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One of the many incredible performances currently showing at the Kennedy Center is Mean Girls: The Musical. Written by Tina Fey and based off of the film released in 2004, this musical is a walk down memory lane for everyone young and old who fell in love with the original film.

About the Show

The show ran through April 24th at the Kennedy Center, and featured several incredible actresses including Danielle Wade (Cady Heron), Megan Masako Haley (Gretchen Wieners), Nadina Hassan (Regina George), and Jonalyn Saxer (Karen Smith). The set is mobile and interactive as many of the backdrops are displayed through a screen, which is a fun addition to the scenery.

The show itself runs two hours and thirty minutes, and closely follows the plot of the movie with just a few changes. The story is told through the characters Janis and Damian, delivering a “Cautionary Tale” of what happened with Cady, the new student from Africa. Through groundbreaking anthems and fun dance numbers, the show consistently holds the audience’s attention- there is never a dull moment!

The Modern Lens

The writers have adapted the story to be a bit more current, working in social media as a plot device, and mentioning names that audiences (especially D.C. audiences) can recognize like Steve Kornacki. The story does follow the theme throughout the movie of mingling scenes of teenage girls with wild animals in Africa, however also incorporates different aspects of feminist theory to continue to keep the content more up-to-date.

An example of this was with the character Karen Smith. Karen was originally written as the “dumb blonde” character, a trope that in 2022 is worth questioning. In the musical however, Karen becomes a point of introspection for how women are treated and taken advantage of for their sexuality. Karen’s main song, “Sexy”, preaches the message that Halloween is her favorite holiday because she can be anything that she wants to be on Halloween, as long as she stays sexy. One of the lyrics that trended on Tik Tok for a while when the musical was first released was, “This is modern feminism talking/I expect to run the world in shoes I cannot walk in”, which furthers this message that she can do anything she wants, or be anything she wants, but she needs to be sexy in order to be perceived in a positive way at all.

Mean Girls: The Musical is one of the most fantastic, funny and exciting shows to date, and the plot holds a soft spot in everyone’s heart as we all grew up with the understanding that on Wednesdays, we wear pink! If you have time, it’s worth it to catch one last performance of the musical at the Kennedy Center, or watch it on film once Paramount Pictures finishes their adaptation!

Hannah is a senior at American University. She's studying political science with a focus on race and gender in politics. She loves writing and baking, and can typically be found with a large iced coffee and a pair of knitting needles.
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