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“There are two kinds of evil people in this world. Those who do evil stuff and those who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.”

Snappy one-liners give Mean Girls laughter in the aisles, as high school cliques prove themselves to be predators in plain sight. Based on the 2004 popular film that was partially based on Rosalind Wiseman’s 2002 non-fiction, self-help book, Queen Bees and Wannabes, this Broadway adaptation by Tina Fey shows this cautionary tale is definitely a contender.

Grey Henson, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Erika Henningsen

Grey Henson, Barrett Wilbert Weed, Erika Henningsen. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Told in flashbacks by the school’s social pariahs, Damian (Grey Henson) and Janis (Barrett Wilbert Weed), we meet Cady Heron (Erika Henningsen), a teen raised in Africa who has been homeschooled all her life. As she finally enters a public high school for the very first time, she is trying to figure out where she fits in.

Erika Henningsen

Erika Henningsen, and the Company of Mean Girls. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

“You got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, J.V. jocks, Asian nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity jocks Unfriendly black hotties, Girls who eat their feelings, Girls who don’t eat anything, Desperate wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually active band geeks“

Erika Henningsen, Ashley Park, Taylor Louderman, Kate Rockwell, Barrett Wilbert Weed

Erika Henningsen, Ashley Park, Taylor Louderman, Kate Rockwell, Barrett Wilbert Weed. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Cady meets Janis and Damion who become her first friends until she is accepted by the Plastics, a cutthroat clique headed by The Queen Bee Regina George (Taylor Louderman) and her two minions, the unconfident Gretchen Wieners (Ashley Park) and the bubble-headed Karen Smith (Kate Rockwell).

Kyle Selig, Erika Henningsen

Kyle Selig, Erika Henningsen. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.







Janis, who was once Regina’s best friend, wants revenge, and Cady is perfect to infiltrate the click. Cady learns about Regina’s “Burn Book”, which is meant to hurt those who are not in the click, but she does not want to participate in Janis’s scheme until she falls for Regina’s ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels (Kyle Selig). Betrayed by a jealous Regina, all bets are off. Cady gets her revenge as she starts to turn into Regina and ditches Janis and Damian.

Kerry Butler, Erika Henningsen

Kerry Butler, Erika Henningsen. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

When Regina learns of Cady’s treachery, she unleashes the contents of the “Burn Book”, inciting an all-out war in the school halls. The math teacher, Ms. Norbury (Kerry Butler), makes the girls face the way they have all treat each other. As they confess and apologize, Janis outs Cady during her turn. Cady and Regina get into a fight and Regina is struck by a school bus, breaking her spine.

Cady, full of guilt, joins the Mathletes in the state championship finals and tries to apologize to Janis at the school dance, but gets elected Queen. Onstage, she declares that all of her classmates are wonderful in their own way. She breaks her plastic tiara, giving pieces of it to the other girls. After they reconcile, Janis, Damian, Cady and Aaron dance into the night.

The cast is so highly talented and there are several scene-stealing performances. First, there is Grey Henson (The Book of Mormon) who is just “too gay to function”, tapping out his heart in “Stop”. Barrett Wilbert Weed (Heathers) brings down the house in “I’d Rather Be Me”. She is the perfect smirking, self-assured girl with that f**k-you attitude. Erika Henningsen (Broadway revival of Les Miserables) is adorable, making us care for her and her descent into being a Plastic. Taylor Louderman (Bring It On: The Musical) steals the show in “Watch the World Burn” as she slinks across the stage in these skin-tight jeans. Ashley Park (Sunday in the Park with George) shows us just how fragile a teenage psyche is in “What’s Wrong with Me”. And Kate Rockwell (Rock of Ages) will have you rolling in the aisles in “Sexy”. She makes being an air head the coolest thing in the world. As for the boy, Kyle Selig (Public’s Joan of Arc: Into the Fire) exudes chemistry with Henningsen. We believe this romantic twist and completely understand why Cady swoons every time she sees him. The surprise is Kerry Butler (Xanadu), who makes not one, but three roles her own. Sadly, she doesn’t get her own number to really shine.

