Education Spotlight: MEAN GIRLS' Erika Henningsen
Education takes center stage in BroadwayWorld's new Education Spotlight education series. We ask Broadway stars a survey of questions about their college experience and how its made them the performer they are today.
Next up is Erika Henningsen currently charming audiences as the fish out of the African watering hole Cady Heron in Mean Girls. Find out how her education played its part in bringing her to Broadway!
Name: Erika Henningsen
Show you're in: Mean Girls
Role(s) you play: Cady Heron
College/University you attended: University of Michigan
Favorite professor and/or class: Brent Wagner
What did you learn in school that has helped you most in your career?
My professor, Brent Wagner, taught a History of Musical Theater class that sticks with me to this day. He emphasized the importance of learning as much as we could about the great lyricists, composers and artists who came before us. Everything we perform today is an extension of the incredible work our predecessors cultivated during the Golden Age. Even if it seems like generic pop/rock material, he taught us to treat every piece with the same attention to the text and accompaniment.
What's the best piece of advice you ever got from a professor or other instructor?
"You can't move forward if you're always looking to the side." Also, FAIL FORWARD. That's actually from multiple teachers at The Performing Arts Project where I've worked as an educator...but I, of course, walked away learning just as much as my students.
What do you wish you could say to your college-age self knowing what you know now?
Stop YouTubing Sutton Foster. The world already has her (and she's unFRICKINREAL). What they're interested in is YOU. Plus girl....you can't tap to save your life ;)
What advice would you give to aspiring theatre students?
Be curious about things that matter. I think in the advent of social media, we become overly curious about banal things: what was on the person's Instagram story, where so&so bought that pair of shoes etc etc. I find that the people I admire in our field are those who are curious about the world around them.
Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the wild and vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. How will this naïve newbie rise to the top of the popularity pecking order? By taking on The Plastics, a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina's reign, she learns the hard way that you can't cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.
Get tickets to see Erika and the cast of Mean Girls now at meangirlsonbroadway.com.