The drama of high school cliques is front and center in the musical ‘Mean Girls’
The next step after the 2004 cult classic film was to put it as a full-length musical on Broadway, and this is exactly what they did! Mean Girls follows junior Cady Heron who is going to public high school for the first time. Once she meets her classmates and starts making friends with them, she will find that high school is not everything that she imagined. The three most popular girls in school, The Plastics, will show Cady Heron that not everyone is your friend and that when you get to high school you need to really see your true friends.
With direction by Casey Nicholaw, a book by Tina Fey, music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, Mean Girls is fun for fans of the movie and for those who are just learning about it for the first time with the musical.
The musical opened on April 8, 2018, and is currently playing at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.
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Our story begins with Janis (Barrett Wilbert Weed) and Damian (Grey Henson) telling us “A Cautionary Tale,” setting the mood for the musical.
“It Roars” is performed by Erika Henningsen as Cady and the ensemble; Cady is talking to the audience about her life in Africa and her first day of school when she moves to the US.
The first people that Cady meets, Janis and Damian, instruct Cady in “Where Do You Belong,” as they show her the different cliques of an American high school.
The queens of the school are introduced in “Meet the Plastics,” a number that serves as an introduction to the characters that rule the school.
The song “Stupid With Love,” is Cady talking about her past crushes and how she found a love of math because sweetheart love was not working out for her.
From the opening cords into the guitar solo, that happens before the lyrics start, “Apex Predator” is a delightful tune sung about the head Plastic Regina George.
Gretchen Wieners (Ashley Park), a second Plastic, sings a lovely ballad “What’s Wrong With Me?” Park’s voice and tone really shine in this number.
In “Stupid With Love (Reprise),” Aaron Samuels (Kyle Selig) and Cady sing a duet. At the end of the song when Aaron asks Cady what’s the date, it reprises the iconic scene from the movie.
Karen Smith (Kate Rockwell), the third Plastic, sings “Sexy” a song about how she would like it to be Halloween every day.
Regina George (Taylor Louderman) performs “Someone Gets Hurt” about the way that she acts. Lounderman’s voice enhances an already epic song, adding another layer to the instrumental.
The anthem “Revenge Party” is about Janis, Damian and Cady planning revenge on The Plastics. The ensemble enriches the song by helping to tell the story as it happens.
Cady, Gretchen and Karen sing “Fearless,” a song about what they will do now that Regina is out of their lives. The harmonies in this song are dynamite because all of the voices blend so beautifully.
Henson as Damian shines in “Stop,” where he is singing about things that people need to stop doing. The clever lyrics only add to the already fantastic jazzy instrumentals.
“What’s Wrong With Me? (Reprise)” is a lovely tune sung by Kerry Butler and Park. The way that the two women harmonize together is exquisite.
The beats really drive “Whose House Is This,” a number where the cast is singing about a house party. Cheech Manohar is highlighted in this song with the use of his rapping skills.
Another duet for Cady and Aaron, “More Is Better,” where the two sing about how they started having feelings for each other.
Starting with dialogue,“Someone Gets Hurt (Reprise),” Janis and Damien break into singing about how Cady is no longer pretending to be a Plastic, she now is truly one of the clique. A short number that packs a lot of punch, the music and the lyrics work well together.
Regina starts “World Burn” where she is singing about the fact that Cady is the new ‘It Girl.’ A solo for Regina, adding an extra dimension with the backing of the ensemble, this is an all-around great song.
In “I’d Rather Be Me” performed by Janis during the trust fall scene, she is singing about how she will be her own person. Barrett Wilbert Weed’s powerhouse vocals and tone are featured in this anthem and enhanced by the drumbeats.
Taking place at the math competition, “Do This Thing” is a great way to tell the story of what happens during the event because you hear from different perspectives.
The words “cheap,” “fake” and “easy to break” start the final number “I See Stars,” in which Cady is reflecting on the way that she was, and the way that she is right now. The ensemble crescendos in this number because everyone is joining to make a singular voice. I think that the message of the musical is conveyed in this song because Cady really grew and learned about herself as the musical progressed; she now sees herself as a star.