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Hitting Calgary like a bus, Mean Girls is here

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, January 21 2024—

Broadway Across Canada presents Mean Girls, the musical theatre production of the eponymous film from 2004 that showcases the epic highs and lows of being a teenager. The story written by Tina Fey will be running from January 16–21, and you can catch a show at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium. As someone who has only seen the movie, it was a fun, exciting version with some characters such as Janis and Damian getting more development. The production follows the plotline of the movie closely with some updates to the story such as skinny jeans and cell phones — of course, social media also pops up. 

We are introduced to the main crew right away: Janis (Alexys Morera) and Damian (Ethan Jih-Cook), who set the musical with a warning to the audience that it’s a cautionary tale followed by Cady (Natalie Shaw) leaving her life in Kenya. Morera is on her debut tour and she has made the role hers with strong vocals that carried emotion. Jih-Cook demonstrated a lot of talent switching from singing and dancing to a surprising amount of tap dancing. Shaw was a great fit for the role, keeping the innocence at the beginning as she transformed into one of the Plastics. 

Talking about the Plastics — in a major difference between the musical and the original film, they stand out more as the main characters. There is a really fun and insightful introduction with “Meet the Plastics” for Regina (Maya Petropoulos), Gretchen (Kristen Amanda Smith) and Karen (Maryrose Brendel). Petropoulos carried herself on stage as the apex predator of high school would, but unfortunately, she was out-staged at moments by her two friends. Whether it was getting used to the venue or the sound mixing failed her, Petropoulos stood out more and wowed the crowd with her vocals later on in the musical. Smith embodied the anxiety and people-pleaser that Gretchen is, especially with “What’s Wrong With Me?” Brendel had the look, the voice and the acting, receiving laughter and applause from the audience. Other notable parts included Kevin G (Shawn Matthews) with his music persona and Ms. Norbury (Kristen Seggio) emulating Tina Fey.

The difficulties of navigating high school and the funny phrases used as memes for years are still present for fans of the movie. With the updated version, the song “Stop” warns teens of going too far and trying too hard to impress others or when pursuing people. Looking back at high school, this song really shows teenagers that it’s never that serious. The staging was dynamic compared to many other productions as they moved from class to class, from school to home and the mall — obviously. 

For fans of musicals and Mean Girls, this is a cannot-miss show. It’s packed with comedy, real-life lessons and good songs. To buy tickets or find out more about other productions offered by Broadway Across Canada, visit their website.

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