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The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

Mean Girls on Broadway: A modern, musical take on a 2000’s classic

Broadway in Akron brought “Mean Girls” to UA’s E.J. Thomas Hall for its second show on Monday, Nov. 13 and Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.
Mean+Girls+on+Broadway+logo+courtesy+of+Playhouse+Square.
Mean Girls on Broadway logo courtesy of Playhouse Square.

The University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall continued Broadway in Akron with their second show “Mean Girls” on Monday, Nov. 13, and Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.  

The musical is based on the hit 2003 romantic comedy movie of the same name, written by Tina Fey and directed by Mark Waters. The original movie features Lindsey Lohan as Cady Heron, Rachel McAdams as Regina George, Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith, and Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Wieners.  

Audience member Anna and her mother pose for a picture. (Taylor Lorence)

Mean Girls became a cult classic as soon as it hit the big screen in 2003, giving audience members iconic movie lines that are still quoted today, including “That is so fetch” and “On Wednesdays we wear pink.”  

I attended the show’s first performance on Monday night, and this was the first Broadway musical I had been to. Sure, I watched the musicals my high school put on years ago, but nothing of this magnitude. I was exhilarated to be able to see the show since the tickets for Monday night’s showing had sold out.  

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Going into the performance having watched the movie more times than I can count, I had extremely high expectations for Mean Girls.” 

As the musical started, characters Janis and Damian narrated the show before opening with the fun duet, “A Cautionary Tale.” The song gave audience members a simplified gist of the musical, which I thought was beneficial for people who had not seen the movie before.  

Natalie Shaw, who played the role of Cady Heron, gave a wonderful performance that perfectly captured the vulnerable and impressionable character of Cady. I loved watching her dynamic with Regina, Karen, and Gretchen as her character navigated her new friendships with the popular group. 

Mean Girls pamphlets. (Taylor Lorence)

As the show progressed, I enjoyed the songs “Apex Predator,” a powerful number that highlighted the cruelness of Regina George, as well as “Revenge Party,” a spunky group number that outlined Cady’s revenge plan against Regina in the second act of the show. 

Throughout the performance, the exploration of Gretchen Wieners’ character proved to be my favorite aspect of the musical. In the original movie, Gretchen constantly yearns for the admiration of Regina and continuously goes above and beyond to impress her. This desire for validation ultimately drives the character of Gretchen and her decisions.  

Gretchen’s solo “What’s Wrong with Me?” dove into the complexity of wanting to be accepted by your friends and was one of my favorite numbers in the show. Although this is hinted at in the movie, the musical explored Gretchen’s desires and feelings in a deeply intricate way that convinced audience members to sympathize with her.  

On the lighthearted side, Shawn Mathew’s portrayal of mathlete Kevin G. was, by far, my favorite character portrayal of the performance. In the musical, Kevin flaunted more spunk and humor than the original movie character, if that is even possible. His songs “Whose House Is This?” and “Do This Thing” had the audience and me dancing in our seats.  

Although it was not a Wednesday, an incredible number of audience members donned the color pink. Seeing everyone wearing the iconic color featured in the movie filled the atmosphere with unified excitement as we laughed, smiled and enjoyed the performances that made the night especially memorable.

Audience members wearing pink at the “Mean Girls” show in honor of the original movie. (Taylor Lorence)

Deservedly, all cast members were granted a standing ovation by the audience as the show concluded.  

I thoroughly enjoyed “Mean Girls,” and I had a wonderful time getting to watch the musical version of a movie that I have loved for years. The show captured the mature, adult plot points of the original movie, while also throwing in slapstick humor and innocent jokes for younger audience members.   

Broadway in Akron will continue its 2023-2024 season at E.J. Thomas Hall with “The Cher Show,” on Jan. 30-31, 2024, and “Clue” on Apr. 23-25, 2024.  

For more information on Broadway in Akron’s upcoming shows, visit their website at https://www.playhousesquare.org/broadway-in-akron

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About the Contributor
Taylor Lorence, Secretary
Hi, my name is Taylor Lorence. I am a 20-year-old junior at the University of Akron. My major is Public Relations, and my minor is International Business. This is my first semester joining The Buchtelite, and I am so excited! Fun fact: I have been whale watching in 3 different states: Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts.
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