As a child who grew up in the early 2000’s, I was very young when the original Mean Girls movie came out in 2004. However, thanks to the magic of Netflix, I was able to see the movie. By that time I was able to have it’s iconic 2000’s humor grace my screen. I, like many people, quote the movie nearly daily. One can very often hear someone say “You go Glen Coco” in the background. Now, the iconic film has become a musical that is garnering similar success to that of it’s film counterpart.
Mean Girls the Musical follows our hero Cady Heron as her family of wildlife researchers uproot themselves from the Kenyan Savannah to Chicago where Cady must navigate the trials and tribulations of high school. Both stories show Cady having befriended by the popular clique known as the “Plastics”, resulting in drama and hilarity to ensue.
When we take a look at the characters, the audience is given wide a plethora of returning characters who have been given musical makeovers. Erika Henningsen, who stars as Cady, delivers an amazing performance. While similar to original star Lindsay Lohan, she has also become iconic herself. However, when one looks at other characters, such as Damian and Janis, Kevin G or the Plastics, one could even dare to say Cady looks bland in comparison.
Barret Wilbert’s portrayal of Janis Ian (now changed to Janis Sarkisian) is incredible. Weed is arguably among the biggest show stoppers with her excellent voice that manages to outshine Henningsen. Queen Bee Regina George is portrayed by the one and only Taylor Louderman.
Of course, what is a queen bee without her little workers Gretchen and Karen? Gretchen Wieners, portrayed by Ashley Park, has a personality that is highly exaggerated compared to the movie. Fans of the movie know that Gretchen always seemed to be one step away from a nervous breakdown. Gretchen’s anxiety trait was taken to a new level in the musical. When scared, she now makes parrot noises which mainly serve to fit the jungle narrative. This seems more like a comparison to the king’s bird advisors from The Lion King. Karen Smith is mostly unchanged in character with some minor tweaks seemingly there just for comedic belief. Deep down she conveys a feminist message that nobody would expect from the original Karen Smith.
Regina George is surprisingly more humanized compared to her movie counterpart. I was expecting Regina’s viciousness to be turned up a few notches in a similar fashion to Heather Chandler in “Heathers”. Despite this, Regina is arguably a show-stopper and is definitely an icon of the show.
The show’s soundtrack is incredible with some amazing tunes from Weed’s “Revenge Party” to Louderman’s “World Burn”. The songs were all worth a good listen and the dialogue had many funny points as well as the many quotes from the movie that we all know and love. Cast timing was rather off and it seemed at times that it was a bit like a rehearsal where the actors had not exactly mastered their timing to the point where they were interrupting each other.
Despite some small drawbacks, the musical was full of catchy songs, excellent casting and great acting. I find that the musical most definitely holds up to the movie and may even have some elements to it that are even stronger in comparison. Overall, I would one-hundred percent recommend that Mean Girls fans checks out this show.