On a drizzly night towards the end of December in New York City, I weaved my way through the bright lights of the Theatre District to West 52nd Street, home of the August Wilson Theatre. The blonde wig was on, which could only mean one thing…it was time for Mean Girls.
Tina Fey’s undoubted talent is brought to Broadway with the brand-new musical which started its run at the August Wilson Theatre in April 2018. With music from Jeff Richardson and lyrics by Nell Michaels, the delightfully hilarious comedy is directed by Tony winner Casey Nicholaw and produced by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson and Paramount Pictures.
Based on the 2004 cult classic movie of the same name, Mean Girls features an all-star cast and has been nominated for an outstanding 12 Tony nominations in its first year.
Erika Henningsen plays Cady Heron, a teenage girl who moved to the US from Kenya and upon starting her new life at public school, quickly realises that everyone isn’t as friendly as she first hopes.
Cady befriends Janis Sarkisian, played by Barrett Wilbert Weed, and Damian Hubbard, played by Grey Hensen, who teach her the ways of high school and the all important group- The Plastics – Regina George (Taylor Louderman), Gretchen Wieners (Ashley Park) and Karen Smith (Kate Rockwell).
Following the storyline and keeping the most well known one-liners of the OG Mean Girls the same: “On Wednesdays we wear pink.”, “Uh, whatever, I’m getting cheese fries.” and “She doesn’t even go here!”, the script keeps things fresh and relatable with some hilarious takes on modern, millennial life with jokes relevant to 2018, including comments on slut-shaming and Gretchen’s line “Sometimes I feel like an iPhone without a case. Like, I know I’m worth a lot, and I have a lot of good functions, but at any time I could just shatter”.
If the Mean Girls movie was set in the present day, things would be very different and I could imagine many of The Plastics’ jaunts being based on social media and following, with the word influencer being thrown around quite a bit.
The burn book has had an update, with entries such as “Vegan freak”, “Kardasheaint” and “Jessica Sampson can’t contour for sh-t”.
The musical numbers are incredibly catchy and I’ve had the cast recording on repeat since I returned home from the States. Songs such as Karen’s (Rockwell) ‘Sexy’ leaves audiences in stitches of laughter while the final number ‘I See Stars’ left me with a tear in my eye as I’m sure it did many others. Regina’s alluring ‘Someone Gets Hurt’ really shows off Louderman’s impeccable amount of talent and ‘Revenge Party’ is an upbeat hit with lots of dancing and a really cool costume change just beforehand (a wardrobe malfunction has happened in the past as Wilbert Weed explained on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, but the cast remained professional and handled it with grace!)
The performance from every single cast member is in a class of its own, with each artist having an unparalleled dedication to their role, keeping things fresh but not losing the original voice of the classic movie.
I would urge everyone living in or visiting the New York Area to see this phenomenal show, whether you’re a fan of the 2004 movie or just want to experience something new.
Mean Girls is a definite must see and you will want to sit with them again, again and again.