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   Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Mean Girls the musical - These girls are not mean enough, they are simply annoying





Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine for Talk Entertainment.com

Somewhere in the middle or I should say the muddle of the first act of the overly long, much too loud, pulsating and bombastic two act MEAN GIRLS, while being distracted by two twenty-something guys directly in front of me who were in each other’s ears throughout, whispering and pointing to the stage at the August Wilson Theatre where this musical based on a 2004 movie of the same name based on a book (in part) a non-fiction self-help book QUEEN BEES AND WANNABEES, I fleetingly thought that I wanted to escape to Margaritaville. I must have been hallucinating as I didn’t much care for that musical either.

In answer to my query – Is Tina Fey the new Queen of Mean? I think not. No doubt she is smart and funny (at times) but I found that in this foray into musical-comedy land Ms. Fey has bitten off a bit more than she could chew. The real Queen of Mean was and still is the late Leona Helmsley whose tyrannical behavior merited the title. These girls are not mean enough, they are simply annoying.

MEAN GIRLS comes across as a series of stereotypical characters in a series of stereotypical television skits with stereotypical punch lines, when you can catch the punch lines emanating from the awful over amplified-cover-your-ears sound system by Brian Ronan and directed at the speed of teen-speak by Casey Nicholaw who also has choreographed the series of athletic production numbers that begin to look and sound alike.

Somewhat like the characters. Particularly the “Plastics” - the in group/clique of three lost but most popular souls at North Shore High in Chicago where the action on wheels takes place. Everything is on wheels to keep the action rolling along.

They are Regina (a shrill Taylor Louderman, the Queen bee – who screeches and screams in true American Idol fashion) the insecure Gretchen (a better Ashley Park) and Karen (Kate Rockwell) the bimbo of the pack who is quite amusing.

Cady (Erika Henningsen) a smart and home-schooled transplant from Kenya returns to the States and wants desperately to fit in with this new pack of animals. And so she dumbs herself down and gets the “plastics” to befriend her while her true friends the very fey, I mean very gay Grey Henson (Damien) and his goth girl buddy the alleged lesbo Janis (Barrett Wilbert Weed) watch her infiltration from the side lines.

Then Cady meets Aaron – the mathematician heart throb (Kyle Selig). Only Aaron was hooked up with Regina and then split and now Regina gets him back and Cady is ready for war and so gives her a power bar that makes her butt the butt of jokes as it gets bigger and bigger - have you heard enough? I have.

No wait, Kerry Butler plays three characters. One looks very much like Tina Fey lest we forget she birthed this property - both movie and musical. Another, the mother of Regina with a puppet dog that has an affection for her left breast and one other who helps deliver the moral of this cautionary tale.

Oh, did I forget to mention the score by Jeff Richmond (music) and Nell Benjamin (lyrics)? Well you may as well forget it too as it is instantly forgettable. As a matter of fact, I left the theater humming “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from HAIRSPRAY…

The multitude of spiffy costumes are by Gregg Barnes. But the real star of this production is the projection and video design by Finn Ross & Adam Young. Brilliance personified. It used to be that an instantaneous costume change would awe an audience. This magic act has been surpassed by instantaneous set changes with projections that are awesome. Particularly when the bus hits…

From the onset we see yearbook photos with added snarky comments that set the tone of the entire show: “I suck all the way” “Freak/Loser club” “Crotch Sweat” “Never had real friends” and “Masturbated with a frozen hot-dog” framed in neon pink. Pink because the “Plastics” wear pink on Wednesdays. It’s fetch. Fetch? Look it up. I had to. And MEAN GIRLS isn’t.

2 hours 30 minutes of my life that I want back. One intermission.

www.meangirlsonbroadway.com

Photo: Joan Marcus

Visit www.oscaremoore.com for additional photos


  
04-15-18