After five years of intermittent teasing from Tina Fey, Mean Girls has been given the musical theatre treatment and reached the Broadway stage. The show, now in previews, officially opens April 8 at the August Wilson Theatre.
Fey, who appeared in and wrote the 2004 comedy, makes her Broadway debut penning the book, collaborating with husband and composer Jeff Richmond and lyricist Nell Benjamin.
"I would feel bad, because I would do a junket for a TV show or something, and I would be like, 'We're working it!' Which was always true, but I knew it was too soon to be saying it. But I couldn't not answer the question," Fey tells Playbill in the video above, realizing how eagerly fans have been clinging to every morsel she's shared along the way. "But we are finally here."
The cast, consisting primarily of young actors in their 20s and early 30s, is just as eager as the diehard fans—and the two are not mutually exclusive. "This is a huge part of my childhood, and I love this movie so much," says Kate Rockwell, who plays the not-always-there Karen Smith. "Getting to be a part of this and getting to bring it to my home—the Broadway community—is a real honor.
Ashley Park, who plays fellow Plastic Gretchen Wieners, borrowed her character's attempted catchphrase to describe the opportunity: "Any time you get to originate a role in a Broadway musical, especially a big Broadway musical, is so—fetch." And, no, that was far from the first time the word came up: "I have to stop now."
Tony winner Casey Nicholaw takes the helm, and he along with the trio of writers encourage the company to celebrate what made the film so great without relying on the screen performances to dictate their portrayals. "We were never forced to be like, 'Can you do what Lindsay Lohan did in the movie?' explains Erika Henningsen, who follows in Lohan's footsteps to play newcomer Cady Heron. "That was never even on the table. "It was, 'What do you, Erika, want to bring fresh to this?'"
It's a challenge that doesn't escape Fey, who admits to waiting for the day her name would appear in a Playbill: "These guys have to do everything the movie actors do, and a thousand things more. And they have to do it repeatedly. And they have to hit it the same every night.