Review: MEAN GIRLS Comes to Broadway San Jose

This dazzling, must-see production plays now thru March 24th!

By: Mar. 20, 2024
Review: MEAN GIRLS Comes to Broadway San Jose
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Tina Fey’s 2004 cult teen classic film MEAN GIRLS, made its way to Broadway in 2018 and has been playing to sold-out houses ever since.  The musical is presented as a “Cautionary Tale,” about the cut-throat, caustic social climbing and clamoring that happens in high school where mean girls reign supreme. No one escapes the wrath of the Plastics, a group of girls so popular and rich that they see all other teens as nothing but prey to be chewed up and spit out. Ah, the teenage food chain. North Shore High School is a mosh pit of privileged insiders vs outsiders and misfits, but that’s where the fun begins. MEAN GIRLS holds court now through March 24 at Broadway San Jose, and it is a not-to-be-missed comedy sensation!

Tina Fey's iconic 2004 teen classic, "Mean Girls," found its way to Broadway in 2018, captivating audiences with its witty, sharp-tongued portrayal of high school life. The musical serves as a cautionary tale, shedding light on the ruthless social hierarchy and relentless pursuit of popularity that often dominates teenage life. At the center of it all are the Plastics, a clique so elite and powerful that they view their peers as mere prey to be chewed up and spit out for their amusement. Ah, the teenage food chain. Set in the predatory and territorial landscape of North Shore High School, where privileged insiders clash with outsiders and misfits, the stage comes alive with their struggles. "Mean Girls" continues its reign at Broadway San Jose now through March 24. It is a not-to-be missed comedy sensation that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Regina George (brilliantly played by Maya Petropoulos) is the cool and manipulative leader of the Plastics. Her second in commands are approval seeking Gretchen Weiners (Kristen Amanda Smith is impressive) and ditzy but popular Karen Smith (MaryRose Brendel is equally impressive).  The rest of the girls flinch in fear whenever they’re around – that is, all except Janis Sarkisian, a non-conforming, edgy, and artistic girl (Alexys Morera brings depth, humor, and acerbic wit to the role). Janis and her fellow outsider friend Damian Hubbard (Ethan Jih-Cook is the entire comic-relief package) take newcomer and math whiz Cady Heron (Natalie Shaw shines) under their wing while also leveraging this new friendship to their advantage. At their urging Cady approaches the cool kids table and is miraculously taken on as something of a project by Regina George.

Of course, Cady falls in love with Regina’s ex, Aaron Samuels (the talented Joseph Torres), which infuriates Regina, but you’ll have to go see the show to see what happens next!

A few words about the ensemble.  This hard-working troupe embodies talent, energy, and passion, delivering a top-notch performance. The chemistry among the cast members is palpable, creating a dynamic and electric atmosphere that elevates every scene.

While the MEAN GIRLS handily addresses various aspects of high school culture, including cliques, bullying, and social dynamics, it notably fails to directly address the issue of fat-shaming. Despite Regina George's weight gain being a significant plot point in the story, the musical largely glosses over the implications of this narrative device and fails to confront the harmful effects of fat-shaming. It represents a missed opportunity in an otherwise pitch-perfect cautionary tale.

MEAN GIRLS is a not-to-be-missed fun night at the theatre. Take your teens and their friends and listen to them talk as you drive home.  And if you don’t have teens, go anyway and bask in gratitude that you survived and weren’t eaten alive by our own mean girls/boys!

Now through March 24
Broadway San Jose
Book by Tina Fey
Music by Jeff Richmond
Lyrics by Nell Benjamin
Original Direction and Choreography by Casey Nicholaw
Tour Choreographer John MacInnis