On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink!
PPAC Kicks off their Broadway Series with Mean Girls
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.
PPAC Kicks Off its Broadway Series
Last week, the Providence Performing Arts Center began its first of seven shows in their 2022-2023 Broadway series with Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. This high-energy show is simultaneously exciting and emotional, revealing the musician’s upbringing and abusive relationship with her husband, Ike Turner. Her hit songs are cleverly interwoven within the story, emphasizing the highs and lows of her journey to becoming the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Even though Tina has left PPAC to continue its national tour, there are plenty more musicals to experience in the upcoming months, notably Mean Girls, Beetlejuice, and Six. With the variety of genres and stories in the Broadway Series, theater-goers will have no issue finding a show to interest them.
Tina Fey’s Mean Girls takes the PPAC stage Oct. 4-9. The coming-of-age musical—which is based on the 2004 movie of the same name—follows Cady Heron’s rise to the top of the high school food chain alongside the three most popular girls in school. Full of upbeat pop music, Mean Girls is a hilarious, uplifting show that is perfect for a night out with friends.
For the history buffs, Six tells the tales of Henry VIII’s wives in a modern, inspiring way. Each of the six women get a chance to express their stories in a concert-style show, incorporating both energetic pop numbers with emotional ballads. Between the colorful costumes and empowering characters, audience members are sure to enjoy learning about these legendary women in a brand-new light. The show will be in Providence in April of 2023.
Last but certainly not least, the final show in the Broadway series is Beetlejuice. Based on the 1988 Tim Burton movie of the same name, this musical follows teenager Lydia Deetz as she copes with loss, family, and ghosts. The set and special effects of this show are incredible and surprising; there is something new in every scene. As Beetlejuice himself says in the show, it is “a bold departure from the original source material.” While it has all the creepiness and humor of the movie, it incorporates a much more emotional storyline and sheds light on darker, more serious themes. Viewers will appreciate the depth of the characters and find themselves rooting for each one. This will be the perfect show to send PPAC’s Broadway series out with a bang.
With the wide variety of shows to be found at the Providence Performing Arts Center, it is a great experience for PC students. Whether it’s with a group event, a solo trip, or even a family outing, there is sure to be a show for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, PPAC frequently offers rush tickets, which allow students to get half-priced seats for shows. If you have yet to see a show here, the 2022-2023 Broadway series is the perfect opportunity to visit the theater, and possibly discover a new musical to enjoy.
Dear Providence College
Dear Providence College,
Today is Going to be a Good Day, and Here’s Why…
Grace Whitman ’22
Trigger Warning: This article contains mention of suicide.
Broadway is back, and the Providence Performing Arts Center is up and running with a long list of hit musicals slated to run at the venue this year.
PC students recently had the opportunity to see one of these shows for themselves. On Wednesday, April 6, the Board of Programmers scheduled a trip to PPAC, located in downtown Providence, for a performance of the six-time Tony award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen.
The show follows Evan Hansen, a high schooler with severe anxiety, and his journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance after his classmate Connor Murphy commits suicide. The show does a great job of sharing how social media affects young adults’ mental health, an issue that has become increasingly dire since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national tour of Dear Evan Hansen boasts a cast with impressive resumes. Stephen Christopher Anthony, who plays the titular character, has had a long career on Broadway. He started out as a cast member of the Book of Mormon in New York, performing in the ensemble and as the understudy for Elder McKinley. In 2018, he became the understudy for Evan Hansen. He soon took over the role full-time on the Dear Evan Hansen national tour. Moreover, Stephanie La Rochelle, who plays Zoe Murphy in the show, appeared in the original Canadian production before joining this tour.
In addition to the actors, the show’s set contributes to the magic of Dear Evan Hansen. At the PPAC performance, hanging projection screens of scrolling social media feeds illuminated a bare stage with few set pieces. With much of the show consisting of characters speaking to one another online, this setup made the actors look like holograms coming out of cell phones, creating an uncanny, innovative effect.
For those who were not able to make it to PPAC for Dear Evan Hansen but are yearning to enjoy live theatre after the pandemic, the Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady will be at PPAC from May 11 to May 15. This will be the last show at the theater before the end of PC’s spring semester. However, for those who live in the Providence area or are willing to make the trip, more exciting shows are coming to PPAC later in the year: Jersey Boys on June 2 and 3, Mean Girls from Oct. 4 to Oct. 9, and Les Misérables from Nov. 15 to Nov. 20. Additionally, some shows have already been announced for the spring of 2023, including Jagged Little Pill, Hadestown, and Beetlejuice.
BOP regularly provides discounted PPAC tickets to PC students. Aside from the Dear Evan Hansen trip, they have sponsored outings to shows like Aladdin and The Phantom of the Opera. Notably, however, PPAC also provides student rush tickets. These tickets are available at the Box Office window two hours prior to curtain time and are 50 percent off the regular price with a student ID. Either way, there are sure to be many opportunities for PC students to enjoy live theatre in the near future.