In season 2, Riverdale tackled Carrie: The Musical, with Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) in the role of the ill-fated leading lady. The show weaved in the music of the (once tragically-reviewed) 1988 Broadway production into the plot points of the episode.
Sure, Cheryl didn’t actually have telekinetic powers capable of bringing an entire prom to its knees, but she does have a vile mother whom Cheryl threatened while dosed in “pig’s blood” and holding a candelabra. Casual!
Heathers: The Musical, the stage adaptation of the 1988 black comedy about high school hell, is a little too close to home, which is exactly why it’s the perfect choice for 2019.
The musical (as well as film) centers on Veronica Sawyer, a now-cynical member of the popular clique of “Heathers” whose life needs a shake-up. She finds it when she meets J.D., a trench coat-wearing rebel who thrives on his own brand of chaos. After a prank leaves Veronica’s BFF/worst enemy Heather Chandler dead, Veronica and J.D. fake Veronica's suicide… leading to a slew of complications. Turns out, everyone wants to do what the popular kids are doing, even if that includes dying.
How Heather Chandler dies will ring a bell for Riverdale fans. J.D. feeds her a cup of bright blue liquid drainer as a “hangover cure,” leading to blue lips and one very dead Heather. The town of Riverdale also has a blue lip problem. People playing Gryphons & Gargoyles, the town's most dangerous game, “ascend” to the next level by mixing bright blue “Fresh-Aid” with cyanide.
As for the casting of Heathers within the Riverdale universe, Warner Bros. provided a cast list — with an extra note that the musical will be sponsored by “The Farm.” Cheryl has already claimed the role of HBIC Heather Chandler, who dies early on in the film but lives on as a Greek chorus of sorts in the musical.
As for the rest, Betty (Lili Reinhart) will be playing Heather Duke, while Josie (Ashleigh Murray) will be playing the lead Veronica Sawyer. The real Veronica (Camila Mendes), by the way, will play Heather McNamara.
The most obvious casting of all would be Jughead (Cole Sprouse) as J.D. — which would mean that Sprouse would have to sing this time around if we’re to have this pitch-perfect role become reality. (Honestly, if you told me that Jughead was simply paraphrasing Christian Slater’s J.D. with his “I’m a weirdo” speech from season 1, I’d believe you.) Though showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa insists in a note to press that “everyone is singing this year,” Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) will be playing J.D., while Jughead's name isn't to be found on the cast list at all.
Check out the full cast list, below.
J.D. and Veronica the characters may not be shippable (remember: the dying thing) but I certainly am here for that romance between Sweet Pea and Josie. Give me a showmance, people!
The special episode will air March 20, 2019 in Riverdale's usual slot on The CW.