Mean Girls (musical)

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Mean Girls
Mean Girls Musical Logo (2018).png
MusicJeff Richmond
LyricsNell Benjamin
BookTina Fey
BasisMean Girls
by Tina Fey
PremiereOctober 31, 2017: National Theatre, Washington, D.C.
Productions2017 Washington, D.C.
2018 Broadway
AwardsOuter Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical

Mean Girls is a musical with music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and a book by Tina Fey. It is based on the 2004 film of the same name written by Fey, which, in turn, was inspired by the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman.

The musical premiered at the National Theatre, Washington, D.C., in October 2017 and opened on Broadway in April 2018 at the August Wilson Theatre.


A musical adaptation of the 2004 film Mean Girls was in the works by 2013.[1] News emerged on October 3, 2016—the day of the year fans dub "Mean Girls Day", in reference to a line in the movie—that the musical would have its world premiere in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2017.[2] On December 30, 2016, the National Theatre was confirmed to be the D.C. venue for the upcoming production,[3] which received its première there in October 2017.[4]



The musical made its world premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2017, and ran through December 3, 2017.[5][4] Mean Girls began previews on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre on March 12, 2018, before opening officially on April 8, 2018. Casey Nicholaw is the director and choreographer and the musical is produced by Lorne Michaels and Stuart Thompson.[6][7] The musical has costumes by Gregg Barnes, scenic design by Scott Pask, video design by Finn Ross and Adam Young, lighting by Kenneth Posner and sound by Brian Ronan.[8].

U.S. National Tour[edit]

Mean Girls will embark on a national tour of the U.S., beginning in Buffalo, New York at Shea's Performing Arts Center, on September 21, 2019.[9] Mary Kate Morrissey is set to play Janis Sarkisian, with Danielle Wade as Cady Heron, Mariah Rose Faith as Regina George, Megan Masako Haley as Gretchen Weiners, Jonalyn Saxer as Karen Smith, Eric Huffman as Damian Hubbard, Adante Carter as Aaron Samuels and Kabir Bery as Kevin Gnapoor.[10] [11]


Act One[edit]

Janis Sarkisian and Damian Hubbard introduce us to Cady Heron, breaking the fourth wall and inviting the audience on their journey ("A Cautionary Tale"). Cady and her parents have moved to a Chicago suburb from Kenya, but Cady soon realizes that her high school classmates do not readily accept others who differ from them, yet she is ready to accept the challenge of friendship at the High School ("It Roars"). Cady is excited by the prospect of making new friends, but no one seems to like her or even acknowledge her ("It Roars (Reprise)"). Janis and Damian decide to help Cady as she tries to find her social group ("Where Do You Belong?"). Janis and Damian describe the clique of high school social royalty dubbed "the Plastics." The trio is led by Regina George, the "Queen Bee"; Gretchen Wieners, Regina's nervous, eager-to-please second-in-command; and Karen Smith, the stereotypical dumb blonde. Regina and her fellow Plastics decide that the new girl will eat lunch with them for the rest of the week. ("Meet the Plastics"). When Cady tells her new friends Damian and Janis about the invite, Janis asks Cady to say yes to the Plastics and tell them everything they say. Damian tries to explain why they hate Regina, but Janis won't let him.

In AP Calculus class, Cady meets the dreamy Aaron Samuels and immediately falls for him ("Stupid with Love"). Kevin, head of the Mathletes, is impressed with Cady's performance in class and asks Cady to join Mathletes. Gretchen warns Cady that joining the Mathletes is social suicide and Regina is mean to Kevin to get him to go away. Cady thinks Regina is nice for 'protecting' her, but Janis warns her that Regina is dangerous. However, amazed and intoxicated by her newfound power, Cady doesn't pay attention to Janis' words ("Apex Predator"). At the mall, Gretchen asks Cady if she's met any boys she likes. When Cady tells her about Aaron Samuels, Gretchen is horrified because Aaron is Regina's ex boyfriend, which makes him off limits to Cady, as Regina's friend. The Plastics and Cady then hang out at Regina's house, where they meet her "cool mom". Gretchen and Karen show Cady their old Burn Book, where they put photos of their classmates and write mean comments about them. When they come across Janis' photo in the book, Gretchen explains that Janis and Regina used to be best friends. Regina tells Cady that Janis freaked out when Regina couldn't invite her to her thirteenth birthday party, and ended up in art therapy. Later, Gretchen confides in Cady that, because of the state of her friendship with Regina, she has lost all confidence in herself ("What's Wrong With Me?").

