The largely anticipated musical adaptation of Tina Fey’s teenage classic “Mean Girls” opened for its Broadway debut on April 8 at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City after holding preview shows in October at the National Theater in Washington D.C. Now, only a month after the opening, people are waiting in anticipation to see if the new-age musical will sweep at the Tony Awards against competitors for best musical including “The Band’s Visit,” “Frozen” and “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical.” The upbeat pop music feeds into in the teenage cult classic that has a clear chance to win best musical.
“Mean Girls” follows the familiar story of Cady Heron as she moves back to the United States from Africa, begins public schooling and befriends a group known as The Plastics, which is led by the popular Regina George. Following the challenges of high school, romance and popularity, “Mean Girls” remains an iconic and relevant story to teenagers.
The musical itself is filled with 21 original songs written by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin ranging from the upbeat “Apex Predator” to the cautionary “Somebody Gets Hurt.” The cast album follows the ups and downs of the “Mean Girls” story, beginning with a foreshadowing song, “A Cautionary Tale,” performed by Janis Sarkisian and Damian Hubbard. The musical moves forward with Cady Heron’s return in “It Roars.” The story moves through the events of the movie through songs like “Meet The Plastics” when Heron meets Regina George, Gretchen Wieners and Karen Smith, “Stupid With Love” as Heron falls in love with Aaron Samuels, “Revenge Party” where Heron joins together with Janis Sarkisian and Damian Hubbard to take revenge on George and “I’d Rather Be Me” where the Janis Sarkisian addresses the junior class after the release of the Burn Book before the coming-of-age finale “I See Stars.”
One difference from the movie to the musical is that each character has their own sounds. When a cast member enters the stage, the music creates a new tone. Heron follows this clear pattern, as her music has an African beat. As the musical evolves and the characters shift, Heron’s music transforms to be similar to the Plastics with a pop tone. Another clear example of a shift is in “Meet The Plastics,” where each character has their own diverse beat when they sing a solo in the song.
Although the musical is filled with upbeat songs, the musical’s pop tone is interrupted when the mathletes rap a half-complete song during “Do This Thing.” Also, there is the seemingly out-of-place song “Whose House Is This?” during a party.
However, the adaptation accounts for and incorporates many popular and redeeming quotes and symbols from the movie. These additions include the infamous Burn Book, the commonly quoted “on Wednesdays, we wear pink” and the Wieners’ hilarious attempt at creating the new slang word “fetch.”
Now, on its Broadway run, “Mean Girls” stars Erika Henningsen as Heron, Taylor Louderman as George, Ashley Park as Wieners, Kate Rockwell as Smith, Barrett Wilbert Weed as Sarkisian, Grey Henson as Hubbard and Kyle Selig as Samuels. The cast’s efforts have begun to pay off as the cast and production team has earned a total of 12 Tony nominations for this season’s upcoming Tony Awards on June 10. “Mean Girls’” nominations include best musical, best book of a musical, best original score and best performance by an actress in a leading role in a musical.
Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” takes the well-known story of Cady Heron moving to a new country and struggling through high school and creates an entertaining art form to share with thousands of spectators and with 12 Tony Award nominations. Audiences are on the edge of their seats to see if this “fetch” musical will take home the top award of best musical.