The musical adaptation of the 2004 Mean Girls movie written by Tina Fey and based on the nonfiction book, Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman faithfully brings back our favorite high school underdog and her pink dressed bullies. This stage version of the coming-of-age journey is once again blessed with brilliant humor and sass, thanks to a book by Fey, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and music by Jeff Richmond. No wonder the trio amassed twelve Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical, Book of a Musical, Original Score and Choreography.
The story of Cady Heron (English Bernhardt), a good girl who starts a new high school and needs to make new friends in suburban Illinois, is a cautionary tale of how to discern good company from bad, and doing the right thing. Through hysterical stereotypes like Cady’s new “true” friends Janis Sarkisian and Damian Hubbard (Lindsay Heather Pearce, Eric Huffman) and then her “plastic” friends: the ruthless “Queen Bee” Regina George (Nadina Hassan), “insecure, eager-to-please” Gretchen Wieners (Jasmine Rogers), and “funny, dummy” Karen Smith (Morgan Ashley Bryant), we are dropped into the mean reality that many teenagers face. Bryant’s bubbly performance of Karen, and Roger’s powerful voice were a sensation.
This creative production includes synchronized spinning desks, back lit panels that switch between setting and gossipy social media posts. The “cafeteria politics” are also emphasized by such memorable numbers as “Where do you Belong” and “Meet the Plastics” in which students rotate lunch tables and turn food trays into percussive instruments to harmonize with the songs. Award winning Director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw (winner of the Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography) brightens the student’s social chaos through some classic musical choreography, like the tap-dancing number lead by incredibly talented Huffman.
Only Fey’s comedic geniality can turn serious themes like bullying, peer pressure, insecurity, and the need of love and acceptance into memorable “pearls” like Gretchen’s: “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.” Come see the teenage queen battle and don’t forget write down your favorite quotes!
— Rosane Grimberg
Mean Girls plays at the Pantages Theater through January 29th. Tickets HERE.