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Mean Girls Musical (Tony Award Winner Tina Fey?)

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  • Beau S.
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    #431584

    This is relatively old news, but Tina Fey is in the process of writing the book for a Mean Girls musical, with her husband Jeff Richmond writing the music. She is also supposedly interested in directing as well.

    Glad to see that Fey’s post-30 Rock career isn’t being wasted on paycheck-comedy movies.

    Original story: http://www.broadway.com/buzz/166933/so-fetch-tina-fey-confirms-mean-girls-musical-in-early-development/
    Recent update: http://www.broadway.com/buzz/167833/mean-girls-musical-details-revealed-jeff-richmond-on-the-planned-fetch-song-smashs-influence-on-the-show/

    Tony Award Winner Tina Fey?

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    vinny
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    #431586

    I’d say so. If they made “Matilda”, “Ghost”, and plan on making “Rocky” a musical (I think i saw that in the news somewhere) this wouldn’t be a bad option.

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    TheFinalBluth
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    #431587

    I think if this makes it to Broadway, it could be a huge hit. a la Legally Blonde: the Musical. 

    I am actually REALLY excited. a “Fetch” song? I mean, this could be special. 

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    Irishmovielover4ever
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    #431588

    If only she won that grammy over Betty White she would be very close to the EGOT.

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    LexMG
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    #431589

    I will fly out to New York JUST to see this. Mean Girls is SO fetch, haha, I love it, Tina is just phenomenal. I hope it’s a huge success!

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    KyleBailey
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    #1202410229

    This is an old thread but might as well bring it back! As a Maryland native and work in DC two blocks to the left of the National Theater, I got to see the out of town try out of Mean Girls. I wrote about it on my blog but here’s what I wrote about it:

    One of the luxuries of living back in Maryland is that the theater scene in DC is often times very plentiful and full of great special events. When I was in Florida for college, I missed the first try out of Dear Evan Hansen and as you can tell, that was a HUGE miss. Last year, Come From Away tried out at the Ford’s Theater and I didn’t go out of lack of interest but once again, it did pretty well. Not all DC tryouts are winners as Bright Star has its fans but didn’t last too long on Broadway but I think the latest Broadway bound try out will do pretty well with it’s preexisting fan base. Mean Girls is a big movie for my generation and is one of the best high school comedies of the 21st century but in my opinion the best of all time. For a movie with so many iconic lines and sequences, there’s a bit of a high bar going into making a musical version because you know you have to keep iconic things in and amplify others.
    Seeing this musical it occurred to me the “blue hairs” (the little old ladies of Broadway) are probably going to either hate this or not understand it. The audience uproars in applause almost every time one of those iconic lines are said/sung and it can come off as pandering at times but that’s not the shows fault at all it’s just the magnitude of a fan base this movie has’ fault. There’s also plenty of updating to today’s high school culture regarding iPhones, social media, and even our president that seems a tad off from the heart of the 2004 movie but personally social media humor always feels immediately dated to me as it is constantly changing. Tina Fey wrote the book for this as she did with the movie and it’s still sharp and wonderful and the score is great as well by her husband Jeff Richmond. The lyricist is Nell Benjamin and she also did the lyrics for one of the most underrated modern musicals Legally Blonde. I thought she is the perfect choice to write lyrics for another iconic comedy of the early 2000’s but unlike something like Legally Blonde where her lyrics are just so rich and full of sharp humor, this one was a tad lacking in that department. Though I loved many of the songs especially Damien’s big number at the beginning that is almost like “Stick to the Status Quo” from High School Musical laying out the land of the cliques. There’s alot of great power ballots and fun group numbers but none to me will be a big breakout song which is somewhat needed in such a do or die Broadway climate these days. I guess Janis’ big climatic number about giving a middle finger to society and is full of female empowerment can crossover ESPECIALLY for what is going on in the world right now but not many of the others seem destined for high school theater IE events at their Thespian Festival. I felt there was one to many belt notes written into the score that it almost started feeling like they wanted to just let the actors show off that they CAN belt rather than they need to belt at any given moment. It may be the sound issue or a diction issue but often times I really couldn’t make out the lyrics because the music and ensemble would get a tad chaotic and I was sitting pretty close to the speakers so maybe I was just overwhelmed with sound. I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to sets (it helps that I love props and set decoration alot) so I am a tad disappointed the main set is just a wall of monitors that create the sets for you but I understand the necessity for it and they do incorporate it well but for someone who was sitting really far on the side, it was hard to even make out the set because a lot of it is on the back wall at times but I did like the set pieces they did incorporate on a choreography stand point mostly like how the students roll in on their desk/chair combos and shift together to create a new class and how they moved the cafeteria tables during that Damian number. The lighting design more coincides with the monitors and the sound design as I mention was a tad messy but I think that is something they can fix on their way to Broadway. I don’t know how the August Wilson compares in size to the National but it could tone down a tad. The costumes are solid but shout out to all of Damian’s shirts because from Liza to Cher he had all the divas represented and I also enjoyed the Halloween choices. I’ve had quite a Casey Nicholaw-fest these past few weeks seeing his other big hit The Book of Mormon and he does a great job directing this and blocks everything pretty well even though it would have been nice to see some of the things happening on stage right but that’s more of a slap on the wrist to me for waiting but to me it is important that your whole ticket paying audience deserves to see a majority of the action (even if they could implement monitors like they do at SNL tapings).
    So I think I covered most of the production values so let me talk about the performances. I think the whole ensemble is fantastic together and have such a great energy throughout the show for one that is so rapid pace and seemingly has something for most of the ensemble to do at all times. I’m surprised that most of this cast was still able to come out with a smile on their face to the stage door because I was tired just watching some of them. Shout out to one particular ensemble member who was always burning the stage with his dance moves (unsurprisingly he was a Newsie) Ben Cook. Of the actors, Grey Henson who played Damian, was the stand out. He captured the excellent comedic timing of Daniel Franzese from the movie perfectly but still managed to make it his own especially keeping up with the times with gay culture like today’s pop divas and drag race T shirts. For the women, of course the lead that played Cady, Erika Henningsen, did a fantastic job carrying the show but I have to give a shout out to Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis but also Kerry Butler who did triple duty playing a Hairsprayesque “female authority figure” role of Cady’s mom, Regina’s mom, and perfectly as Ms. Norbury making me think Tina Fey was actually on that stage reprising her role from the movie. The titular mean girls were all excellent and did the roles justice to the movie types though Taylor Lauderman could get a tad soft at times where I couldn’t understand what she was singing (side note: she is GORGEOUS). Kate Rockwell aced Karen’s barely functional ways and Ashley Park aced Gretchen’s woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown well. Kyle Selig did a great job as Aaron Samuels but I didn’t think he was given enough to do to really stand out. He gets a handful of solos in maybe two songs and I think maybe a song or two just for him would have been a nice touch (side not: he is GORGEOUS). Cheech Manohar killed it as the rapping mathlete Kevin and Rick Younger channelled Tim Meadows “I’m tired of this shit” principal excellently but he also seems to not have enough to do. It would be fun to see him and Ms. Norbury get a song about dealing with the mean girls or school in general. I loved the touch at the end that the male ensemble all pull a Producers in Along Came Bialy and go drag to fill up the female ensemble during the climatic burn book outing scenes and the iconic gym after school detention scene.
    Overall, it’s not a masterpiece but it’s a great night at the theater and alot of fun if you adore the movie like I do. I’m just not so sure how this will play for some of the non movie fans and might dismiss it as they did with Legally Blonde as a cheap cash grab from a big hit comedy. I already know from my summer binge of Theater Talks throughout the years of critics roundtables of the ones who will not like it and some of the ones that may go to bat for it. I don’t think this show has officially “opened” which is weird for a 6 week run try out so no official reviews have dropped but I will be interested in how the theater critics react to this because I am anticipating it to be mixed as most shows are lately unless you’re recent
    Tony winners Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, and Fun Home. If you’re in DC and can win a lottery, it’s worth doing especially for the 25$ front row seats but if it really comes down to the obstructed view seats like I sat in (and unless you want Premium seats that’s as good as you’ll get at this point), it may be best to wait for Broadway so you can really get the whole set in view and really soak up the show rather than trying to lean over as far as you can go. I’m sure certain moments would have had a way bigger impact if I was in a proper seat like the big mean girls entrance. It ended up be just like when I saw Sunset Boulevard in April when I sat in the last row middle balcony where the lottery winners go and the balcony above cuts off the top view so when Glenn Close came out, I couldn’t see her and thought people just LOVED the song that just ended. So yeah, if you can get a lottery ticket, go for it but if you have to sit in limited view, it’s still a good show but you are clearly missing out on some great moments.

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 20 hours ago by  KyleBailey.
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    adamunc
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    #1202410234

    I’m seeing it this coming weekend and really hoping for just a good old-fashioned laugh-out-loud time at the theater. I’ve actually never seen the movie, so I’m going in cold with no expectations for favorite lines/scenes/etc.

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    KyleBailey
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    #1202410262

    I’ll be interested to hear what you think. I really don’t know how it’ll play for non fans. Sat next to an old woman that I can’t imagine saw the movie and didn’t get the vibe she was enjoying it all that much

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1202410291

    Just imagine how mainstream next year’s Tony Awards could be with Escape to Margaritaville, Frozen, Harry Potter & Cursed Child, Mean Girls, and/or SpongeBob SquarePants as potential nominees.

    P.S.

    Nell Benjamin is a woman, not a man.

