Menlo News April 26, 2024

Mean Girls Musical Hits Spieker Stage

Menlo’s spring musical captures the essence of adolescent angst with a little humor and a whole lot of pink.

Mean Girls, the vibrant musical adaptation of the beloved cult classic film written by Tina Fey, follows the story of Cady Heron, a new student at North Shore High School. As Cady navigates the perilous terrain of high school cliques, she becomes entangled with the infamous Plastics, led by the formidable Regina George. With catchy tunes, sharp humor, and poignant lessons about friendship and self-discovery, the musical delves into themes of identity, acceptance, and the often tumultuous journey of adolescence. Filled with iconic moments, from Burn Books to “fetch,” Mean Girls captures the essence of adolescent angst with a little humor and a whole lot of pink.

“I chose Mean Girls because I knew it really spoke to the student population,” says Steven Minning, Upper School Drama Teacher and director of Mean Girls. “It has a timeless message ultimately about empathy told through the misfortunes of bullying. Today’s student culture at-large is hypersensitive to this theme, especially here at Menlo, because that’s what we’re working on every day.”

Former Menlo drama star Braedon Young ’19 is working alongside Minning as associate director for Mean Girls. “Being a part of the team behind the table has been a joy. The students love the material, and the directorial team is outstanding—just the same as when I was a student in the productions at Menlo,” he says. “The show is jam-packed with all of the wit and humor people have grown to love over the years, while also building a strong emotional core behind the story. Our students bring such passion and life to the stage, and it would be a missed opportunity not to see such a brilliant cast perform such an iconic musical!”

“I think the fun part for the kids is that they’re playing high schoolers, so each song has either a different story to tell or intention with the movement,” adds Angela Curotto-Pierson, Upper School Dance teacher and choreographer for Mean Girls. “One of the numbers involves moving tables in the cafeteria, one is a tap number in the middle of the art room…things that they can grasp onto and themes that resonate with them because they can pull from real-life experiences.”

“My favorite thing about Mean Girls is that it ventures away from benign humor and uses more dark and edgy humor,” says Jacob ’27, who plays Kevin G. and brings the house down with his captivating rendition of the rap number, ‘Whose House is This?’ “People should come and see it if they want to have a great time and hear a good message.”

Menlo vocal teacher Marie Finch agrees. “It’s important for kids to find within themselves: we are all heroes, we are all victims, we are all villains, and it’s OK to have those colors in us. The meanness and the sensitivity and the shyness and the attitude…I always say theater is like a permission slip to be whatever you want to be.”

Claire ’26, who plays lead protagonist Cady Heron, commends the kind and supportive cast. “Everyone has worked extremely hard for this show and I hope that audiences can see and appreciate what we have put into it,” she says.

Continuing the tradition of philanthropy, the Menlo Drama Department strives to ‘Give Back’ both on and off stage. Menlo Drama has raised more than $65,000 for nonprofit organizations, each chosen by the cast because its work resonates with a theme in the show. Menlo School’s production of Mean Girls will be raising money to build a dining hall for the Ngarenaro Secondary School in Arusha,Tanzania. The goal is not only to help fund a building but to invest in the future of Ngarenaro students and their community. Menlo Drama’s support will provide a lasting impact, ensuring that these young learners have the facilities they need to thrive academically, socially, and personally. The cast of Mean Girls felt that supporting a teen community in need would be the perfect nonprofit partner for Menlo Gives Back.

Performances for Mean Girls run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May 2-4 at 7:30 pm; Sunday, May 5th at 5:00 pm in Menlo School’s Spieker Center for the Arts, 50 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton. Tickets are $12 for adults, and $6 for students, available for advance purchase at Tickets are also available at the box office one hour before each performance, based on availability.