It’s an iconic scene. Four teenage girls—Nancy, Sarah, Rochelle and Bonnie—board the afternoon bus to the California countryside. Marianne Faithfull’s “Witches’ Song” plays as the city blocks rush by . And as the bus reaches its final stop, the driver issues a warning: “You girls watch out for those weirdos.”
“We are the weirdos, mister,” Nancy famously retorts.
More than 20 years later, The Craft,Andrew Fleming’s 1996 horror film, remains one of the most popular witch tales in pop culture. As Clueless defined the decade with an amicable coming-of-age story and all the plaid a girl could handle, The Craft took an unapologetically darker approach, one that spoke to a generation of outcasts.
“It’s an ode to being Gen X,” says Troy Heard, founder and artistic director of Majestic Repertory Theatre, which will stage The Craft: An Unauthorized Musical Parody from January 20 through March 13. “For us back then, we didn’t see anything like this—nothing as strong as this and certainly nothing that dabbled with the occult.”
The story follows Sarah, a troubled newcomer who befriends a group of girls rumored to be witches at her Catholic high school. Together, they form a coven, using their powers to enact revenge on bullies, reclaim their autonomy and even gain power.
Majestic’s musical parody will pay homage to the film and poke fun at the ’90s, including the iconic fashion, brought to life by costume and hair designer Natalia Castilla from The Beatles Love. “It is very Hot Topic,” Heard says, “and we’re encouraging audience members to come dressed up.”
Majestic will transform its Downtown theater into an intimate cabaret space, complete with a “We Are the Weirdos” craft beer on tap, created by Las Vegas’ Beer Zombies Brewing Co. Performers might leap upon your table or lean against your chair. And if the musical didn’t rock enough, a live all-woman band will play tracks from the ’80s and ’90s, propelling the story.
Music director Brandon Scott Grayson, who worked on Majestic’s The Sandman, curated the female-forward band, which he notes was a “huge priority for us.”
“If we’re gonna have this sisterhood right here in front of your face, and the band’s present, I didn’t want four guys on instruments behind these four women,” Heard says. “I felt it should be all women in that room telling the story.”
Grayson puts the “rock” back in rock musicals, dramatizing music from The Cure, Nine Inch Nails and others for specific scenes. “It’s the songs that everyone knows and loves, and they will be satisfied, but it’s in service to our story,” he says.
Take The Lost Boys theme song “Cry Little Sister,” for example. “We use that song for summoning a demon god,” Grayson says. “We needed to amp up the energy and the stakes of it, so we made it a little more rock.”
This parody promises hysterics, but “as much as we tried to find the funny and punch up the laughs, you’re still invested in Sarah’s journey and in the journey of the coven,” Heard says.
Vegas Golden Knights arena host Katie Marie Jones says she related to her role as Sarah, having experienced a similar new-girl-at-school situation—sans the witchcraft.
Film die-hards will catch Easter eggs, Jones says, but experiencing The Craft for the first time as a musical is just as enjoyable. The message that we should celebrate our differences endures.
“That’s still a big issue for a lot of teens and a lot of people in general,” she says. “But I think you absolutely can get that from this show while having a really good time and having a cool beer.”
The Craft: The Unauthorized Musical Parody Through March 13; Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m.; $30-40. Majestic Repertory Theater, majesticrepertory.com.