Yes, it's really happening. A Mean Girls musical isn't just in the works — it already has a cast and is coming to D.C.’s National Theatre on October 31 before its Broadway debut. Taylor Louderman, Kate Rockwell, and Ashley Park will be playing Regina George, Karen Smith, and Gretchen Weiners, respectively, and Entertainment Weekly has our first look, and a fascinating interview with Tina Fey about how it all came together.
Fey, who wrote the original screenplay for the 2004 film, said the idea for a musical came after she realized just how much staying power the movie had.
“It was probably my husband, Jeff, who said, ‘You know what? This could work as a musical,'" she said of the 30 Rock composer. "And I trusted him to know that, having that background."
And while it has been weird to rehash her early work ("I would be with Jeff and Nell [Benjamin] and we’d be breaking through the story and I’d be like, 'Yeah, guys, I’m sorry, we’re hitting a part of the screenplay that’s real flawed. I apologize, it was my first screenplay.'"), the pitch-perfect casting has made it all worth it. Fey lauded Louderman for her comedic timing and true understanding of Regina George, and also commended Rockwell and Gretchen for so seamlessly capturing their characters' unique essences.
And while a musical certainly changes the structure of the movie, Fey says the most important part of the process was staying true to the story's core message, which is "the behavior that comes out of all of us sometimes out of jealousy or fear." Luckily, she found that music is the perfect vehicle for just that.
"It lets you get in people’s heads and inside their emotional lives in a way that you can do with a tight close-up in movies, but it’s so much bigger and warmer," she told the outlet. "I think fans will hopefully find that this has the DNA of the movie and is true to the spirit of it, but is also opened up in a lot of ways."