Here’s What Critics Are Saying About the 'Mean Girls' Broadway Musical

From grool to “Oh, I wish you wouldn’t.”

Broadway officially welcomed the students of North Shore High when Mean Girls the musical opened to a star-studded crowd that included Saturday Night Live royalty, Diane Sawyer, and Tina Fey, who adapted her own screenplay for the musical. The first reviews for the musical, which stars Erika Henningsen and Taylor Louderman as Cady Heron and Regina George, respectively, are in and in short: Tina Fey is still queen, prepare to sit longer than 97 minutes (the OG movie’s running time), hope you still like pink!

1 ‘The Updates to the Era of Smartphones And Social Media Are Clever and Relevant’

‘Enough of the film’s most memorable lines are retained to give fans what they want (‘Stop trying to make fetch happen!’). But it’s the new gags that freshen the formula, actually improving on the source material’s somewhat soft ending with a more satisfying payoff, while still pushing the broadside against bullying, bitchiness and unhealthy peer pressure. The updates to the era of smartphones and social media are clever and relevant. But the real key to the show’s success is its attention to the secondary characters, both in the writing and in the performances of an appealing cast.’ — The Hollywood Reporter

2 ‘Before You Even Make it Inside the August Wilson Theatre, There’s A 30 Percent Chance You’ll Already Be Laughing’

‘The true joy of Mean Girls, though, stems from the characters surviving in Regina’s orbit, and diehard fans will be delighted to see that Fey & Co. have made sure all of the movie’s greatest hits get their moment on stage — from ‘You go, Glenn Coco!’ to ‘She doesn’t even go here!’ Before you even make it inside the August Wilson Theatre, there’s a 30 percent chance you’ll already be laughing.’ — Entertainment Weekly

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3 ‘Nell Benjamin’s Lyrics Aren’t Half As Clever As Fey’s Off-The-Cuff Wisecracks, But…’

‘Nell Benjamin’s lyrics aren’t half as clever as Fey’s off-the-cuff wisecracks, but they get the job done and are quirky enough to make you listen hard for the good stuff, providing enough payoff lyrics to reward your attention.’ — Variety

4 ‘A Bar-Raiser for Teen Flicks’

‘Vibrant, beautifully sung and visually splendid, this funny charmer – book by Fey, music by Jeff Richmond and lyrics by Nell Benjamin – broadens the original Paramount movie – a bar-raiser for teen flicks – to full musical comedy scale without sacrificing any of the mordancy and compassion that made a superstar of Lindsay Lohan and a generational descriptor of the title.’ — Deadline

5 ‘Best of All, In A Marketplace Filled with Mindless Work About Teens, Here’s One That Doesn’t Insult Their Intelligence — Or Yours’

‘Fey’s script, evoking the best of her contributions to NBC’s 30 Rock, is tailor-made for any adult ear that grooves on mischievous wit, and director-choreographer Casey Nicholaw, a veteran when it comes to Broadway’s impish impulses (The Book of Mormon, Monty Python’s Spamalot), knows exactly how to spin a musical into an orbit fueled by hormones gone haywire… Best of all, in a marketplace filled with mindless work about teens, here’s one that doesn’t insult their intelligence — or yours.’ — The Washington Post

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6 ‘Here’s The Best/Worst Thing You Can Say About Mean Girls: It’s Nice.’

Mean Girls is clear about a lot of stuff. Girls should support each other instead of trying to tear each other down. Girls shouldn’t send nude pics and boys shouldn’t ask for them. Girls should be themselves. Agreed! But just as in Frozen, another portrait of adolescent girls playing just a few streets away, there’s no real sense of who these girls are… Here’s the best/worst thing you can say about Mean Girls: it’s nice.’ — The Guardian

7 ‘Mean Girls Fans Will Have A ‘Fetch’ Night Out at The Broadway Musical’

‘If you loved the movie, if you found it as ‘fetch’ as Plastics sub-lieutenant Gretchen Wieners (here played by Ashley Park) would wish, then you will also love this musical, directed and choreographed with characteristic verve and juiced-up passion by Casey Nicholaw… Mean Girls fans will have a ‘fetch’ night out at the Broadway musical (see Gretchen, you totally made it happen); they also may wish it was a tad shorter and sharper.’ — The Daily Beast

8 ‘…‘Oh, I wish You Wouldn’t.’

‘A rap number, for a party sequence, is embarrassing, and not only because it’s intended to be. By the end, when the feuding students have learned the errors of their divergent ways, high-volume hymns of uplift have taken over. Only an occasional number — like ‘What’s Wrong With Me?,’ a cri de coeur of insecurity, affectingly performed by Ashley Park — offers essential insights into character or truly propels the plot… These songs are why the show weighs in at two and a half hours, as opposed to the movie’s zippy 97 minutes. And often when I sensed that a character was feeling a song coming on, a grumpy voice in me murmured, ‘Oh, I wish you wouldn’t.’’ — The New York Times

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9 ‘The Show’s Most Original Laughs Can Be Attributed to Casey Nicholaw’s Always Sharp Choreography And Direction’

‘Beyond the successful recycling of 14-year-old jokes, the other good news about Fey and Richmond’s first joint Broadway effort is that her characters need to sing. The angst, joy and fear on display are big in a very hormonal teenager kind of way… The show’s most original laughs can be attributed to Casey Nicholaw’s always sharp choreography and direction. He delivers several funny surprises, whether it’s the chorus boys dancing on food trays in the cafeteria or dressing up in drag to fill out the bleachers in the gym when the girls are lectured on their bitchery. And Scott Pask’s deceptively simple set bursts with color and unexpected novelties thanks to Finn Ross and Adam Young’s arresting videos.’ — The Wrap

10 ‘Fey’s Book is Faithful to The Film And, Naturally, Preserves Beloved Lines’

‘Direction by Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, The Book of Mormon), who’s assembled an excellent cast, shines particularly bright. His staging packs style, invention and Red Bull-force energy that showcases the material to the max. Scenic design that makes smart use of video projections gives the show a seamless cinematic flow… Fey’s book is faithful to the film and, naturally, preserves beloved lines — like ‘fetch’ and ‘On Wednesday we wear pink.’ But she’s added fresh jokes and updates for the social media age as 16-year-old Cady (an appealing Erika Henningsen) goes from Africa (there’s a sly nod to “The Lion King”) to a Chicago high school.’ — New York Daily News

11 ‘It All Goes by in A Flash’

‘It all goes by in a flash — that’s true of much of Mean Girls; don’t look away or you’ll miss something — but it’s both a delicious musical in-joke and a clever means of setting up the show’s central metaphor: high school as ferocious food chain… It’s not shocking that Mean Girls is a fast-paced fancy funtime, but it’s a real treat to find that it’s still witty, worldly, and wise.’ — Vulture

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan US

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