When I first heard of a musical adaptation of Mean Girls was in the works, I was hesitant. The original 2004 movie is a staple in my teenage-hood. It was a film I watched when I was, perhaps, a bit too young to watch it, but you can’t deny how much of an impact the film had on teen movies, (putting the shitty sequel aside). But after I watched the Broadway cast’s performance on the Today Show, I just could not get enough. At that point, only two songs had been released and I was counting down the days until the entire album was released. In celebration of how bloody brilliant it is (regardless of winning 0 Tonys), I give you my top five favourite songs from the Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin’s excellent score (in chronological order of how they appear on the album).
Meet The Plastics
A brilliant introduction to The Plastics; Karen Smith, Gretchen Weiners and the queen bee herself Regina George. Richmond and Benjamin weave some of the movie’s iconic lines into the lyrics while ensuring The Plastics make their mark on the album like they do in Northshore High’s cafeteria. While Gretchen and Karen’s entrances are very light and preppy, as soon as Regina starts singing, she’s backed up by a slow tempo until a rough drum beat and slick electric guitar come into play, demanding your attention. Bit like The Plastics themselves.
This song was one of the early release singles before the album came out. The cast performed this song on the Today Show as well, which was my first exposure to the show. This song takes place when the Plastics taking Cady shopping at the mall, at the same time Janis is warning Cady that Regina may not be as nice as she makes out to be. I really like that the song echoes on Cady’s experience with animals while living in Africa and applies the same element to a modern day high school.
Condensing an iconic montage into a (just under) four minute song and making it good is quite the achievement. Across the song Janis, Damian and Cady announce their plans on how to hit Regina George in her weak spots and take her down. I love how the party feel of the song mirrors the revenge party Janis, Damian and Cady are having between themselves to the setting of the Halloween party that’s at the beginning of the song.
Damian opening act 2 with a tap number? It’s already iconic. Having shown what he can do as Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon, it’s a no brainer for the creative team to give Grey Henson his own show stopper. As soon as I listened to this song, I know it was going to be a firm favourite. What I really love about the score is that each character seems to have their own motif. For example, Regina’s is light and sweet until she’s pissed off and the motif turns dark like thunder. Janis’ feels inspired by classic rock. And Damian’s seems to be inspired by very old Broadway musicals which the other characters don’t have. With jazzy pianos and a swing section occurring in this song as well as track 3 Where Do You Belong?, I love that this implies Damian is quite an old soul, given he gives Cady advice in both songs. But Stop really shows off Grey Henson’s vocals as well as brings some of the ensemble members to the forefront. Plus, I’m a huge sucker for a good tap number.
The highlight of the cast album for me. At this point in the show, Regina George has snapped and she is coming for blood. Not only is this superbly written, but Taylor Louderman’s vocals are insane. The first time I heard this song, I got goosebumps. Filled with vengeance, power and a continuous shredding of an electric guitar, this song actually makes me feel so powerful when I listen to it walking down the street. Some of the lyrics make you want to throw your fists in the air and scream in rage. And it’s such a turning point in the story because we can see how Regina fully reacts when everything she has built is taken away from her. We can see an inkling of this in track 7 Someone Gets Hurt, but it’s not until World Burn where the revenge table is turn and Regina is ready to take Cady Heron to war.
I hope you enjoyed this. I truly can’t wait for the day I get to see this iconic movie’s musical adaptation. Currently playing to packed houses on Broadway, you can find tickets and more information at https://meangirlsonbroadway.com/ I can’t wait to see this show in London one day.
Until next time,