The next day Aaron discusses his previous relationship with Regina, and how she made him feel like not-himself, telling Cady he has sworn off dating. After an awkwardly concealed verbal slip-up results in him explaining a math problem to her, Cady believes that if she acts stupid, Aaron will help her with her work, and therefore talk to her more ("Stupid With Love (Reprise)"). After using this tactic, Aaron invites Cady to his halloween party. Karen explains that in high school, Halloween revolves around looking sexy: the costume must be hot ("Sexy"). Cady doesn't know this and shows up at the party in a 'scary' costume, embarrassing herself. Later at the party, Gretchen, in order to gain Regina's approval, tells Regina about Cady's crush on Aaron. Spitefully, Regina decides to flirt with Aaron until he agrees to get back together with her ("Someone Gets Hurt"). Cady sees Aaron kissing Regina and is devastated.

Furious, Cady shows up at Damian's house and tells her friends what happened. Damian tells Cady the real reason Regina and Janis stopped being friends- in 8th grade, Regina accused Janis of being a lesbian and when Janis was unable to deny it, classmates bullied Janis until she left school. The three friends decide that they will work together to get revenge on Regina, giving her Kälteen Bars so that she will gain weight. They also trick Gretchen by sending a fake Candy Cane Gram to Cady from "Regina" saying that they are now best friends. This leads Gretchen to reveal Regina's secret hook-ups with Shane Oman, among other vengeful acts ("Revenge Party"). After the Plastics' "Rockin' Around the Pole" dance at the school talent show is disastrous, people start noticing Regina's weight gain. Later, when Regina breaks one of the Plastics' artificial clothing rules, Cady stands up to her, banning her from sitting at their table. Everyone is relieved to be freed from Regina's rule ("Fearless"). Cady tries to apologize to Regina for kicking her from the lunch table, but Regina insinuates that her reign is far from over ("Someone Gets Hurt (Reprise)").

Act Two[edit]

After winter break, Cady has undergone a complete makeover befitting of her new "Queen Bee" status leading Karen and Gretchen. ("A Cautionary Tale (Reprise)"). Cady tells Janis she cannot attend her art show because of a trip with her parents and Damian and Janis dislike her new, Plastic-like behavior. Damian and the other girls of North Shore High School try to hamper Cady's ever-growing social obsessions and to stop acting dumb for Aaron by telling her about their own negative past experiences with obsessive behavior ("Stop"). Gretchen and Karen convince Cady to lie to her parents and throw a 'small' party while her parents are gone that weekend. Gretchen starts to notice similarities between her friendship with Regina, and her friendship with the new Queen Bee Cady, while Regina's mother wonders why her daughter won't confide in her. She reminisces about the old days when Regina was a child while Gretchen is contemplating being friends with Cady. ("What's Wrong With Me (Reprise)").

Following Gretchen and Karen's advice, Cady throws a party in an attempt to get Aaron to come over. She becomes intoxicated as the party goes on and gets crazier ("Whose House is This?"). When Aaron shows up, they sneak off to her bedroom. Cady tells Aaron the "funny" story about how she pretended that she was dumb to make him like her. Aaron explains that he really liked who Cady was before she became a Plastic ("More is Better"). Aaron leaves, angry at Cady's transformation, and Cady chases after him. Outside, Cady runs into Janis and Damian, who came to confront Cady after the art show. They tell Cady that she betrayed their trust, lied to them, and has gone full Plastic. Cady accuses Janis of being in love with her, just as Regina did years ago. Janis and Damian are disgusted by Cady's behavior. Janis throws the picture that she submitted to her art show at Cady, revealing the winning painting was of the three of them ("Someone Gets Hurt (Reprise 2)").

