'Mean Girls' the musical premieres its tour at ASU Gammage

The musical inspired by Tina Fey's iconic film begins its first national tour in Tempe

The Broadway tour of "Mean Girls" the musical opened at ASU's Gammage Auditorium on Nov. 2 to a packed and enthusiastic crowd.

The original production of the musical premiered in October 2017 and ran on Broadway from April 2018 to March 2020. Gammage is the first stop for the official Broadway tour, making Nov. 2 the tour's opening night nationwide.

"Mean Girls" is based on the iconic 2004 movie of the same name, written by Emmy Award-winning actress Tina Fey. The film is often considered an American pop culture phenomenon, directly injecting such catchphrases as "she doesn’t even go here" and "on Wednesdays we wear pink" into the social lexicon.

The musical follows the plot of the movie for the most part, and features popular dramatic riff ballads such as "Apex Predator," "I'd Rather Be Me" and "Someone Gets Hurt." The show was nominated for 12 Tony awards in its 2018 season but won none of the categories, in a memorable upset.

Austin Nance, an audience member at the show, said he was a fan of "Mean Girls," but only first saw the movie recently.

"I saw it like three days ago. She had me watch it before we came here," he said, referring to his friend Sara Smith, another audience member.

The pair got their tickets "a long time ago, before COVID," and had been waiting to see the show for some time. They said they were surprised at the large audience turnout, especially given pandemic gathering restrictions only recently being lifted.

"I'm glad that everyone's keeping their masks on," Smith said.

The show was originally slated to run in April 2020 and was the next show on the Gammage schedule when the 2019-2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic. 

For some others, "Mean Girls" the musical is a wave of childhood nostalgia brought to the magical world of musical theater. Jaeleen Davis, an audience member visiting from Michigan, first saw the "Mean Girls" movie in her early teenage years.

"I grew up on the movie, and I always wanted to be on Broadway," Davis said. "So when this was announced, I followed every single video I could find."

Davis is a Broadway and musical theater enthusiast who said she's been performing musical theater herself for years. She has seen several iterations of the show both online and on stage, and hopes to have an opportunity to be part of the show one day.

Overall, said she was "really impressed with the dancing and singing coming from the whole team."

She could imagine the performers shared the same level of excitement she had to be back on stage for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"This is the first time that the background actors and dancers and performers are catching my eye more than the main cast is," Davis said. "I don't know if it's just because they're very excited to have work ... it just seems like there's a different energy that you don't normally see, especially big pieces that have a big production."

On Wednesday, actress Nadina Hassan, who plays Regina George in the tour, took over ASU Gammage's Instagram account to give a behind-the-scenes look at the cast.

"Thank you to all who came and saw the show this evening and showed us so much love," she said in an Instagram post. "And thank you to ASU Gammage for being so wonderful. Best place to kick off our tour!"

"Mean Girls" played at ASU Gammage from Nov. 2 to Nov. 7 and has nationwide tour dates through early 2023. 


Reach the reporter at ammoulto@asu.edu and follow @lexmoul on Twitter.

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