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BWW Exclusive: Catherine Brunell Opens Up About Returning to MEAN GIRLS for NBC's ONE NIGHT ONLY Special

The special was filmed last month in the streets of NYC.

On Thursday night, December 10, Broadway fans will have a new reason to rejoice. That's because NBC is celebrating the holidays with a special tribute to Broadway with a two-hour special- One Night Only: The Best of Broadway.

Hosted by Tony nominee and Mean Girls creator Tina Fey, the special is set to feature appearances by the casts of Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations, Chicago, Jagged Little Pill, Diana: The Musical, Jersey Boys, Rent, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and of course, Mean Girls, as well as sneak peaks at Broadway shows coming in 2021.

Catherine Brunell, who plays Ms. Norbury in Mean Girls, was one of the Broadway vets who reunited with many of her castmates for the first time in months, taking to the streets of NYC to film the special. She's telling us all about the very special experience below!

BWW Exclusive: Catherine Brunell Opens Up About Returning to MEAN GIRLS for NBC's ONE NIGHT ONLY SpecialWritten by Catherine Brunell

I felt it. That feeling again. You know the one. It's the one you feel when your agent calls to say "you booked it". There is nothing quite like it; your heart pounds, your stomach flips. You feel alive. For that intoxicating feeling, show business is all worth it. It's the drug that keeps you hangin' on...and oh my god, did I need a hit of it.

I got the offer on an especially monotonous "will-this-pandemic-ever-end" day (homeschooling is no joke, my friends). After 8+ months of no Broadway at all, Mean Girls was coming back - for "One Night Only", an NBC special honoring Broadway, hosted by our beloved writer and OG Ms. Norbury, Tina Fey. They asked me to play Ms. Norbury, a role I left at the August Wilson Theatre on the day of the shutdown. Folks, I was being asked to be someplace. Like, leave my house, put on deodorant and decipher what pants I would put on, be someplace! That prospect was absolutely thrilling, and I couldn't remember a better offer in my life.

Our adventure began unlike any other job I have had - a safety protocol training for NBC followed by a trip to Kauffman Studios in Queens for Covid testing. My dear friend and Mean Girls Resident Director, Casey Hushion and I made an adventure out of it, gleefully leaving our husbands and kids at home and venturing to Queens with Usher's "Yeah" as our anthem. As we walked up to the socially distanced line outside the studio, suddenly the masked faces of our Mean Girls team lit up the sidewalk...MacInnis and Curtis, Drew and Jake, Darius and Joby, Andre and MJ. Airhugs galore and hearts full of gratitude, we knew that this "One Night Only" gig was different from any other performance of which we had ever been a part.

BWW Exclusive: Catherine Brunell Opens Up About Returning to MEAN GIRLS for NBC's ONE NIGHT ONLY Special

We spent Saturday afternoon and much of Sunday in a conference room at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, brushing up choreography and staging. Now mind you, it had been over eight months since we had even touched these scenes and songs and yet, everyone was stretched, warmed up, and ready for showtime. Broadway performers are not to be messed with - you give them a job and they will give you full beat and FULL OUT! What struck me most that day was that it was as if no time had passed - Mary Mitchell still had bionic ears, Casey's direction was still spot on, Terri's attention to costume detail was still uncanny, and Holly's ability to lead all departments was still miraculous.

BWW Exclusive: Catherine Brunell Opens Up About Returning to MEAN GIRLS for NBC's ONE NIGHT ONLY Special

BWW Exclusive: Catherine Brunell Opens Up About Returning to MEAN GIRLS for NBC's ONE NIGHT ONLY Special

After hair, makeup and (thank god it still fits) costumes, it was time to go to the 46th Street set and record our portion of the broadcast. With our cast and crew gathered on the sidewalk, we looked at each other in disbelief... "Is this really happening", "are we really doing this?" And then, in that moment, as if the theatre gods sprinkled their spell upon us, that magical feeling took over us all. Hearts pounding and stomachs flipping, we became a company again. For "One Night Only". Doing what we love. Feeling alive. And my god, were we grateful.


Tune in on Thursday, December 10 (8/7c) on NBC to watch Catherine and the cast of Mean Girls perform on One Night Only: The Best of Broadway.

BWW Exclusive: Catherine Brunell Opens Up About Returning to MEAN GIRLS for NBC's ONE NIGHT ONLY SpecialBrunell's other Broadway credits include: Something Rotten! (Portia), Les Misérables (Eponine), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Cora, original Broadway cast), Mary Poppins, ELF, A Tale of Two Cities, Big River (revival with Deaf West). National tours: Les Misérables, Big River. Regional: Williamstown Theatre Festival, Old Globe Theatre, Paper Mill, MUNY, Barter, Goodspeed. TV: "Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt," "The Sound of Music Live!" Training: Northwestern University. Everything: Chris, Gus, Charlie, Beatrice & the entire Brunell Clan.


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