‘Mean Girls: The Musical’ enters final week at Kennedy Center for ‘fetch’ musical adaptation

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes 'Mean Girls' at Kennedy Center (Part 1)

In 2004, Tina Fey wrote the screenplay for the beloved coming-of-age flick “Mean Girls.”

In 2017, she adapted it into a stage musical that premiered at National Theatre in D.C., winning a Helen Hayes Award before earning 12 Tony Award nominations on Broadway.

“Mean Girls: The Musical” returns to the nation’s capital at the Kennedy Center now through Sunday (April 24), meaning you have just one week left to see this “fetch” show.

“It’s a full-circle moment,” actor Danielle Wade told WTOP. “We started at the National and moved to New York. I actually joined the Broadway company in New York and then we took the show on the road on tour. It’s pretty cool that where it all began is where we get to tell this story again — and a new version because it has changed a little over time.”

Wade plays Cady Heron, who moves from Africa to Chicago to navigate high school.

“The really cool thing about being Cady is that, at some point, everybody in their life has felt like her,” Wade said. “She starts out just wanting people to like her, then ultimately finds by the end of the show that it’s OK, that you can be loved in different ways and accepted by just being yourself, rather than forcing yourself to fit in or wear certain things.”

Along the way, you’ll enjoy meeting her various high-school cliques.

“She meets the two people we affectionately call the Art Freaks, Damian and Janis. They’re her two little guides,” Wade said. “Then she meets The Plastics, who are the Mean Girls, the titular characters who are exactly that — they’re mean. She wants to befriend them, wants to become them, wants them to become nice. It’s just an eventful 2 1/2 hours.”

Fey’s comedy script is complemented by a catchy songbook with music by Jeff Richmond (“The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) and lyrics by Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”).

“‘It Roars’ is the opening number, a huge group number,” Wade said. “There’s a great song called ‘World Burn’ at the end of the show. Regina sings that after she figures out what’s happened to her the whole time. … There’s also ‘I’d Rather Be Me’ that Janis sings that’s a showstopper. … ‘Here’s all the things that I am and I’m happy that I’m this.'”

It’s all visually brought to life by director Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”).

“The set is really cool,” Wade said. “The stage is entirely LEDs. Everything is done by projections and lights. It is bright and colorful and pink. … You are transported where half of the stage is a pool party and half is a bedroom. … It’s really fascinating the way we bring technology into the story to bring it into our time now rather than 15 years ago.”

You better hurry and grab tickets soon. The show leaves town in a week.

“I hope you guys all come see ‘Mean Girls,'” Wade said. “It is really a good time and we would love to have you there. We are so excited to be on stage and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley salutes 'Mean Girls' at Kennedy Center (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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