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Mean Girls Stars & Creators Reveal Their High School Obsessions, Dream Roles, & Advice They'd Give to Their Younger Selves

February 22nd, 2018 by

JoshuaFerri Share
Mean Girls Stars & Creators Reveal Their High School Obse...

Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser

The musical adaptation of Tina Fey's beloved film Mean Girls arrives on Broadway on March 12, and we're more excited than Janis when she sees teachers outside of school ("It's like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs"). BroadwayBox caught up with the fresh, fetch cast and two of the ladies behind the blockbuster musical and asked each of them to look back on their own high school experiences doing theatre, slaying the big roles, and dreaming of NYC.

Erika Henningsen (Cady Heron)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Erika Henningsen- Cady Heron

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: In the Heights.
Role I SLAYED in high school: I did Belle in Beauty and the Beast.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: I saw Light in the Piazza on tour in San Francisco, and I think Katie Rose Clarke was playing [Clara] and I thought, “I want to do that!”
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: It’s harder work to be cool, it’s easier to just be yourself.

Taylor Louderman (Regina George)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Taylor Louderman -Regina George

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: Spring Awakening.
Role I SLAYED in high school: Oh I really loved Hope in Urinetown.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: I wanted to Aida. I wanted to do Amneris in Aida.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Chill the F out, girlfriend. Calm down!

Ashley Park (Gretchen Wieners)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Ashley Park-Gretchen Wieners

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: Wicked!
Role I SLAYED in high school: Oh my gosh, I’d say maybe Millie. I had a lot of fun with it. And also Little Sally in Urinetown.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: Honestly, I always wanted to originate a new role—exactly what we are doing right now. Or be the first ethnic Glinda.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Have more fun! Relax!

Kate Rockwell (Karen Smith)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Kate Rockwell - Karen Smith

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: It was Miss Saigon. I was obsessed with Miss Saigon.
Role I SLAYED in high school: We did a production of this tiny little show called Two by Two and I played Goldie, she’s the prostitute—I was very good at it. [Laughs]
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: It’s always been Side Show. I’d be happy to play either [of the twins]. I would love a production where we could switch every show. That would be my dream situation.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: It’s going to be ok, girl.

Barrett Wilbert Weed (Janis Sarkisian)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Barrett Wilbert Weed - Janis

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: The Last Five Years, for sure.
Role I SLAYED in high school: Penelope Pennywise in Urinetown. I was the only one who could sing high enough to do it. [Laughs]
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: I think it was Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, even though I can’t tap dance…yet.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: You’re fine. You think you’re not fine but you’re totally fine.

Grey Henson (Damian Hubbard)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Grey Henson - Damian

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: Mine was Bat Boy.
Role I SLAYED in high school: Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum. It was my favorite and I want to play it again some day.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: Mine was actually Damian in Mean Girls The Musical.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: It would have been like, come out of the closet! [Laughs] Do it now! It’s more fun.

Cheech Manohar (Kevin Gnapoor) & Kyle Selig (Aaron Samuels)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Kyle Selig - Aaron Samuels- Cheech Manohar - Kevin Gnapoor

Cheech

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: I was obsessed with In the Heights. I still am obsessed with In the Heights; who isn’t?
Role I SLAYED in high school: I did a lot of good black box shows in high school. I did some really great, important theatre. [Laughs] My cabaret shows were great.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: Honestly, when I found out Mean Girls was going to become a musical, I was like, “This is it. This is what’s happening. I need to figure out a way to make this happen.” I feel like I manifested it into reality.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Don’t feel uncool just because you work hard.

Kyle

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: Parade was a big one. I loved it. It was dramatic and I was an artiste so…
Role I SLAYED in high school: I did a solid Don Lockwood in Singin’ In the Rain. Dance is not necessarily my leading thing I do now but it was awesome.
Dream role you wanted to move to New York to play on Broadway: I remember one summer I was visiting New York and I saw Next to Normal and I saw Hair. Seeing both these actors who I know now and love (Aaron Tveit and Gavin Creel), and I was like, “I can do this!” It wasn’t necessarily a role but actors doing what I wanted to do.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: Do a little bit of something towards your art every single day, and read everything because that’s how you put yourself in the shoes of other people.

Kerry Butler (Mrs. Norbury, Mrs. George, & Mrs. Heron)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Kerry Butler- Mrs George

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: I think it might have been Baby. I love Baby.
Role I SLAYED in high school: I was a pretty good Sandy in Grease.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I would say don’t take criticism to heart.

Rick Younger (Mr. Duvall)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Rick Younger - Mr Duvall

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: I didn’t have a musical I followed, but I had a cousin whose favorite was West Side Story, so I heard that all the time, against my will.
Role I SLAYED in high school: I was a good Lone Wolf McQuade in the non-musical of my life. I went to a science and engineering high school, so I was in a band. The fact that I was in a band was the thing because that was about as artsy as anyone in my school got.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I would say don’t look at a career in the arts as a fallback plan, make that your plan A.

Tina Fey (Book) & Nell Benjamin (Lyrics)

Mean Girls- Broadway- Musical- Tina Fey

Photo by Emilio Madrid-Kuser for Broadway.com


Tina

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: This ages me, but Les Mis had come out when I was a freshman. Evita! The deeper cuts—I didn’t know a gay boy who wasn’t walking around singing Falsettos or Closer Than Ever. I was convinced in my mind I could do a Patti LuPone impression—by the way, I can’t really. I tried to a lot.
Role I SLAYED in high school: I was a very solid Van Helsing in Dracula.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: You should feel so positive about your body right now because it’s actually the best it’s going to be.

Nell

Cast recording you were completely obsessed with: I thought I was such a great singer because I hit the range of “Bring Him Home” but it’s not impressive for a girl to sing “Bring Him Home”.
Role I SLAYED in high school: I was an amazing Solanio in The Merchant of Venice. Yes, that is a character in the all-girl Merchant of Venice. I remember the director was very intellectual and wanted us to wear very period outfits, but it turns out that was tights with really short tunics. So the experience of the show was watching girls pull the tunics down to cover their crotches. That’s largely what I remember from that Merchant of Venice.
Piece of advice you’d give to your high school self right now: I agree [with Tina]. Just stop wearing clothes and go outside now because it’s not getting better.

See 'Mean Girls' on Broadway at the August Wilson Theatre beginning March 12.