NYU DC: See Mean Girls The Musical While You Still Can

Those in New York are going to have to wait a bit…

Image via the author

Until December 3rd, the National Theatre in Washington D.C. is running a trial run of the new Mean Girls musical. This lucky blogger got a chance to see it this weekend and let me say: it is great! The plot sticks close to the movie, most of your favorite lines make an appearance, although multiple characters have their stories expanded which allows for better character development. However, there is one major difference: the show is set in 2017, meaning social media plays a role, albeit not a huge one, but it is certainly something that is always in the background of this version.

Tina Fey wrote the book herself and the music was done by her husband Jeff Richmond (a composer who has written all of the background music for 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, among others). Nell Benjamin of Legally Blonde fame wrote the lyrics and direction and choreography was done by Casey Nicholaw. The songs have a poppy, contemporary feel and the choreography was especially impressive. One aspect of the show that had no right to work as well as it did were the giant LED screens that served as the backdrop; I was wary of them at first, but they brought an element to the show that couldn’t have been replicated by anything else.

LED screen before the show. Image via the author.
LED screen at intermission. Image via the author.

The musical is also much better at displaying Fey’s original message of “Teenage girls are not in a competition and society is harming them by making them think they are.” The cast themselves believe this is because Fey has had two daughters, one of whom is 12, so the message might hit a little closer to home. One could argue that Fey’s experience of writing two strong female protagonists (Liz Lemon & Kimmy Schmidt) has given her a better range as a writer. However, I think a major part of it is how society has viewed the movie. Over the years, we’ve started to ignore the message in favor of making the movie one giant meme. The musical is clearly trying to correct this and we’ll see if the message takes this time around.

So all of you down at the DC campus (or those of you going home to DC for Thanksgiving) see it while you still can. Don’t worry New Yorkers, you’ll get your turn soon…at a much steeper price. The two tickets I bought combined in DC are half the price of one in New York (and this is just the nosebleeds). Previews begin March 12, 2018 at the August Wilson Theater before the show officially opens April 8, 2018 (almost exactly 14 years since the movie was released).