Broadway’s ‘Mean Girls’ Brings Quick Fun To The TPAC Stage

The 2004 cult classic “Mean Girls” came to life on stage at TPAC’s Jackson Hall on Tuesday.

Fans of the film will be pleased to find that the musical adaptation retains much of the script’s caustic spirit, including the ultra-quotable banter that elevated it to iconic status, echoing sarcastically in many high school halls over the past 18 years.

Like the film, the musical follows protected heroine Cady Heron as she is uprooted from her homeschool life in Africa and acclimatizes to the treacherous plains of suburban Illinois public school. . Eccentric social outcasts who take Cady under their wing, Janis Sarkisian and Damian Hubbard, chronicle her evolution from new kid in town to queen of plastics — the revered clique of hot babes led by accomplice Regina George.

The plot of the original coming-of-age comedy remains largely intact, allowing the production to captivate with the sweet allure of nostalgia, but peppery pop culture references like social media and Starbucks do. hinting at an attempt to bring it into the modern era. .

In some cases, the modernization effort helps make the show a bit more politically correct, but it also seems to conflict with a narrative that relies on comic relief from stereotypes born in another era – and the believable existence of a physical “Burn Book”. ”

Either way, the garish and somewhat dated portrayal of high school drama remains a staple of “Mean Girls” charm; and it still speaks, on some level, to the vicious reality of teenage girls today.

The impressive set from set designer Scott Pask and videographers Finn Ross and Adam Young took this production to the next level with its giant digital panels, allowing the set to go from the hallways of North Shore High School to the African savannah in the blink of an eye. ‘eye.

The pre-show setup projected pages from the iconic Burn Book, preparing the audience for the raunchy fun to unfold with its salacious gossip and faded insults.

The cast of “Means Girls” in Act I. TPAC

Clever choreography from director Casey Nicholaw enhanced the drama, synchronizing high-energy moves with projection shifts to switch scenes — sometimes multiple times per number.

The show’s two acts are fast-paced and almost action-packed, but each central character is given a brilliant musical moment on stage, developing their trademark qualities with satisfying hilarity.

Gossip queen Gretchen Wieners, played with nervous energy by Megan Masako Haley, shines in “What’s Wrong With Me?” mocking his codependent attachment to Regina George.

Jonalyn Saxer plays adorable mute blonde Karen Smith with complete confidence, performing the crowd-pleasing number “Sexy” inspired by the character’s favorite night of the year: Halloween.

Eric Huffman as Damian “too gay to work” brought some old-Broadway fun to the stage, leading an ensemble tapper in “Stop,” a number of cringe-worthy anecdotes. teeth that feature a fun choreographic moment.

But it’s Damian’s partner, Janis, played by Mary Kate Morrissey, who steals the show. Morrissey fully embodies Janis’ grungy, art-girl persona and stuns audiences with her powerful voice, her energy culminating in a fierce delivery of “I’d Rather Be Me.”

Mary Kate Morrissey (Janis Sarkisian) with the ensemble performing “I’d Rather Be Me”. TPAC

Overall, the Broadway adaptation of “Mean Girls” offers a great opportunity for a night of second-hand embarrassment and belly laughs, especially if you want to savor throwback nostalgia – or if you’re one of those Gen-Zers who stoke throwback trends of the early 2000s.

The musical runs at TPAC until Sunday, February 13.

You can apply promo code “Bruins” before your ticket selection to access a student discount.

“Mean Girls” was directed by Casey Nicholaw. Book by Tina Fey. Music composed by Jeff Richmond with lyrics by Nell Benjamin.

PICTURED: Danielle Wade (Cady Heron), Megan Masako Haley (Gretchen Wieners), Nadina Hassan (Regina George) and Jonalyn Saxer (Karen Smith) with the iconic Burn Book. TPAC

This review was written by Meagan Irby.

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