Mean Girls Musical Cast is Giving a Whole New Definition on What It Means to be a Strong Woman

One of the characteristics that perfectly encapsulates what the women in the 2004 movie Mean Girls stand for is Strength. Strength is what made an outsider like Cady Heron to rise from the bottom all the way to the top; it was also strength that made Janis Ian stand her ground against the mainstream. The same thing can be said about Gretchen Wieners who was able to find the strength to deal with her friends’ betrayal. Even Regina George who tried to hang on to her status had to rely on strength.

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It is the same strength that is showcased in the Broadway musical adaptation of Mean Girls. The adaptation which flagged off in 2018, still brings the originality of the 2004 hit to its new audience. Teen Vogue spoke to the cast of the musical to celebrate International Women’s Day and history of women’s month. The cast spoke of how the musical presents a chance to witness young female characters engage in individual battles as they were in the movie, but with a bit of extra present-day context.

“The female empowerment movement in recent times have played a prominent role in helping us showcase this show on another level,” said Erika Henningsen who plays the role of Cady in the Broadway musical. “Women all over the world are looking for what gives them inspiration. People can often misinterpret the message that we try to pass with Mean Girls, citing the fact that it is a teen movie adaptation, but on a bigger scale, the creator Tina Fey created five fully fledged young women who along with their flaws, are vulnerable, funny, and strong.”

The musical piece takes the same storyline as the movie, but there are a couple of changes along the way. The audience will be thrilled with iconic lines from the movie such as “You go, Glenn Coco!” The cast all agree that the musical gives them an avenue to explore new grounds.

The role of Karen puts things into perspective. In the musical, she has lots of screen time to show her wit and smartness. She is even considered a feminist hero. For me, the musical Karen is really different from the movie. Tina wrote her well, and really highlights her strength in the musical,” says Kate. “Karen has lots of quality moments, and when you think she isn’t paying attention, she actually is, and she is absorbing everything in. Karen’s strength comes from accepting her weaknesses and strength, without the need to apologize or change them.”

The cast is grateful to Mean Girls, and the opportunity they have to play dynamic roles of women who are not the usual stock characters or just there to be in the shadows of male characters.

“I’ve attended a few musicals these past months, and I have been completely surprised with how modern day writers have poorly written female leads,” says Erika. “Firstly, there is the female lead that is just there to accentuate the male lead, or she might just be there to ask the male lead a couple of questions pertaining to his actions, desires, or wants. Whenever I see such a script, I just feel like she is just a placeholder, and a means to facilitate the male lead story.”

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