After a seeming eternity, the Mean Girls musical has made its Broadway debut. Luckily for fans of tap dance numbers, Tina Fey, and classic high school backstabbery, most critics reckon the show is sweeter than a Kalteen bar.
For The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney says Mean Girls is “a surprisingly enjoyable and genuinely funny sugar treat with a lot of heart” which doesn’t simply nick from its legendary 2004 inspiration.
“It’s the new gags that freshen the formula,” Rooney writes, “actually improving on the source material’s somewhat soft ending with a more satisfying payoff, while still pushing the broadside against bullying, bitchiness and unhealthy peer pressure.”
The Wrap’s Robert Hofler agrees, saying that director Casey Nicholaw “delivers several funny surprises, whether it’s the chorus boys dancing on food trays in the cafeteria or dressing up in drag to fill out the bleachers in the gym when the girls are lectured on their bitchery.”
The focus has shifted somewhat, too. Cady Heron, portrayed by Erika Henningsen, reportedly delivers a strong performance while ceding some of the show’s emotional heart.
Praising the musical’s apt feel for the moment, Chris Jones for The Chicago Tribune writes “Janis [Barrett Wilbert Weed] now is the character whose emotional trajectory is at the moral heart of the story… Janice is the gal for our now. We perk up every time she shows up.”
Not everyone is super stoked, though. AM New York‘s Matt Windman called the whole thing “a wishy-washy, pointless adaptation” that really didn’t need to exist.
“While the best-written teen musicals can attract a diverse audience, few adults will find the Mean Girls musical to be — in the immortal words of Gretchen [Ashley Park] — ‘fetch.’”
If you want to scope it out for yourself, hoof it to the August Wilson Theater in New York City. If not, well, cop this sneak peek below: