Masterful Mean Girls musical adaptation comes to Pittsburgh

Courtesy of Joan Marcus The cast of Mean Girls from the 2018 Broadway production.
Courtesy of Joan Marcus
The cast of Mean Girls from the 2018 Broadway production.

Hanna Boucher | Staff Writer

10/31/19

The current trend of revamping pop culture’s most beloved films into musicals has selected a new target: Mean Girls. After enjoying more than a year of success on Broadway, Mean Girls is making its way around the country, with its current stop being Pittsburgh.

Fifteen years after debuting in theaters, Mean Girls is still just as relevant as it was in 2004. This was apparent on Tuesday when people of all ages lined up to take their seats opening night. The theater was a sea of pink, some in the audience even sporting shirts with the film’s most iconic quotes on them.

Part of the reason why the musical has enjoyed such a successful run is because it stays true to its roots. While there are a few minor plot alterations, at its heart, Mean Girls is still Mean Girls — just with some catchy musical numbers added in. Fans of the film can definitely expect to hear some of their favorite lines, with some new ones still written by the comedic genius herself, Tina Fey.

The best addition to this classic is without a doubt the music. Catchy, powerful and hilarious, the songs breathe new life into the show. As a whole, the songs move the plot along, while also showcasing the insane talent of the ensemble cast.

Something Mean Girls gets right is balance. Not every song is centered around having a good time. Not every song is meant to make the audience laugh. There is the perfect amount of humor in the numbers, so as to not distract from the overall plot.

The songs that stand out most in the show are Regina George’s, “the queen bee.” While technically, her character is portrayed as the antagonist, her powerful, no-apologies persona is oddly inspiring. While it’s never encouraged to be a “mean girl,” it is important to not care about what others think.

Mariah Rose Faith, the actress who plays George on tour, does a fabulous job of portraying this complex character. Faith has an incredible vocal range and a voice that sends shivers down the spine. Never before has the mean girl been my favorite character in a show — until now.

The home-schooled jungle freak herself, portrayed by Danielle Wade, was even funnier in the stage adaption. Quirky and lovable, Cady Heron carries the show as she struggles to find her place in modern teenage culture. Wade’s portrayal of Heron is wonderfully refreshing and entertaining. Her comedic timing is impeccable.

Another great addition to the show is the dancing. While the original film features “The Plastics” dancing in the talent show, the new adaptation includes many dance breaks. The best part of the dancing is when the performers switch from modern dancing to suddenly acting as animals. This pays homage to Heron’s personal interpretation of teenage behaviors from the film.

All in all, Mean Girls has managed to maintain the essence of the original film, while still updating some of its content for newer audiences. Witty, charming and nostalgic, whether or not you’ve seen the film should not prevent you from seeing this musical.

Until Nov. 3, this hilarious masterpiece will be at the Benedum Center. Tickets are available for purchase online or at the box office.