When Regina discovers that she was not invited to Cady's party and that the Kälteen Bars given to her by Cady are what made her gain weight, she decides to get revenge by releasing the Burn Book, after adding "Regina is a Fugly Cow" to the book in order to take the blame off of herself. She throws copies of the Burn Book pages all over the school, revealing the insults about everyone they know, except Karen, Gretchen and Cady. ("World Burn"). All of the junior class girls begin fist fighting over the insults. Janis and Damian see an insult in the book that only Cady could have written about Damian. At a required assembly about the Burn Book, Ms. Norbury tries to bring the girls together. Janis explains her philosophy to the school, referencing her failed friendships with both Cady and Regina empowering the girls to stand up for themselves ("I'd Rather Be Me"). When Regina storms out in anger and disbelief, Cady tries to apologize, but Regina is distracted and is hit by a passing school bus.

Regina's bus accident prompts Cady to reevaluate herself and realize what a monster she has become. Cady decides to take the full blame for the Burn Book, despite having not written the entire thing herself, because Ms. Norbury is about to be fired due to the things Cady wrote. She is suspended for three weeks and banned from the Spring Fling ("Fearless (Reprise)"). When Cady returns to school, Ms. Norbury offers her a way to earn some extra credit and save her grade: Cady must join the Mathletes at the state championships. The team wins, and Cady feels redeemed ("Do This Thing"). She then sneaks into Spring Fling with Aaron's help, after kissing him. There, she runs into Regina, and they have a heart-to-heart conversation and make up.

Cady is elected as Spring Fling Queen but notices how fragile and cheap the plastic crown is, breaking it into many pieces, and gives a piece to each girl at Spring Fling while complimenting each one - telling them they are all "real, and rare". She apologizes to Janis and Damian, and they move forward as friends once more. Cady, Damian, Janis, Gretchen, Karen, Aaron, and Regina join together, finally accepting each other ("I See Stars").

Cast and characters[edit]

Original cast[edit]

Character Washington, D.C.[12]
National Tour[14][15]
Cady Heron Erika Henningsen Danielle Wade
Regina George Taylor Louderman Mariah Rose Faith
Janis Sarkisian Barrett Wilbert Weed Mary Kate Morrissey
Damian Hubbard Grey Henson Eric Huffman
Gretchen Wieners Ashley Park Megan Masako Haley
Karen Smith Kate Rockwell Jonalyn Saxer
Mrs. Heron/Ms. Norbury/Mrs. George Kerry Butler Gaelen Gilliland
Aaron Samuels Kyle Selig Adante Carter
Kevin Gnapoor Cheech Manohar Kabir Bery
Mr. Duvall Rick Younger Lawrence E. Street

Broadway cast replacements[edit]

Musical numbers[edit]

Washington D.C.

Not included on Original Broadway Cast Recording

†† Included as part of "Fearless" on Original Broadway Cast Recording

Song cut in touring production[20]


The Original Broadway Cast recording was released digitally in the U.S. on May 18, 2018. The physical album was released in the U.S. on June 15, 2018.[21] The album debuted at number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart, the highest debut for a cast album in over a year.[22]

On December 7, 2018, "Rockin' Around the Pole", which does not appear on the cast recording but is featured in the musical, was released on digital music platforms. A music video for the holiday song was also released.[23][24]

Critical response[edit]

