Mean Girls the Musical Tries to Make "Fetch" Happen at the Broward Center

Danielle Wade (Cady Heron, left), Megan Masako Haley (Gretchen Wieners), Mariah Rose Faith (Regina George), and Jonalyn Saxer (Karen Smith) in the national touring company of Mean Girls.EXPAND
Danielle Wade (Cady Heron, left), Megan Masako Haley (Gretchen Wieners), Mariah Rose Faith (Regina George), and Jonalyn Saxer (Karen Smith) in the national touring company of Mean Girls.
Photo by Joan Marcus
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You go, Glen Coco!

The musical adaptation of Mean Girls will prove that she does go here when it lands at the Broward Center Tuesday, March 3, through Sunday, March 15. The Tony-nominated musical is adapted from the 2004 cult classic film written by Tina Fey, who is also the book writer for the musical. If you’ve heard phrases like “On Wednesdays, we wear pink” and “Stop trying to make fetch happen,” you can thank — or blame — Mean Girls.

If you've never seen the movie, don't think you'll be ill-prepared for the musical. The play is a retelling of the plot but filled with comedic songs such as "Stupid With Love" and "Revenge Party."

Mean Girls follows Cady Heron as she tries to make sense of American high school after growing up homeschooled in Africa. Cady befriends Regina George and the Plastics, a group of popular girls who run the school, and dishes on all the queen-bee behavior with her outcast friends Damian and Janice. As Cady becomes closer with the Plastics, she begins to realize high school in the suburbs of Illinois may be more ferocious than what she has seen on the African savanna.

The two-and-a-half-hour Broadway production — with music by Jeff Richmond (Fey's husband) and direction by Casey Nicholaw (Spamalot, The Book of Mormon) — sticks close to the original story line. Mean Girls debuted on Broadway in 2018 and began touring last August. The show is slated to debut in London’s West End in spring 2021. And it was announced in January that Mean Girls the musical is getting its own movie — yep, a movie based on a musical based on a movie. According to Paramount Pictures, the movie musical will see Fey back in the production seat.

Adante Carter (Aaron Samuels) and Danielle Wade (Cady Heron)EXPAND
Adante Carter (Aaron Samuels) and Danielle Wade (Cady Heron)
Photo by Joan Marcus

Producers have tapped internet personality and model Cameron Dallas and Disney Channel actress and singer Sabrina Carpenter for stints in the show's Broadway production. The casting decision was hotly debated in the theater community — some claimed it took jobs from trained theatrical actors. Others, however, defended the move as a smart way to introduce a new audience to the theater. Danielle Wade, who plays Cady Heron in the touring production, is in the latter camp. "If that’s the way we can get different people coming in to see theater," she says, "I'm fine with that."

Wade has played Cady since the musical began its national tour and will be center stage when the production runs in Fort Lauderdale in March. Audience members will be thrown into the musicality the moment the curtain rises. Wade describes Cady's first song, "It Roars," as “like being shot out of a cannon.”

Ultimately, Mean Girls the musical has been able to tiptoe the line between satisfying diehard fans of the movie and appealing to devotees of musical theater.

On Wednesdays, if you see more flashes of pink near the Broward Center, just know: Mean Girls is in town.

Mean Girls. 2, 6:30, and 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, through, Sunday, March 15, at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-522-5334; browardcenter.org. Tickets cost $35 to $115 via ticketmaster.com.

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