Last night I finally got to see Mean Girls on Broadway! Note how I say finally like it’s been out for four years instead of four months… but when it comes to Tina Fey projects, three months is a long time for me to wait and believe me, it took a lot of self control not to buy tickets the minute they were released. However, I waited. I joined lotteries to win free tickets until finally they released the song “I’d Rather Be Me,” which Janice sings during the end scene when all the girls are apologizing to each other for their behavior. I spent the next day learning every single lyric and hunting down tickets for the show. I was rewarded with fairly decently priced (but still expensive) second row center orchestra seats.
Going in, I was worried that I had hyped it up in my head too much. I adored the movie, and like most people, quote it all the time with friends and family. I had listened to the soundtrack so many times, I knew nearly every word. So I was worried it would be a letdown to finally see it. It was not.
I’ll sum up my review with a cliche a lot of people probably use when talking about this show: it was SO FETCH.
The Tony Awards may not have had a lot of Mean Girls love, but I adored every minute of it, from the second Damian and Janice first appear as narrators, to the last moments when everyone comes together at the end. Knowing the songs made me anticipate each one showing up, and it was fun to compare the show and the movie. For the record, I think they did fantastically well in the adaptation. There were a few small changes but nothing that took away from the original or was glaringly different, and they took great care to make sure all the great moments of the original script were still there (yes, “You go Glenn Coco” is definitely said, and following by a chorus chant of “Glenn Coco, Glenn Coco!!” in the song “Revenge Party”).
The chemistry between Janice and Damian is the heart of the show, in my opinion, even though they aren’t the main characters. However, Cady fits right in with them quickly.
The Plastics are everything you want them to be: evil Regina, insecure Gretchen and dumb-as-dirt Karen. I didn’t love Taylor Louderman’s (Regina) pouty voice on the soundtrack, but she was fantastic as Regina George. Although both the movie and musical are highly comedic, the musical Regina is so much more obviously evil than the movie version. Louderman has perfected a “look of death” that she gives the other characters when she knows exactly what she’s doing and what kind of pain she is causing. Kate Rockwell does a fantastic job as the clueless Karen, brilliantly staring off into space and often doing something entertainingly spacey in the background as well.
Oddly, the characters with the least amount of chemistry were probably Cady and Aaron, but that fact didn’t make their relationship unbelievable. You still rooted for them throughout the Regina nonsense.
Rounding out the cast are the other characters you know and love: Ms. Norbury, Mrs. George, Kevin Gnapoor and Mr. Duvall. Every performance was fantastic, and the only original actor I missed was, oddly, Tim Meadows as Mr. Duvall. Seriously, what’s he doing these days?? Can we just stick him up there for a couple shows?
Modern days shows are not usually given the costuming recognition they deserve, since they can be considered just “regular clothes.” But Gregg Barnes took great pains and included some incredible details that I was close enough to be able to see. For example, Janice’s denim jacket sports a painted on Frida Kahlo and a “Straight Outta Azkaban” patch. Damian wears a multitude of “gay pride” shirts: one has Rupaul, one is Liza Minelli with lyrics from Cabaret, while another features Judy Garland. He even wears Bob Ross printed socks (which was probably my absolute favorite thing!). When Karen sings “Sexy” about the slutty Halloween costumes girls tend to wear, there’s a Sexy Yoda costume. It was all just so perfect
The sets were just as clever as the costumes. If you were paying attention, you could find a ton to laugh at. For example, a store in the mall scene is named “Borderline Seafood,” while a booth selling sunglasses and trinkets is called “Craptique.” Most of the sets were done on screens, with various set pieces moved in and out by the actors.
Everything just worked, and this Mean Girls fan was very pleased with the results.
Run, don’t walk, to see this one!