Mean Girls (musical)
by Tina Fey
|Premiere||October 31, 2017: National Theatre, Washington, D.C.|
|Productions||2017 Washington, D.C.|
|Awards||Outer 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.
- 1 Background
- 2 Productions
- 3 Synopsis
- 4 Cast and characters
- 5 Musical numbers
- 6 Recording
- 7 Critical response
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 References
- 10 External links
A musical adaptation of the 2004 film Mean Girls was in the works by 2013. 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. On December 30, 2016, the National Theatre was confirmed to be the D.C. venue for the upcoming production, which received its première there in October 2017.
The musical made its world premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2017, and ran through December 3, 2017. 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. 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..
U.S. National Tour
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. 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. 
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)").
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
|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
- Mrs. Heron/Ms. Norbury/Mrs. George: Jennifer Simard
- Gretchen Wieners: Krystina Alabado
- Regina George: Reneé Rapp
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- 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
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. The album debuted at number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart, the highest debut for a cast album in over a year.
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.
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
Awards and nominations
Original Washington, D.C. production (2017)
|2018||Helen Hayes Awards||Outstanding Visiting Production||Won|
|Outstanding Performer - Visiting Production||Grey Henson||Nominated|
Original Broadway production (2018)
|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 Orchestrations||John Clancy||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Awards||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical||Grey Henson||Nominated|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Ashley Park||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|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||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|
|Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical||Kerry Butler||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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