Marilyn Stasio, in her review for Variety wrote: "Fey has front-loaded the show with great gags...Nell Benjamin’s lyrics aren’t half as clever as Fey’s off-the-cuff wisecracks, but they get the job done and are quirky enough to make you listen hard for the good stuff, providing enough payoff lyrics to reward your attention.... Fans of the original movie should be reassured that nothing important has been purged from the story."[25]

David Rooney, in his review for The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "If the songs composed by Fey's husband Jeff Richmond with lyrics by Nell Benjamin more often fall into workmanlike pastiche than inspired musical storytelling, too seldom developing robust melodic hooks, the score at least wins points for democratization. Every one of the principals gets a musical moment that tells us who they are, both the protective outer shell developed to survive the savage jungle of high school, and the tender human core, yearning to connect... While the show's book outshines the score, the songs pack in their share of wit, both in Benjamin's nimble lyrics (recalling her work on the Legally Blonde musical) and Richmond's buoyant tunes, which borrow with a wink from a variety of styles."[26]

Sara Holdren, reviewing in New York Magazine "Vulture" section wrote: "'Mean Girls' isn’t flawless. The first act is so strong, with such a well-built, fast-paced arc, that the second half feels like it takes a few tugs on the starter cord before the lawn mower fires up again. Some of the movie’s best jokes don’t fully land in their delivery...It’s not shocking that 'Mean Girls' is a fast-paced fancy fun time, but it’s a real treat to find that it’s still witty, worldly, and wise."[27]

The New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley wrote: "The trouble lies in the less assured translation of Ms. Fey’s sly take on adolescent social angst into crowd-pleasing song and dance. Mr. Richmond and Ms. Benjamin’s many (many) musical numbers are passable by middle-of-the-road Broadway standards, yet they rarely capture either the tone or the time of being a certain age in a certain era... the show weighs in at two and a half hours, as opposed to the movie’s zippy 97 minutes." However, he ultimately stated he enjoyed parts of the performance, saying: "There’s a reason the show is called “Mean Girls.” They’re the next-door versions of those cosmetically perfect pop and movie stars whose public vanities and follies we savor with such glee. Ms. Fey is an ace student of this universal prurience. She’s also smart enough to let us wallow in and renounce it at the same time."[28]

Entertainment Weekly's Kristen Baldwin gave the musical a B+, writing: "An ode to self-respect and the benefits of a STEM-based education, Broadway’s Mean Girls is a lively, frequently hilarious adaptation of Tina Fey’s 2004 high school comedy. Propelled by dazzling set design and several stand-out performances, the musical — written by Fey, with music by Jeff Richmond, and directed by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) — gives fans everything they want while bringing the saga of Regina George and the Plastics into the social media age."[29]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Washington, D.C. production (2017)[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2018 Helen Hayes Awards[30] Outstanding Visiting Production Won
Outstanding Performer - Visiting Production Grey Henson Nominated
Kate Rockwell Nominated

Original Broadway production (2018)[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
2018 Tony Awards Best Musical Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical Taylor Louderman Nominated
Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical Grey Henson Nominated
Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical Ashley Park Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Tina Fey Nominated
Best Original Score Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Musical Scott Pask, Finn Ross & Adam Young Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Musical Gregg Barnes Nominated
Best Sound Design of a Musical Brian Ronan Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Casey Nicholaw Nominated
Best Choreography Nominated
Best Orchestrations John Clancy Nominated
Drama Desk Awards[31] Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Grey Henson Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Ashley Park Nominated
Kate Rockwell Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Casey Nicholaw Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Nell Benjamin Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Tina Fey Won
Outstanding Costume Design Gregg Barnes Nominated
Outstanding Projection Design Finn Ross & Adam Young Nominated
Outstanding Wig and Hair Josh Marquette Nominated
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Award Taylor Louderman Nominated
Ashley Park Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards[32] Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Tina Fey Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Casey Nicholaw Nominated
Outstanding Leading Actress in a Musical Erika Henningsen Nominated
Taylor Louderman Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Kerry Butler Nominated
Ashley Park Nominated
Outstanding Projection Design (Play or Musical) Finn Ross & Adam Young Nominated
Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show Casey Nicholaw Nominated
Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Won (tie)
Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show Ashley Park Nominated


