Interview with Maddison Firth: Heather Chandler at The Other Palace
Today we are heading back to my beloved Westerberg High as we are joined by the wonderful Maddison Firth, who is currently ruling the school at The Other Palace as Heather Chandler in Heathers the Musical!
Had you seen the musical or the original film before getting involved with the production?
I had never seen the musical or the film before my audition. It was always a show that I had heard so much about but never got the chance to see it when it was first in London but as soon as my audition came through the first thing I did was watch the film! After being cast in the show, the tour cast were lucky enough to be invited to watch the dress run of the Haymarket cast the week before we started rehearsals!
Heathers has a delicate balance of serious themes alongside dark comedy and the ‘big fun’ elements of musical theatre, how do you navigate this as an actor?
I think as an actor this was the most enjoyable and interesting element to navigate. The show covers such sensitive topics that you have to be extremely conscious about whilst performing. The show is so beautifully written that the serious themes were very cleverly covered so the audience didn’t leave feeling disheartened, they left feeling uplifted. I think it was vital to remember that our sole aim of the piece was to spread joy and have the audience cheering and dancing on their feet by the end of the show.
How do you prepare to bring Heather Chandler to life onstage, do you have any preshow rituals?
The first thing we do when arriving at the theatre is a vocal and physical warm up. Chandler does a lot of shouting/growling so vocal warm ups and drinking lots of water were a must. Other than that, it’s hair/ makeup and getting into costume. I also think it’s very important to have a moment to myself before the show to ground myself and just take a deep breath so that anything going on outside of the theatre can be put aside for the time being and I can fully concentrate on bringing Heather C to the stage.
You recently played Heather Chandler on tour, what are some of the differences in performing on tour compared to The Other Palace?
The biggest difference is that on tour we played some of the biggest theatres in the country and at The Other Palace we play to an audience of 300+ every night. It has made the show a lot more intimate and everything is so much closer. We can see the audience and quite literally hear everything! I love it. It gives us a chance to engage with them and for them to see everything up close! I also think it makes the audience's experience a lot more personal!
What is your favourite moment in the show?
There are so many moments that are so much fun such like Candy Store, Never Shut Up Again and Dead Gay Son. I absolutely love Beautiful and The Heathers reveal. It’s one of the most important parts of the show as it’s when the audience gets introduced to all the characters but I think my favourite part of the show is the finale into the bows. It’s the one part of the show that the whole company comes together. We get to connect with the audience and each other on stage. It is a beautiful moment and is beyond enough to put anyone in an amazing mood.
In your opinion, what makes Heathers a cult classic?
It would have to be the outrageous plot mixed with the dark comedy. People get a chance to relate to so many different characters and moments within the show. It’s a show that proves that the underdog can win. Not forgetting to mention the catchy songs and the brilliantly written script too! I meet so many people after shows at stage door that say this show has changed their life. Every single person has a different experience when coming to watch and that is something truly beautiful. Seeing people sat in the audience dressed up as the Chandler and the other Heathers is surreal. It’s a feel good show and there’s something for everyone in it.
What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing Heathers?
I feel like for me one of the main messages the show gives off is that no matter what happens, no matter how rubbish things get, how many people affect you and how many people come and go in your life that everything will always be okay in the end. Everything has a way of working out! I think that’s really beautiful. I hope that if anyone ever comes to the show that doesn’t feel great about themselves or their life can leave knowing that everything will be okay in the end!
I would love to extend a huge thank you to Maddison for taking the time to me here on Both Sides Of The Curtain! You can get tickets to see Maddison and the rest of the Heathers cast at The Other Palace by purchasing tickets at the link below:
A special thank you goes out to Maddison’s agent Michelle for arranging this chat!