High school is a jungle and everyone has to find their place on the food chain. Tina Fey memorably took her own swipe at teenage viciousness in 2004 in “Mean Girls” (totally would have lost that bet if someone would have told me that movie was almost 20 years old).
Now, as per usual, the time has come to make a musical version, and while the movie-turned-musical success rate is painfully low, “Mean Girls,” now playing at the Fox Theatre through Feb. 27, makes the transition comfortably in above-average fashion.
Fey’s influence remains intact, as she also wrote the book for the musical, as we follow the exploits of Cady Herron (Danielle Wade), a homeschool student who suddenly finds herself having to navigate the social perils of a public high school.
Cady spent her formative years in Africa with her biologist parents, so to her, entering high school in suburban Illinois is like stepping onto an alien planet.
Fortunately for Cady, she is taken under the wing of social misfits Janis (Mary Kate Morrissey) and Damian (Eric Huffman) who explain to her the school’s social pecking order.
Things get interesting when Cady catches the attention of the alpha clique, known around the school as “The Plastics.” They are led by cruel queen bee Regina George (Nadina Hassan) and include her gossip-fueled sycophant Gretchen Wieners (Olivia Renteria) and the less-than-intelligent Karen Smith (Jonalyn Saxer).
With encouragement from Janis and Damian, Cady joins The Plastics as a goof but then winds up wrecking social havoc of her own.
“Mean Girls” has plenty of laughs and plenty to relate to as being a teenager trying to figure out where you fit in the world is as universal as it gets.
The songs are enjoyable, although there are about three or four too many. It seems like a lot of shows fresh from Broadway like to err on the side of quantity over quality when it comes to the musical numbers.
The cast is enjoyable, reveling in their teenaged archetypes (Saxer is a standout as the ditsy Karen, getting laughs and throwing a little subversion into the “dumb blonde” stereotype).
“Mean Girls” is a fun and frivolous romp through the treacherous halls of high school. It may not change your life, but it’s certainly better than detention.
“Mean Girls” is now playing at the Fox Theatre through Feb. 27. For tickets call (314)-534-1111 or go to metrotix.com.