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“Mean Girls”

The 2004 classic becomes a movie musical.
A movie adaptation of the Broadway musical ‘Mean Girls’ hit screens worldwide in January, achieving online popularity and box office success. PC: IMDb

From “The Breakfast Club” to “10 Things I Hate About You,” classic teen dramedies have set an expectation of a nasty and clique-filled high school experience for teens across America. With its newest remake, “Mean Girls” remains a testament to the timeless popularity of classic, if inaccurate, high school movies. 

The original “Mean Girls” movie was released in 2004, written by Tina Fey and based on the 2002 self-help book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” by Rosalind Wiseman. Starring Lindsey Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lacey Chabert, “Mean Girls” follows the experience of homeschooled Cady Heron as she moves and enters a new school. 

As the new kid, Heron is warned of the school cliques, particularly, the Plastics, a group of exclusive popular girls: Gretchen Weiners, Karen Smith, and their leader Regina George. Finding herself entrenched in this clique drama, Heron becomes the newest member of the Plastics and struggles to find her place in a brutal high school hierarchy. 

In 2018, the musical adaptation of “Mean Girls” premiered on Broadway. After over 800 shows, the show closed in March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic. The national tour of “Mean Girls” continues, with an upcoming West End production. Notable Broadway cast replacements include recently famed pop star Sabrina Carpenter as Cady Heron and Reneé Rapp as Regina George. 

On Jan. 12, the musical film adaptation of “Mean Girls” hit screens worldwide. Starring Angourie Rice as Cady Heron, the 2024 movie follows the same plot as the original with adapted songs and dances from the musical incorporated. Reviving her Broadway role in this new movie, Reneé Rapp portrays Regina George in a performance that’s brought internet-wide attention to her solo music and charismatic stage presence. 

The recent film also features Bebe Wood as Gretchen Weiners and Avantika Vandanapu as newly renamed Karen Shetty. As a nod to the original movie, Tina Fey once again plays the high school math teacher, Ms. Nordbury. Similarly, Lindsey Lohan (Cady Heron in the 2004 film) makes a cameo, and Ashley Parks (Gretchen Weiners in the Broadway musical) appears as the school’s French teacher, Madame Park.

As of the end of January, “Mean Girls” has grossed $83.4 million worldwide. Although based off of the Broadway adaptation and not the original movie, viewers online have expressed their shock at finding the new “Mean Girls” full of singing and dance segments. A poll run by Paramount, however, determined that only 16% of participants were disappointed by the musical aspects. 

Since it was released in early January, “Mean Girls” has been a hot topic on digital media platforms. Long-term fans of the Broadway musical adaptation expressed disappointment at some of the instrumental and vocal performances in the movie, which they believed were lacking the emotion found in the live Broadway performances.

Although the initial frustration with the songs was prominent, the movie’s popularity has skyrocketed the actors’ careers and spread general encouragement for their performances. Most notably, Avantika Vandanapu, known online as simply Avantika, has been thrust into the spotlight for her accomplishments. At just 19 years old, the previous Disney Channel actress is now known as one of the iconic Plastics, leading to many defending her performance online and reflecting on their own teenage accomplishments, or lack thereof.

Ultimately, the 2024 “Mean Girls” film has shown immense success and brought internet attention to the actors, the “Mean Girls” franchise, and the concept of movie musicals as a whole.

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About the Contributor
Nova Roden
Nova Roden, Editor-in-Chief
Nova is currently a senior at Oakmont High School. This is her fourth year in Journalism. She loves reading and is currently working their way through the must-read young adult books and juggling the classics for AP Literature. She's been writing stories since before Kindergarten, and making way too complex art projects since before that. Defined by not only the physical things she surround herself with, such as their friends and the mishmash of handmade items decorating their room, but also by the things she stands for, Nova will continue to use her skills and passions to do everything she can for those around them and to fight for what she believes in. Navigating life as a teenager, and life in our current society is hard, but Nova hasn't let any of that stop her yet, and she is determined not to let any of it stop her from remaining ambitious and accomplishing her goals both in high school and well into the future.

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  • J

    Jane OlexaFeb 2, 2024 at 11:13 am

    I loved it!!!