s co-artistic director, with music direction by Aaron Benham. At its center is 17-year-old Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High. But before she can get comfortable atop the high school food chain, Veronica falls in love with the dangerously sexy new kid J.D.
Also part of the lineup will be “Gutenberg! The Musical” (slated for July – Aug. 2016), with music & lyricsScott Brown & Anthony King, a show in which “history gets a zany and hilarious shake-up.” It will be directed by co-artistic directorJohn D. Glover, with music direction by Kory Danielson, the same team behind “The Full Monty.” A two-man musical spoof, “Gutenberg!” concerns a pair of aspiring playwrights who perform a backers’ audition for their new project – a big, splashy musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. With an unending supply of enthusiasm, Bud and Doug sing all the songs and play all the parts in their crass historical epic, with the hope that one of the producers in attendance will give them a Broadway contract and fulfill their ill-advised dreams.
In addition, two yet-to-be announced new works will be presented as part of Kokandy’sNew StagedMusical Reading Series, which is dedicated to developing new works for the musical theater canon.
“Our 2016 season provides the opportunity to use broad comedy and satire to explore the perils of contemporary life,” said Hendrix.
But before all that, Kokandy will wrap up 2015 with the company’s first-ever holiday show, “A Kokandy Christmas” (Dec. 3-14, 2015), a musical celebration inspired by some of television’s most beloved holiday specials.
All three mainstage productions will be presented at Kokandy’s resident home,Theater Wit,1229 W. Belmont. Tickets will go on sale at a later date.For additional information, visitwww.kokandyproductions.com.