Tina Fey’s script is seamless and I love how today’s devices have been incorporated into it.

Choreographer/Director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Aladdin) has created a really fun homage to the film, yet made this production feel brand new. His dances really make this show.

The music created by Fey’s husband, Jeff Richmond, is danceable, tuneful and fun, though I can’t see any of the numbers making it out of the show, except maybe Janis’s “I’d Rather Be Me”. Also, there really isn’t one number that is truly funny. I think the biggest problem is Nell Benjamin’s lyrics, which just aren’t that clever. Maybe Fey should have penned these as well.

Mean Girls

The Company of Mean Girls. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.

Kudos to set design by Scott Pask, video design by Finn Ross and Adam Young, lighting by Kenneth Posner, sound by Brian Ronan, and the fabulous costumes by designer Gregg Barnes.

I can see Mean Girls getting plenty of Tony nods, but it doesn’t matter what the critics or the Tony voters think, because this show just might become a cult hit.

Mean Girls: August Wilson Theatre, 245 West 52nd Street.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


Ken Fallin’s Broadway: A Dolls House: Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain



I went with T2C’s editor to A Dolls House, which inspired this caricature. You can read Suzanna’s review of the show here.

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T2C Sends Our Prayers to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lea Michele



Saturday, March 25, 2023

 A Statement From Andrew Lloyd Webber

 I am shattered to have to announce that my beloved elder son Nick died a few hours ago in Basingstoke Hospital. His whole family is gathered together and we are all totally bereft. 

 Thank you for all your thoughts during this difficult time.

The 75-year-old Oscar-winning composer son Nicholas followed in his father’s footsteps and was a successful composer in his own right, having written Fat Friends The Musical. He was married to musician Polly Wiltshire, who appeared on the soundtrack of his father’s 2019 movie Cats.

During his career, Nicholas also scored music for an adaption of The Little Prince as well as composing numerous TV and film scores, including for the BBC1 drama Loves, Lies, and Records.

Nicholas previously spoke about making his own way in the theatre world away from his famous family name in a 2011 unearthed interview.

He said he wanted to be ‘judged on his own merits’ so dropped his surname when working to see what the reaction would be.

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.

Also on Saturday Lea Michele updated her fans on the status of her two-year-old’s health via her Instagram  after he was hospitalized earlier this week.  Her son Ever was in the hospital, but is now out due to a ‘scary health issue. She posted a picture backstage in her dressing room ahead of her Broadway performance in Funny Girl. Lea had been out to focus on her family.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for just so much love and support this week. I really really appreciated it”.

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Parade: A Musical That Asks Us Do We Have The Eyes And Ears To See.



Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt Photo by Joan Marcus

I have always loved Jason Robert Brown’s score for Parade. “You Don’t Know This Man,” “This Is Not Over Yet” and the wonderfully romantic “All the Wasted Time” are just the tip of the iceberg for music that stirs your soul and tells a tale of heartbreak. There is a reason this score won the Tony Award in 1999.

Ben Platt Photo By Joan Marcus

The musical now playing on Broadway dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank (Ben Platt), who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle). The trial was sensationalized by the media, newspaper reporter Britt Craig (Jay Armstrong Johnson) and Tom Watson (Manoel Feliciano), an extremist right-wing newspaper aroused antisemitic tensions in Atlanta and the U.S. state of Georgia. When Frank’s death sentence is commuted to life in prison thanks to his wife Lucille (Micaela Diamond), Leo was transferred to a prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, where a lynching party seized and kidnapped him. Frank was taken to Phagan’s hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and he was hanged from an oak tree. 

Erin Rose Doyle, Photo by Joan Marcus

The telling of this horrid true tale begins with the lush ode to the South in “The Old Red Hills of Home.” Leo has just moved from Brooklyn to in Marietta, where his wife is from and he has been given the job as as a manager at the National Pencil Co. He feels out of place as he sings “I thought that Jews were Jews, but I was wrong!” On Confederate Memorial Day as Lucille plans a picnic, Leo goes to work. In the meantime Mary goes to collect her pay from the pencil factory. The next day Leo is arrested on suspicion of killing Mary, whose body is found in the building. The police also suspect Newt Lee (Eddie Cooper), the African-American night watchman who discovered the body, but he inadvertently directs Starnes’ suspicion to Leo.