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    KyleBailey
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    #1202411163

    Just imagine how mainstream next year’s Tony Awards could be with Escape to Margaritaville, Frozen, Harry Potter & Cursed Child, Mean Girls, and/or SpongeBob SquarePants as potential nominees.

    P.S.

    Nell Benjamin is a woman, not a man.

    Whoops my mistake! Thanks for pointing that out

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    adamunc
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    #1202415784

    **SOME SPOILERS**

    Saw this in a packed house (at the heinous National) on Saturday night. I’ve never seen the movie for some reason–I love Tina Fey but have just never made the effort to go back and see this. So, I really only knew the basic plot outline going in, as well as a few of the ubiquitous lines. Given that Fey is the most famous name on the marquee, I was expecting a lot of book scenes and tons of dialogue. But it’s pretty much wall-to-wall music–the piece has been fully musicalized, sometimes successfully, sometimes a little less so.

    I expect this will be a hit in NY just as it has been in DC. There’s a lot to like and the cast radiates energy and high spirits. There are a few issues to be addressed, but there’s plenty of time before Broadway to do that. There’s flat-out too much exposition. The first three numbers feel like opening numbers (no song list, so any song titles here will be my assumptions) and it takes a little too long to set up the world of the show, so some trimming is in order. Richmond’s music is all pleasant in the moment, but most of it is not memorable and many of the songs begin to take on a certain sameness. When he does go a little out of the box, such as with a straight-up hip-hop number near the top of Act 2 called something like “Whose House Is This?”, it tends to work. The best song is an 11 o’clock-ish number for supporting character Janice called “I’d Rather Be Me” (I assume). The sound at the National was a little muddy, so some of Benjamin’s lyrics get lost in the mush, but they seem to be professional and in-character if not exactly Sondheimian in complexity. (Though I would note to her that “status” and “bad ass” do not rhyme, no matter how much you repeat it and no matter how much you have the singer contort the pronunciation.)

    The staging is first-rate. This is by far Nicholaw’s best work since Book of Mormon. The individual scenes all move and there’s tons of character and business detail–note the way he has the actors do fantastic in-place choreography with their arms during the Mathletics scene. The classroom scenes shift quickly by having the actors at schooldesks on wheels doing a quarter-turn to indicate time and place transitions, with ensemble members taking turns quickly shifting from student to teacher roles. Scott Pask’s set is a functional knockout–mostly a curved wall with marvelous projections that encompass everything from the “burn book” pages to brick institutional walls with directional signs that will instantly transport you back to your high school in your mind. The complex lighting is equally impressive. My only qualm with any of the staging is that there are a few occasions where the end of a scene seems to get a little squashed, where maybe a song could have used a bigger button or something and had more impact.

    There are no clunkers in the cast. Every performance is accomplished and everyone does get their share of moments. Of particular note are Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis Sarkisian (who gets what I thought was the best song, as mentioned earlier) and Kerry Butler, playing all the adult females. Butler in particular is astounding and probably Tony-nomination bound, creating three very distinct and very different characters with some quick changes that must be beasts. She only has one solo (a rare ballad as Mrs. George that’s effective and humorous), but enough ensemble numbers and comedy bits to warrant awards consideration.

    The end could use a little more focus–Cady’s transformations from good girl to fake mean girl to real mean girl and back to good girl are fully fleshed-out, but Regina’s transformation from mean girl to nicer girl is a little squishy. I mean, she gets hit by a bus (great staging moment) and suddenly she’s nicer? This is not long after she’s had a huge revenge number (complete with hydraulic levitation), so it feels like there needs to be a counterpoint musical moment there. And the whole thing could use just a skosh more sentiment to give the ending more oomph–a comment that could apply to many Fey-penned projects, brilliant as she is. This is a musical, after all.

    But all in all, I felt like it was a good show, and close to being a very good one. I hope they make the necessary tweaks and have a big success at the August Wilson.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1202415911

    The critics have started to weigh in, and they seemed to like it, but agreed that it needs work…
    https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Review-Roundup-Broadway-Bound-MEAN-GIRLS-in-Washington-DC-What-Did-the-Critics-Think-20171120

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    Djoko
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    #1202416001

    Nothing is beating The Band’s Visit next year. From early word, people who have seen Mean Girls on the Broadway World boards have been saying it’s nothing like the movie – in a bad way. Frozen may have a chance if it gets great reviews, but it seems like they rushed it to Broadway.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1202416039

    I agree that The Band’s Visit is definitely an early frontrunner for Best Musical. It should be interesting to see what will end up being its closest competition in the spring. As we’ve seen in recent years, the more creative piece of theater has managed to win the Tony over the more commercially viable title.

    This really has been such an exciting new age of musical theater with shows like Once, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (even though I thought that show was pretty overrated), Fun Home, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away, and especially Hamilton being able to find success on Broadway.

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    Djoko
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    #1202416203

    I edited my original post because I was talking about Mean Girls for the early word not being good.

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