Mean Girls in Shea’s – Cast Delivers a Flashy and Memorable Performance
Mean Girls is the very definition of a cult-status classic! The ingenious 2004 film written by Tina Fey took the film industry and teenagers all around the world by storm. As if this was not enough, the movie was adapted into a Broadway musical. Interestingly, Fey was somehow able to sustain the same X-factor that made Lindsey Lohan every teenage girl’s icon.
Tina Fey brought her clique of mean ‘plastics’ to Buffalo as the musical’s national tour launched at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on September 21, through September 27 for 8 shows. And just like the film or life in the wild (for which Fey uses as a depiction of high school), the performance in Colombus had its good, bad, and ugly moments.
Good news first! As you can guess, the performance was ‘fetch’ – though we couldn’t expect any less from the hysterical mind of Fey and the super talented cast that brought the screenplay to life. Danielle Wade (Cady Heron) earns her role as the lead with strong vocals and the perfect depiction of an awkward-girl-gone-mean.
Jonalyn Saxer (Karen Smith) owns the stage with her bland dumbness – so much as to rival the OG Karen Smith from the film. Mariah Rose Faith (Regina George) leads the pack of plastic like a real-life Cruella Deville. Other notable performances include Adante Carter (Aaron Samuels), Gaelen Gilliland (Cady’s mom, Mrs. Norbury, and Cady’s down-to-earth math teacher), and Eric Huffman (Damien Hubbard) who is a welcomed diversion from the female-dominated cast.
Although it’s hard to brand the musical as a masterpiece worthy of an academy, it was outright fun. Brace yourself for a few crack ribs, messed up mascara, and shortness of breath – not because Regina George and her gang of plastics jumped you, but due to the humorous performance. The show also goes a step further by forging its own identity – this alone earns the musical an applause, judging from the legendary status of the film.
Credits to Casey Nicholaw (Director/Choreographer) for incorporating his signature energetic dances and synchronized hand gestures, Gregg Barnes (Tony-Award winning costume designer), Adam Young & Finn Ross (Video designs), and Scott Pask (Scenic design).
Now to the bad and ugly side the performance at Shea’s. The score was weak! There’s no easier way to put it. In particular, the scores of Nell Benjamin and Jeff Richmond made you cringe similar to a guy listening to “Call me maybe” for the hundredth time. Again, the blame might be directed to Shea’s.
You had to empty your mind, cancel all irrelevant noises, and focus on the score (like a laser-focus predator) to really muster anything – NB: that’s a little exaggerated. All in all, Mean Girls is an enjoyable musical worthy of your hard-earned ticket money. The Buffalo audience was positive about the honed production, and we should expect the same as they tour the country.