Mean Girls: The Musical - For Nerds, By Nerds

Duana Posted by Duana at March 22, 2017 16:43:15 March 22, 2017 16:43:15

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Tina Fey is a choir nerd.

It’s most clear to me from intense readings of Bossypants - she mentions that she was in audition-only choirs and it was a big deal, in a way that is clearly joking-but-not-joking. You get the impression that even though she’s an extremely successful writer and actress with a deeply enviable show business career, that she might be just as proud of her choir cred.

I do not blame her. I feel the same way.

But, until recently, there’s been nowhere to put that particular brand of nerdism.  Pitch Perfect was about subjugating AND embracing the nerdiness of nerds, true—but even then, there were pop songs involved. Then came the rise of the musical, which never really left, but which has really gained mainstream popularity. (The Great White Way may strike me down, but part of the enthusiasm, I think, is due to Glee.) 

Which is why, some 13 years after the movie was released, the Mean Girls musical is officially a thing.  

This is a big deal. Fey writes the book—that is, the script—and her husband Jeff Richmond the music, but there’s also a lyricist involved, who’s worked on Legally Blonde: The Musical among others. Oh, and Lorne Michaels is producing.

This? Is promising.

There are big names involved, though no cast has been announced. It’s a barely 5-week run. A tryout. Cue everything you learned from Smash, which might be about due for a rewatch. There’s no guarantee this is going to head to Broadway…

…but who are we kidding, demand is huge and it’s going to Broadway. And I cannot wait.

I also cannot wait to see how they make this new. It’s an underappreciated truth that musical theatre is really witty. It has to be, to undercut the intrinsic ridiculousness of singing & dancing. Yes, we know it’s ridiculous sometimes, okay?

But the particular challenge for this show, which has been memed and quoted and read-along ad nauseum, is to find new jokes in the existing material. For example, I don’t want to see a musical number called “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.” That reference is DONE and I think Fey and Richmond and their team probably know that. I would, on the other hand, accept a touching ballad about Kalteen Bars and how the weight of them is like the weight of being Queen that Regina must shoulder.

Lastly, of course, is the question of whether Tina Fey is going to put herself in this show. I really waver here. The woman IS A CHOIR NERD. And a role that she already played will assumedly be on offer. BUT she knows she’s nobody’s Broadway star, and you know what she likes more than singing? Success.

BUT then again you could work around that by just not giving the Ms. Norbury character any big songs, therefore giving Tina Fey her Broadway debut (maybe, possibly) as a performer as well as a writer/creator. But is that distracting or fulfilling, for fans? Obviously I want her to show her work… but which, at what times?

Photos:
Noam Galai/ Getty Images

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