taylor weed

Mean Girls musical opening night thoughts

SPOILERS AHEAD Y’ALL

Saw the Mean Girls musical premiere last night. I talked to Nell Benjamin AND got a photo with Barrett Wilbert Weed so I’m feeling good. Also saw Lorne Michaels, Casey Nicholaw, and, apparently, Tina Fey was watching as well.

Thoughts in no particular order:

  •  Yes, Barrett Wilbert Weed is amazing and she has blonde/black hair. I enjoyed her portrayal of Janice, and the realization she comes to by the end of the show.
  • Most of the characters have more development compared to the movie.
  • As much as I adore Lindsay Lohan in the movie, Erika Henningsen is so damn charming as Cady. She brings more nuance to the character.
  • Kate Rockwell has a gorgeous voice and is absolutely hilarious as Karen. She gets more development in the musical, and I like the direction they take her. Instead of going for the weather gag, they present Karen as much more insightful than she appears. She’s not book smart, though, and is still presented as dumb.
  • Had some problems with Regina. I don’t think it’s necessarily Taylor’s portrayal of her, but, rather, the writing. Regina felt flat in the 1st act compared to the other characters. Either needs to be more terrifying or needs bigger moments where the audience gets to know about her outside of the mean girl stereotype. She comes together by the end of the 2nd act, thankfully, and feels pretty fleshed out.
  • Also love Ashley’s portrayal of Gretchen. She gets a kickass song in the 1st Act, and her relationship with Regina is presented as very desperate and co-dependent (yes, even more so than in the movie).
  • Aaron has a bigger backstory than in the movie. The show doesn’t spend too much time on it but it helps flesh out his character.
  • Kerry Butler is freaking amazing. All three characters she played were so different and there were a few people in the audience who had no idea it was the same actress.
  • Grey Hensen as Damien is absolutely hilarious. One of my favorites.
  • Janice/Damien are pseudo-narrators. They pop in a few times throughout the show to set the scene, give context, and provide some narrative relief to the audience.
  • Couple of spots where I was reminded of Heathers. The big one being when the Plastics are first introduced (reminiscent of the scene in “Beautiful”). And maybe the party scenes.
  • I felt the parallels between Janice and Cady A LOT more in the musical. There’s a beautiful part towards the end of the mall scene where Janice is standing above Cady as the stage changes to Regina’s bedroom. Janice senses the danger of encouraging Cady to be “friends” with Regina and, for me, she felt very protective of Cady in that moment (even though the characters aren’t directly interacting in this particular scene).
  • Lots of lines from the movie.
  • Quite a few references to other musicals. During the lunchroom scene, half of the cast on stage were wearing shirts from different Broadway shows.
  • Shoutout to Jonalyn Saxer and Riza Takahashi in the ensemble. They killed it.
  • The ending was very feel good and hit hard on feminism/social media/high school drama. I enjoyed the themes.
  • 1st act dragged in some parts. Wouldn’t be surprised if they cut one or two songs. 2nd act was great.
  • Lighting design and choreography were on point.
  • Book and lyrics were on point, mostly, and will be amazing with some tweaks and revisions.
  • Shoutout to the audience as well. We had a lot of fun and so many people dressed up for Halloween.

    Songs:

This is not an OFFICIAL song list. There are no songs/numbers listed in the program. All titles presented are simply guesses on my part, which I had a lot of fun doing. Yep, this is what happens when a writer is also a musical theatre nerd.

Act 1

  • Song about Cady in Africa/moving to Chicago - Starts with Janice/Damien, moves to Cady, and then to the entire cast.
  • Here’s Where You Belong - Damien singing about the lunchroom cliques (LOVE)
    Stupid With Love - Cady in math class (great)
  • Apex Predator - Janice/Cady/entire cast (mall scene)
  • What’s Wrong With Me - Gretchen in Regina’s bedroom scene (great)
  • Stupid with Love reprise - Cady
  • I Can Be - Karen before and during Halloween party (great)
  • When You Were Mine or Till Someone Gets Hurt - Aaron/Regina at Halloween party (I don’t think this song knows what it wants to be)
  • Revenge Party - Janice/Cady/Damien/ensemble (goes through how they ruin Regina’s life)
  • Stupid With Love again - Aaron/Cady talking about Regina
  • Justice - Taking down Regina and Cady becoming the leader (the “you can’t sit with us” scene)

Act 2

  • Bossed Up - Cady/ensemble about her transformation into the Plastics’ leader
  • Stay With Mother - Regina/her mother (I liked this but wouldn’t be surprised if it was cut)
    Whose House Is This - ensemble (party scene at Cady’s house)
  • More Is Always Better or More - Cady/Aaron
  • We’ll be Fine - Janice after she finds out Cady lied about not being able to go to her art show (very short).
  • Watch the World Burn - Regina plotting against Cady with the burn book. Moves into girl fight scene (liked Regina’s parts)
  • I’d Rather Be Me or Raise Your Right Finger - Janice after the confessions/meeting scene (AHHHHH, my favorite number by far).
  • Justice reprise - Cady
  • Do Your Thing - Mathletes scenes
  • Here - Prom scene