Mean Girls: A Broadway Review
“Grool. I meant to say great but then I started to say cool.” ~ Mean Girls
Means Girls Closing
I never posted this review, but with the closing of Mean Girls last week, I thought it was better late then never. It is always sad when a show closes. And while Mean Girls was not high on my list to see, nor was it the most ground breaking and life changing show, it was good entertainment. Especially if you were a fan of the movie. I also thought it was fitting to post this on a Wednesday because after all, “On Wednesday’s we wear pink.”
Despite having grown up with the movie, and memorizing lines, as I mentioned this was not high on my must see Broadway Show list. In an age where many a movie is being transformed to Broadway, originality is something many theatre goers, including myself, crave. That said how can you resist Tina Fey who is an absolute comic goddess? And her hand and comedic chops are noted every where in this show.
If you have seen the movie, then in many ways you have seen the Broadway show. Except, the show is way BETTER then the movie. The show stays true to the story of the movie. Which if you don’t know the plot, is about a girl who attends high school after being home schooled her whole life. At first she is innocently awkward, but soon she joins in a scheme to take down “The Mean Girls” also known as The Plastics.
As she hangs out with the “cool girls” she soon gets swept up in the popularity game, which, in true millennial fashion, involves a boy. As well as staying true to the plot, the Broadway Show kept most if not all the famous zingers that everyone fell in love with in the movie, as well as adding their own, many of which are modernized to become very pop culture appropriate. There is also some ad libbing by the actors who play Janis and Damien.
Based on a movie which has not only become iconic, but was a break out for MANY of the actors who starred in it, the Broadway cast had a lot to live up to and they not only delivered, but far exceeded their predecessors. I had the pleasure of seeing the show with the original cast, and I am so happy I did, because THEY made the show. One of the reasons I love Broadway is it is live theatre and in musicals you not only have to memorize lines, but songs, AND choreography.
It isn’t easy, and in roles which made Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams household names as Cady Heron and Regina George, Erika Henningsen and Tayler Louderman, made the parts their own. Even when you wanted to hate them, you couldn’t help but root for them. Taylor Louderman also showed off her magnificent vocal chops with “World Burn.”
Like with most shows the ensemble makes it. And while Ashely Park (Gretchen) Grey Henson (Damian) Kerry Butler (assorted) and Rick Younger (Mr. Duvall) were incredible talents, and incredibly entertaining to watch, it was Barrett Wilbert Weed who was the true underrated and break out star of the show. She had starring vocals in two of the best songs of the show “Apex Predator” and the more inspirational bop, “I’d Rather be Me” an anthem for people everywhere to be themselves and not care what others think. Janis went from being a secondary character to a main one and I was here for show stealing scenes!
The Set and Songs
I hate to criticize a show especially with it closing, but being completely truthful the set in my opinion was the weakest link of the show, which is unfortunate because sets do make a show. On one hand I could understand it, because we are in an age where everything is becoming higher tech, even on stage. And with a show that targets millennial, it is understandable they would go down that road, but it just felt fake, and uninspiring. EVERYTHING was digitized, with the exception of props like desks, you almost felt like you were in a 3D experience as opposed to a Broadway Show. And while other productions like Dear Evan Hansen have nailed the digitized sets, Mean Girls sadly fell short, with finding a balance.
While I had heard the cast album had gotten criticism I actually enjoyed it. Again it isn’t anything groundbreaking, like Hamilton or Hadestown, but then not every show has to be groundbreaking. It can be fun and entertaining which is what Mean Girls was and is and the Cast Recording has that in spades. Not only does it showcase the vocal chops of amazing singers like Wilbur-Weed and Lourderman, but the songs are catchy and bop pops, that I love to listen to when I am running or driving.
Over all it was a solid show, with some great performances. It was entertaining, I laughed a lot, and it had a nostalgia factor to it. I felt myself dancing along to some of the numbers, and I even was rooting for Regina George…Who woulda thunk? It was a great way to spend an evening at the theatre, and I had no regrets going to see it.
I am sad it is closing, but I also know this isn’t the end, with National Tours as well as a West End debut, (hopefully this spring depending on COVID) this is not the end of Mean Girls. Nor is it the last time we will see these talented actors, because much like the movie which made Lohan, McAdams and Chabert, the musical has made stars out of Henningsen, Louderman, Park, and Wilbur Weed and they are very much the future of Broadway. So until next time, Happy Trails Mean Girls. You are oh so very fetch!
Did you see Mean Girls? What Broadway show would you love to see?