Go see “Mean Girls”; it’ll be fetch!

Syd Pierre, print editor-in-chief

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“Mean Girls” the musical isn’t just a regular musical, it’s a cool musical. With 12 Tony nominations and a national tour already beginning only 18 months since the show opened on Broadway in spring of 2018, the show has seen enormous success. Based off of the cult favorite 2004 movie and written by the same witty writer and internet sensation, Tina Fey (SNL, 30 Rock), the movie and musical follow a similar plot. Based off of the novel,”Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wisemam, the musical has few differences from the movie, providing both a new viewing perspectives, as well as deeper looks into the emotions behind the characters due to the use of more than just typical dialogue. 

New girl Cady Heron (Danielle Wade) moved to Chicago from Kenya, armed with a strong need to belong and real world experiences that rival her classmates suburbian lifestyles. Immediately appointed a misfit by classically cruel high school students, she finds herself pulled into a friend group with show-choir-singing, “almost too gay to function” Damian Hubbard (Eric Huffman) and the art loving, empitome of teenage angst, Janis Sarkisian (Mary Kate Morrissey). Determined to teach her the ins and outs of high school, the pair is stunned when queen bee Regina George (Mariah Rose Faith) and posse, the Plastics, sweep Cady up into a whirlwind of drama, love triangles, and backhanded jabs thrown at the force only teenage girls are capable of. 

Built for a modern audience, the show features a set to match. Designed by Scott Pask (“The Band’s Visit”, “Waitress”), the set has minimal pieces and props, instead relying on fast-paced visual projections. The projections act as a backdrop and provide a strong basis for social media posts and swift scene changes when complemented with in-depth lighting design (Kenneth Poser). The music (Jeff Richmond) and lyrics (Nell Benjamin) are catchy but not avant-garde, leaning more towards a softer pop style than a typical Broadway classical style. The choreography by Casey Nicholaw (“The Prom”, “Aladdin”) is flashy and fun, full of energetic ensemble pieces like “Where Do You Belong” and “Who’s House Is This?” 

Danielle Wade perfectly balances the stages Cady goes through as she finds herself torn between making difficult choices and friendships. Wade encapsulates both her endearing awkwardness, as well as her fearlessness and taking charge nature. With strong, creative vocals, Wade stars in numbers such as “It Roars” and “Fearless”. 

Mary Kate Morrissey and Eric Huffman make a strong case for joining their rag-tag gang with plenty of believable platonic chemistry between the pair and that type of matching sense of humor only best friends are known to share. Morrissey brings strong emotional depth to Janis, showcasing some of the more devastating consequences of Cady’s actions and making you root for her all the same. With a fierce belt, she thrills in “I’d Rather Be Me”, a feministic powerhouse that convinces girls to band together instead of against each other. Huffman provides plenty of comedic relief and a spirited tap number in “Stop”, complete with a few self-deprecating one liners. 

Mariah Rose Faith scares as Regina, with sneaky manipulation techniques and powerhouse vocals, emphasised in “World Burn”. The other two thirds of the Plastics are Gretchen Wieners, Regina’s eager-to-please secret keeper (Megan Masako Haley), and Karen Smith (Jonalyn Saxer), the quintessential dumb blonde. Masako Haley nails the darker side of the consequences of teenage girl drama, insecurities, and anxieties abound. Saxer is nothing but hilarious, gifted with some of the funnest, random lines in the show, including the number “Sexy”, where she enthusiastically explains the best parts of Halloween. 

Built for the fans but welcoming to everyone, “Mean Girls” continues to showcase the horrors of high school while emphasising the importance of kindness, a simplistic but easily overlooked message. “Mean Girls” plays at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis from Oct. 1-13, and it’s not a show to miss. Hurry, grab your tickets and something pink to wear!