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  3. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (December 30, 2016). "'That Is So Fetch': A 'Mean Girls' Musical Aims for Fall Run". Retrieved December 30, 2016.
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  5. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "World Premiere of 'Mean Girls' Musical Begins Performances October 31" Playbill, October 31, 2017
  6. ^ Paulson, Michael (September 6, 2017). "The 'Mean Girls' Musical Is Coming to Broadway in March". The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  7. ^ McPhee, Ryan (April 8, 2018). "What Did Critics Think of Broadway's Mean Girls Musical?". Playbill.
  8. ^ [Mean Girls – Broadway Musical – Original | IBDB " Mean Girls' Credits"], retrieved May 12, 2018
  9. ^ " Mean Girls Tour" Playbill, retrieved April 30, 2019
  10. ^ "Wicked Alum Mary Kate Morrissey to Star in National Tour of Mean Girls" Playbill, May 10, 2019
  11. ^ "Cast & Creative for MEAN GIRLS | Official Broadway Site". MEAN GIRLS.
  12. ^ McPhee, Ryan (July 27, 2017). "Mean Girls Musical Finds Its Plastics in Taylor Louderman and Ashley Park; Additional Casting Announced". Playbill.
  13. ^ Vine, Hannah (February 2, 2018). "See Who's Bringing Mean Girls to Broadway". Playbill.
  14. ^ McPhee, Ryan (August 15, 2019). "Full Cast Set for National Tour of Mean Girls Musical". Playbill. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  15. ^ McPhee, Ryan (July 25, 2019). "Mean Girls Tour Finds Its Plastics". Playbill. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  16. ^ Clement, Olivia (September 11, 2018). "Jennifer Simard Joins Mean Girls Musical on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  17. ^ McPhee, Ryan (February 12, 2019). "Krystina Alabado to Join Cast of Mean Girls". Playbill. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  18. ^ McPhee, Ryan (May 28, 2019). "Reneé Rapp, 2018 Jimmy Award Winner, Will Star in Mean Girls on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  19. ^ " Mean Girls Songs Broadway", rerieved July 15, 2019
  20. ^ Selleck, Emily (August 29, 2019). "First Look at New Version of 'Fearless' From Mean Girls National Tour". Playbill. Retrieved August 29, 2019.
  21. ^ "The MEAN GIRLS Original Broadway Cast Recording is Now Available for Pre-Order!". Broadway World. April 6, 2018.
  22. ^ "'Mean Girls' Musical Earns Highest Debut for a Cast Album in Over a Year on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard.
  23. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Watch the Stars of Broadway's Mean Girls Rock Out to 'Rockin' Around the Pole'". Playbill. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  24. ^ Nelson, Jeff. "The Mean Girls Musical Releases Music Video for Holiday Song 'Rockin' Around the Pole'". People. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  25. ^ Stasio, Marilyn. "Broadway Review: 'Mean Girls' The Musical" Variety, April 8, 2018
  26. ^ Rooney, David. "'Mean Girls': Theater Review" The Hollywood Reporter, April 8, 2018
  27. ^ Holdren, Sara. "On Wednesdays, We Do Two Shows: 'Mean Girls' Self-Awarely Stages Itself" New York Magazine, April 8, 2018
  28. ^ Brantley, Ben (April 8, 2018). "Review: 'Mean Girls' Sets the Perils of Being Popular to Song". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  29. ^ "'Mean Girls' is not a regular musical, it's a cool musical: EW review". Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  30. ^ "2018 Helen Hayes Awards". 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  31. ^ "SpongeBob SquarePants Leads 2018 Drama Desk Awards". Playbill. June 3, 2018.
  32. ^ "2018 Outer Critics Circle Nominations Announced". April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.

External links[edit]