When we think of iconic pop culture movies that us members of the LGBTQ community arguably consider iconic and extremely quotable, we think of Wizard of Oz, Mommie Dearest, Devil Wears Prada, Legally Blonde, and duh! Mean Girls! Makes complete sense that Tina Fey (writer of the original screenplay and nine-time Emmy winner) would adapt the popular camp film into a full-blown musical, making its San Diego debut at the historic Civic Theater in Downtown playing February 28 through March 5, 2023.
Adaptations of films turned into musicals is a popular trend for Broadway productions, as they hope to introduce Theatre to a broader audience while making a solid amount of profit. I recall standing in line at the Times Square TKTS (Day of discounted Broadway show ticket booth) looking for a new show to see, and Legally Blonde: The Musical was on there. I said to myself “This is probably going to be terrible”, but I reluctantly bought my ticket. During intermission, I ended up walking to the merch table and buying the CD (yes, back in the day, theaters would sell show soundtracks on an actual compact disc) and a t-shirt. The show was so funny and clever.
Some movie adaptations are undoubtedly better than others but Mean Girls in particular has received rave reviews from both critics and audiences since it debuted on Broadway in 2018 following a successful premiere in Washington, DC in the Fall of 2017. The soundtrack quickly became an industry favorite due to its catchy melodies and satire driven lyrics.
For those of you not familiar with the popular film, it follows Cady Heron, a teenager who grew up in continental Africa until her parents decided to move back to the suburbs of Chicago, United States. Cady is enrolled in the local high school and encounters the clear social structure of the students by their hobbies, personality, and popularity. The school is ruled by The Plastics, a trio of polarizing girls with shady Queen Bee Regina George on the throne. Cady’s plan to infiltrate the group and topple the plastic reign is not an easy task and comes with a price.
Paramount Pictures, alongside Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, and Sonia Friedman produce the show, while Emmy winner Jeff Richmond (30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Saturday Night Live and Girls5Ev) composed the music, Tony nominee Nell Benjamin penned lyrics, and Tony winner Casey Nicholaw, a San Diego native, directs and choreographs.
Casting a show like this, that has such a broad following because of the box office hit film, would be a daunting task, but it is noteworthy to point out that for this First National Tour, all three “Plastics” are women of color. This is an absolute win for Theatre’s rocky journey to excel in cast diversity and inclusion. The cast is led by English Bernhardt in the role of Cady Heron, Nadina Hassan as ruthless Regina George, Jasmine Rogers as Gretchen Wieners, and Morgan Ashley Bryant playing Karen Smith. They are joined by Cady’s goth friend Janis Sarkisian, played by Broadway’s Lindsay Heather Pearce, alongside “too gay to function” Damian Hubbard, played by Eric Huffman. A beautifully diverse ensemble rounds up the cast of the Mean Girls National Tour.
As a fan of the movie, I’m stoked to see the musical adaptation and witness how the creative team can translate the campy humor and dark satirical spirit of Tina Fey’s script. Her involvement in the show surely has been crucial to the success of the adaptation.
So, get all your friends together, dress in pink (even if it’s not a Wednesday), and come see Mean Girls at the Civic Theatre. You can definitely sit with us!
Mean Girls is presented by Broadway San Diego with performances February 28 through March 5th at the Civic Center in Downtown San Diego. Tickets and info: https://www.broadwaysd.com/upcoming-events/mean-girls/