An Interview with Actress, Jenna Innes
Roger Crow talks to one of the stars of Heathers The Musical, which can be seen at the Grand Opera House York from May 9 to May 13.
Hi Jenna. I was a fan of Heathers, the cult film from the late 1980s. Tell us about your role in the musical version.
Veronica is the central character; we follow her as she navigates her way through high school. She gets mixed up with the three Heathers; she makes a pact with the Devil, and doesn’t actually realise these girls aren’t very nice. And then falls for this new kid in school called JD. It’s a dark comedy. As you know in the film there is murder; she has to navigate through that. She wants to be good, and in the end there is a bit of a redemption arc as she realises this person is not great, and that person is not great.
You play the part that a Stranger Things star portrayed in the movie?
Yes, it was a 15-year-old Winona Ryder in the film. There are a lot of nods to the film. If you’re a fan of the film, there are a lot of moments straight from that in the musical.
Isn’t it great to be back in the theatre?
Oh yes. There was a period of time and I thought nothing was ever going to happen again. And to see theatres packed, filled with people, is just amazing.
“A big dream”
You played Eponine in Les Misérables. What was that like?
Yeah, a very different show (laughs). That is my favourite show of all time. I grew up listening to it; singing the songs, so to be a part of that was just incredible. I really didn’t think I’d ever get to be part of it. I was part of it on and off for four years because of the pandemic, and I did all versions of Les Mis, including a concert and the new version. To be part of a huge show with a huge orchestra and iconic music… There’s not another show like it.
Where are you originally from?
You’re based in London now?
Yes, and have been for nine years now.
Have you played York or Hull much in the past?
I’ve never played York. I played Hull with Les Mis. It’s a great theatre; we were in Hull for about four weeks. I’ve been to York before I’ve been to the city before but I’ve never played it, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Have you got a dream part?
Les Mis was the one growing up, and once I got that it was great. As an actor I just wanna keep working; it doesn’t matter what it is really. I’d like to originate something; I’d like to become part of the creative process. That’s a big dream of mine.
What sort of genre would it be?
I think it would be a dark gritty musical. I don’t even know what it could be.
Well you don’t want people pinching the idea.
Is there a moment in Heathers The Musical that you love most?
There’s a song that I really enjoy called ‘I Say No’. It’s a great song and a really good moment.
What was the trickiest part of working on the show?
Stamina; I think I leave the stage about three times; I’m on stage for about 90% of the show. It was a case of getting my stamina up and making sure I could do the songs every night and do eight shows a week. But so far, touch wood, it’s been fine.
Heathers The Musical can also be seen at Hull New Theatre from September 26 to September 30, 2023.
Production images: Pamela Raith Photography