A review round-up for Mean Girls The Musical at the August Wilson Theatre, Broadway.

The highly anticipated musical adaptation of Tina Fey’s hit 2004 comedy film starring Lindsay Lohan has opened to glowing reviews on Broadway.  

Brought to the stage by an award winning creative team, director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, Dreamgirls, The Book of Mormon), costumes by Greg Barnes,   composed by Jeff Richmond (30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyrics by  Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and book by Fey, Mean Girls is a ferociously funny new musical.

Fan will be pleased to hear, the musical is a faithful adaptation of the film, with the inclusion of social media, the show remains true to the themes of anti-bully, female empowerment and self acceptance.

Erika Henningsen (Bad Girls, Wide Awake) plays naïve newbie Cady Heron, with Taylor Louderman, Ashley Park and Karen Smith ruthlessly playing The Plastics – Regina George, Gretchen Wieners and  Kate Rockwell.

The big question is, Is Mean Girls mean enough? 

Mean Girls The Musical is booking until 31 December at the August Wilson Theatre, New York, Broadway.

Read a round-up of reviews below.

New York Times

”Mean Girls’ Sets the Perils of Being Popular to Song.

The creator of the dearly departed television series “30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live” alumna, sometime movie star and best-selling essayist, Ms. Fey has one of the most appealing satirical sensibilities on offer. Her wit is both caustic and polite, stinging and soothing at once, though it’s the sharpness that lingers afterward.

The show itself suffers from a similar indecisiveness, especially in its structure. It employs two separate, fitfully used framing perspectives — that of Damian and Janis as droll narrators and commentators on the action, and of Cady, who grew up in the wilds of Kenya, and sometimes observes her fellow students as if they were zoological specimens. At some point, a choice between these two should have been made.”

Ben Brantley, New York Times

The Guardian, ★★★

“Tina Fey’s comedy hits Broadway with a soft landing.

The stage adaptation of the hit teen film is a jubilant watch but the songs aren’t quite as catchy as they should be and there’s a mean streak missing.

Mean Girls is fine. Mean Girls is fun. The songs, by Fey’s husband Jeff Richmond and lyricist Nell Benjamin, are catchy enough, the book is reasonably witty, the staging, by Casey Nicholaw, sufficiently fluid. The anti-bullying message is straightforward enough (maybe too straightforward, the show says it twice): “Calling someone ugly doesn’t make you better looking. Calling someone stupid won’t make you any smarter. But – no offense, OK? – Mean Girls is basic.”

Mean Girls is peppy. It’s rarely more than that.

Mean Girls is clear about a lot of stuff. Girls should support each other instead of trying to tear each other down. Girls shouldn’t send nude pics and boys shouldn’t ask for them. Girls should be themselves. Agreed! But just as in Frozen, another portrait of adolescent girls playing just a few streets away, there’s no real sense of who these girls are. They’re rarely more than stereotype. The boys, too. (Dear Evan Hansen it isn’t.) That doesn’t make the sprightly show a failure or a flop or a swing and a miss, but it’s no hit either.”

Here’s the best/worst thing you can say about Mean Girls: it’s nice.”

Alexis Soloski, The Guardian

The Telegraph, ★★★★

“A surprisingly kind Mean Girls musical is even funnier than the film.

Peppy, mischievous but far from mean-spirited. It feels familiar yet fresh, thanks in part to the way it’s been smartly re-conceived for the stage by director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw, and it’s even funnier than the original.

Mean Girls now and again pushes the boundaries of taste – with jokes about teenage sex and underage drinking, for example – which doesn’t make it the most family-friendly of shows. But it also carries spirit of female empowerment in songs such as Fearless, I’d Rather Be Me and finale I See Stars, as well as in its insistence that women need to support and not belittle each other.

Some audiences may long for a show that packs more emotional punch than comedic bite. But light and frothy though it is, Mean Girls has a kind heart, and there’s always room for another feel-good musical on Broadway.”

Diane Snyder , The Telegraph

Variety

”Tina Fey’s catty book and Nell Benjamin’s saucy lyrics pump laughs into this smart, funny, musical-comedy version of the 2004 movie.

The stage swirls with non-stop traffic, if not perfectly executed dance movement. And Gregg Barnes’s costumes come in vividly clashing colors. The staging is actually too busy, too colorful, too loud, as if Nicholaw doesn’t want us to notice that not much of interest is happening.

Nell Benjamin’s lyrics aren’t half as clever as Fey’s off-the-cuff wisecracks, but they get the job done and are quirky enough to make you listen hard for the good stuff, providing enough payoff lyrics to reward your attention.

Despite Cady’s fine mind and Henningsen’s quick wit, good girls aren’t half as much fun as bad girls. So, Regina (and Louderman) wins this competition – no matter what the book says.”

Marilyn Stasio, Variety

The Hollywood Reporter

“Director-choreographer Nicholaw infuses the production with his customary playful energy, and his dance moves have an almost awkwardly explosive quality that seems organic to the teenage characters. Even the splashy ensemble numbers, two of which make memorable use of cafeteria trays, suggest a nervous burst of hormonally charged adolescence that makes Mean Girls sing.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

Time Out, ★★★★

“A canny crossbreed of Heathers and Hairspray, the musical has been adapted by Tina Fey from her own 2004 cult movie, and updated to reflect the new realities of smartphones and social media. Fey is one of the sharpest comic writers in America, and the show remains, in some sense, her vehicle: an auto de Fey, burning with bookish anger at the limits young women place on each other and themselves. (Her film role as a pushy calculus teacher is amusingly evoked by Kerry Butler, who also plays the other adult women.)

Where Mean Girls glows most is in the spotlight it shines on its cast. Taylor Louderman is sensational as the blackhearted Regina, fearsome leader of the queen-beeyatch trio known as the Plastics.

Mean Girls’s gospel of female self-actualization is borne out in the platform it provides for some of the most exciting young performers in musical theater. They bring a lot to the cafeteria table.”

Adam Feldman, Time Out