Did you know that the popular teenage chick-flick Mean Girls is now also a musical? Mean Girls: The Musical is currently on tour and hit the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) during the first week of October. The musical was written by a creative team who have collectively worked on Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, and Legally Blonde, as well as comedian, actress, and writer, Tina Fey, who played Ms. Norbury in the cinematic version.
For those who aren’t familiar with Mean Girls, it is a story about a teenage girl, Cady Heron, who grew up homeschooled by her zoologist parents in the African savanna and is now facing the most daunting moment of her life: American high school. At North Shore High, Cady quickly befriends outcast artists Janis and Damian, and secretly plots to take down “the Plastics,” an exclusive trio of it-girls. The Plastics consists of control freak and narcissist Regina George, her self-conscious side-kick Gretchen Weiners, and Karen Smith, the definition of “air-head.” As Cady becomes more successful at destroying the Plastics from within, she quickly loses sight of herself, and even loses the boy she’s pining for, Aaron Samuels, Regina’s ex-boyfriend. The ultimate question is: can Cady fix the mess she’s made and redeem herself? It’s truly a wild tale that features pink outfits, math geeks, Halloween costumes, and iconic lines, including “On Wednesdays we wear pink” and “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”
Mean Girls: The Musical was unique with its diverse cast, which consisted of five out of the seven previously white leads cast as people of color. The musical was, in fact, hilarious. Morgan Ashley Bryant, the actress who played Karen, stole the show with her light-hearted voice and humorous lines. During the Halloween party, the entire house laughed at Karen’s opening song, and further at the ensemble members wearing Yoda and baby shark costumes. Perhaps the funniest moment, however, was when an actor in a full lion mascot costume took the stage. The lion began juggling his stomach to demonstrate how Shane Owen and Regina George have sex once a week inside the mascot costume. Overall, the show had many memorable moments that made it worth watching. My only critique would be the music. While the actors and actresses had amazing voices, some of the song lyrics were a bit silly, and not in a good way. At points, it felt like the characters were narrating obscure events like “picking up a pencil.” The lyrics could have been more thought out.
Mean Girls isn’t the only Broadway show coming to Providence; PPAC features the Taco/White Family Foundation “Broadway Series,” which consists of many favorite Broadway shows. PPAC will feature Tootsie from Oct. 25-30, Jagged Little Pill from January 17-23, Hadestown from March 21-26, Six from April 11-23, and Beetlejuice from April 25-30. In addition to this series, PPAC also has an Encore Series, featuring Les Miserables from Nov. 15-20, Annie from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5, and Come From Away from Feb. 21-26.
Now, the wonderful thing about PPAC is that there are a few tips that can help you see
your favorite show for a fraction of the price! The theater does rush tickets, which students,
military personnel, and seniors can purchase for 50 percent off two hours before showtime. Rush tickets are limited to two tickets per person and are not always guaranteed. Providence Coal Fired Pizza, among other restaurants, have dine-in deals, where if you eat at their restaurant, you can use a special promo code to earn 30 percent off your next PPAC ticket purchase. And, of course, you could always win free tickets by calling the local radio station during giveaway hours. However, when you wind up the eighth caller instead of the lucky tenth, definitely checkout the PPAC Facebook page and grab those student rush tickets.