Despite my age, I had never seen the movie, hadn't heard anything about the music, and didn't know what to expect. I was absolutely blown away.
The music and lyrics are powerful and organic; they don't come across as forced, i.e. the way they sound in some musicals when it seems as though their writers were just looking to write another song to move the plot forward.
The cast was sensational too, and the lead actresses were stellar. I still can't figure out what kind of name Barrett Wilbert Weed is :), but as Veronica she just rocked the stage with terrific acting and amazing vocal range. The theater is cozy, but I felt like I was really "on Broadway" when I heard her bring the magic.
As soon as you experience her and think, oh, well they got lucky finding that one, though, you find yourself bowled over by another and another. Jessica Keenan Wynn (the main Heather?) just dominates the room when it's her turn, and delivers similar power with her vocals. Even the woman who plays the underdog friend Martha (I just looked her name up: Katie Ladner) gets a turn to shine vocally late in the show and makes the wait absolutely worth it.
I could go on and on; the men's roles weren't as front-and-center given the plot (except for JD, who was also fabulous), but they were no less polished or powerful; some of them played multiple roles, and by the end each stood out for one element of his performance or another. (I just went and looked up Anthony Crivello; you don't expect to see him much given that he seems to be playing a chorus character at the beginning, but he comes front and center in the second half (?) in another role and just brings the heat, along with another guy (Daniel Cooney) in a similar role.)
Ok. I guess that's more than enough. I can't say enough great things about this show. I know that some of the reviews found something here or there to critique, but given the subject matter and the threading of the needle necessary to pull this story off on stage and as a musical--and one that sends you home happy and not miserable--they did masterful work. I really want to go back and see it again!