Student performers star in sold out Straz musical

By Kennedy Haugen

Taylor Brown, a freshman musical theatre major, will be performing in an upcoming community production of Heathers: The Musical. Heathers is being brought to the stage by the Mad Theatre of Tampa, a theatre company that has been around the Bay area since 1999. “It’s one of the most professional atmospheres that I’ve been a part of,” said Brown.

The musical follows the story of a girl who gets herself into her high school’s most popular clique, and the consequences of running with this group on both her life and those around her. This is a show which has a darker, risque take on the typical high school story.

“[For] The younger ones, we unfortunately had to cap it off just because of the content of the show,”said Kelly King, Mad Theatre choreographer.

Brown will be playing two roles for the sold out production, the mother of its lead and one of several high school teachers. Despite this massive undertaking of bringing two characters to life, Brown has managed to stay on top of her academics, a key component for any aspiring theatre student.

“It’s a lot of work, we have rehearsals almost every night for three to four hours and then on the weekends too,” said Brown. “It’s a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it.”

Though Heathers content restricts how young the actors can be, it has given a spotlight for UT students to step-up and perform.

Julia Mason, a sophomore musical theatre major, who had performed with Mad Theatre in their production of American Idiot in 2018. Mason has the role of a young republicanette in this show.

“Mad Theatre’s really close to campus and you can walk there to rehearsals, so when I was a freshman and didn’t have a car it was really easy,” said Mason.

Emily Shurr, a sophomore musical theatre major, is apart of the Heathers cast, with this show as her debut with Mad Theatre. Shurr has the role of a new wave party girl.

“It’s a lot because I’m a double major, but it’s totally worth it because I love the show and I love being with Mad, and it’s what I love to do,” said Shurr.

Auditions for Heathers were held as far back as October, and rehearsals have been going on since November. This has meant months of preparation for most of the production’s cast.

“We have a very talented cast, it’s clear that they worked very hard on their own even when we’re not in rehearsal, they’re super prepared,” said Justin Batten, director of Heathers. “They’re all very self-driven and it’s been great working with all of them.”


Kennedy Haugen can be reached at

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