Across town, reporter Britt Craig see this story as (“Big News”). Mary’s suitor Frankie Epps (Jake Pederson), swears revenge on Mary’s killer, as does the reporter Watson. Governor John Slaton (Sean Allan Krill) pressures the local prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (the terrific smarmy Paul Alexander Nolan) to get to the bottom of the whole affair. Dorsey, an ambitious politician sees Leo as he ticket to being the Governor and though there are other suspects, he willfully ignores them and goes after Leo.

Sophia Manicone, Emily Rose DeMartino, Ashlyn Maddox Photo By Joan Marcus

The trial of Leo Frank is presided over by Judge Roan (Howard McMillan). A series of witnesses, give trumped up evidence which was clearly is fed to them by Dorsey. Frankie testifies, falsely, that Mary said Leo “looks at her funny.” Her three teenage co-workers, Lola, Essie and Monteen (Sophia Manicone, Emily Rose DeMartino, Ashlyn Maddox), collaborate hauntingly as they harmonize their testimony  (“The Factory Girls”). In a fantasy sequence, Leo becomes the lecherous seducer (“Come Up to My Office”). Testimony is heard from Mary’s mother (Kelli Barrett ) (“My Child Will Forgive Me”) and Minnie McKnight (Danielle Lee Greaves)before the prosecution’s star witness, Jim Conley (Alex Joseph Grayson ), takes the stand. He claims that he witnessed the murder and helped Leo conceal the crime (“That’s What He Said”). Leo is given the opportunity to deliver a statement (“It’s Hard to Speak My Heart”), but it is not enough. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang. The crowd breaks out into a jubilant circus.

Alex Joseph Grayson Photo by Joan Marcus

Act 1, is not as strong as it should have been. I have attended three different incarnations, the last being with Jeremy Jordan as Leo and Joshua Henry as Jim in 2015. Part of the problem is Michael Arden’s direction. Instead of allowing his performers to act, he has them pantomime, as the solo goes forth. “Come Up to My Office” was not as haunting as in past productions. The same can be said of “That’s What He Said”. Who’s stands out in the first act is Jake Pederson as Frankie and Charlie Webb as the Young Soldier who sings “The Old Red Hills of Home.”

Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt Photo by Joan Marcus

In Act 2, Lucille finds Governor Slaton at a party (the hypnotic “Pretty Music” sung wonderfully by Krill) and advocates for Leo. Watson approaches Dorsey and tells him he will support his bid for governor, as Judge Roan also offers his support. The governor agrees to re-open the case, as Leo and Lucille find hope. Slaton realizes what we all knew that the witnesses were coerced and lied and that Dorsey is at the helm. He agrees to commute Leo’s sentence to life in prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, which ends his political career. The citizens of Marietta, led by Dorsey and Watson, are enraged and riot. Leo is transferred to a prison work-farm. Lucille visits, and he realizes his deep love for his wife and how much he has underestimated her (“All the Wasted Time”). With hope in full blaze Lucille leaves as a party masked men kidnap Leo and take him to Marietta. They demand he confess and hang him from an oak tree.

Paul Alexander Nolan, Howard McMillan Photo By Joan Marcus

In Act Two Parade comes together with heart and soul. Diamond, who shines brightly through out the piece is radiant, and her duets with Platt are romantic and devastating. Platt comes into his own and his huge following is thrilled to be seeing him live. Alex Joseph Grayson’s also nails his Second Act songs.

Dane Laffrey’s set works well with the lighting by Heather Gilbert.

Frank’s case was reopened in 2019 and is still ongoing.

Parade has multiple messages and the question is will audiences absorb it. I am so glad this show is on Broadway, making us think and see. This is a must see.

Parade: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.

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