“It’s October 3rd.” That’s right, it’s Mean Girls day, as proclaimed by Cady Heron 13 years ago when the epicly quotable movie first hit cinemas nationwide. Now, original screenwriter Tina Fey and her husband, composer Jeff Richmond, and lyricist Nell Benjamin are finally ready to let the musical adaptation of the story out into the wild. As Mean Girls begins performances at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C., October 31 and prepares to take over Broadway’s August Wilson Theatre in 2018, we thought you should get to know the players in the jungle known as Northshore High School.
Erika Henningsen, Cady Heron
Broadway’s newest star set records before creating the lead role for this highly-anticipated musical. She is the youngest actor to have played Fantine on Broadway in Les Misérables, originated a role in Sheryl Crow’s world-premiere musical Diner, and performed with the New York Philharmonic at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Her fierce voice and résumé prove she has what it takes to survive the jungle of Northshore High School on Broadway.
Taylor Louderman, Regina George
Louderman’s Broadway debut came with another high-school set musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Bring It On. She played Campbell, the earnest captain of the Truman High School cheerleading squad trying to replace the graduating members and bring home the trophy. She recently finished a run as Lauren in Broadway’s Kinky Boots, winning audiences over with her humor and charm. But don’t worry, even though Louderman has been the sweet one, she’s also played Queen Bee before. Louderman starred in Off-Broadway’s Gigantic (formerly Fat Camp) as one of the mean-girl cheerleaders who hurl vitriol at the campers of a weight-loss retreat. Louderman’s versatility, plus her comedic timing and powerhouse belt, will serve her well as head of The Plastics.
Ashley Park, Gretchen Weiners
The actor made her Broadway debut in Mamma Mia! in 2014, but broke through with her performance as Tuptim in the most recent revival of The King and I at Lincoln Center Theater. Earlier this year, she took on the role of Celeste in the revival of Sunday in the Park With George, starring Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal. Park has proven she can walk the fine line between powerful and vulnerable—a winning combo for Gretchen.
Kate Rockwell, Karen Smith
No one is better prepared to play the doe-eyed, dim-witted Karen than Rockwell. The actor made her Broadway debut as the replacement for ditzy, yet supportive sorority sister Margot (originated by Annaleigh Ashford) in Legally Blonde the Musical. Rockwell then became a Member of the Tribe in the Tony-winning revival of Hair before rocking out in Broadway’s Rock of Ages. Like Louderman, she too played one of Bring It On The Musical’s cheerleaders. No doubt her previous work with Louderman will play in to their onstage chemistry as they dominate the halls of Northshore.
Kerry Butler, Ms. Norbury
If Tina Fey herself isn’t going to reprise her role from the movie, there is no better choice than Kerry Butler. A master of comedy, Butler tickled audiences as the original spacey Penny Pingleton in Hairspray and wowed audiences with her performance as Audrey in the Broadway revival of Little Shop of Horrors. A Tony nominee for her role in Xanadu, Butler was last seen on Broadway in Seth Rudetsky’s musical parody of ’70s disaster movies, aptly named Disaster!. Known for playing the comic lead, she’s a natural choice to play Ms. Norbury, the math teacher still trying to get her life together after a messy divorce.
Grey Henson, Damian Hubbard (a.k.a. Damian Lee)
Henson made his Broadway debut as Elder McKinley in the Tony-winning Book of Mormon, you know, the closeted Mormon who leads the song “Turn It Off.” A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, we believe Henson will wow as the laissez faire social mentor to Cady.
Barrett Wilbert Weed, Janis Sarkisian (a.k.a. Janis Ian)
Weed is another actor plucked from the roster of musicals set in high schools. Having made her Broadway debut in Lysistrata Jones (the Douglas Carter Beane-Lewish Flinn musical that set the plot of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata in a school where the cheerleaders withheld sex until their basketball team won a game), Weed’s greater claim to fame was her role as Veronica in Off-Broadway’s Heathers, for which she was nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama Desk Award. We’re excited to see her take on the brooding Janis.
Kyle Selig, Aaron Samuels
Another Book of Mormon alum, Selig was destined to play the Mean Girls heartthrob. Selig started out as an understudy for Elder Price before rising through the ranks to replace for the role full time on Broadway. (He also stood by for the role on the national tour.) He recently appeared in The Public Theater’s 2017 production Joan of Arc. His talent and swagger give new meaning to the word “grool.”
Cheech Manohar, Kevin Gnapoor
A recent graduate of Syracuse University, Manohar makes his Broadway debut as the raptastic mathlete. Manohar wowed the creative team when he performed a parody rap of the theme song of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for his audition. Before graduating, he was cast in such comic roles as Brian in Avenue Q, Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, and Robertson Ay in Mary Poppins at regional theatres, including Syracuse Stage. Keep an eye on this fresh face.
Rick Younger, Mr. Duvall
Younger is a newcomer to Broadway, having toured nationally with Rent. An actor, singer, and stand-up comedian, Younger just released a new comedy album, Fried Chicken & White Bread, September 29. He has appeared on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live and It’s Showtime at the Apollo, and in a guest spot on Girls, among other series. His comic chops are just what the exasperated, carpal tunnel-afflicted principal needs.