MICDS Troubadours Take on Queen Bees in « Mean Girls »

Last fall, when the licensing rights to Mean Girls – High School Version became available, it was an utterly fetch opportunity for MICDS to rise to the occasion. As the first school in Missouri to perform this version, the MICDS Troubadours did not disappoint!

Based on the hit 2004 film, Mean Girls tells the story of Cady Heron, a teenage girl who finds herself in a suburban Illinois public high school after years of being home-schooled on the African savanna. Cady is determined to rise to the top of the popularity pecking order, but she has to take on The Plastics, a trio of frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady and her friends devise a « Revenge Party » to end Regina’s reign, she learns that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.

The fiercely hilarious musical is from writer Tina Fey (30 Rock), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), and composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). Mean Girls was nominated for a staggering 12 Tony Awards, and the high school version allows schools to tailor the show’s content according to their unique school community preferences.

Carolyn Hood, Upper School Performing Arts Teacher, was thrilled at the opportunity to present Mean Girls to sold-out, energetic, and appreciative audiences. She said,  » The cast and crew worked diligently over the past three months, and the payoff was a hilarious and touching rendition of Tina Fey’s brainchild. Bravo to a very dedicated and extremely talented cast and crew! »

Natalie Benoist ’25 played Cady. She shared, « Mean Girls has been one of my favorite movies for such a long time, and when I saw the musical, I fell in love with it. I didn’t think I would get the chance to be in this production, especially in Upper School, but I’m so glad that I could. » She enjoyed playing the role of Cady and appreciated the level of interaction she shared with the other actors. « I had scenes and songs with everyone in the cast, and I loved seeing the different ideas and moments that they added to the show. The experience was super positive for me and the cast and crew. It took so much time and effort from everyone in the cast to learn the singing and dances. I couldn’t be more proud of the people involved in this show; it really did turn out great, » she said.

In the final Troubadours production of her high school career, Keller Goldstein ’23 enjoyed the opportunity to tell an iconic story through the eyes of real-life high school students. « It was challenging at times because it was the first production of Mean Girls in Missouri, so we didn’t have other productions to reference. It was sort of like we were doing a new musical! But the overall experience was amazing. The cast was extraordinary, and we formed an incredible bond, » she said.

Tap choreographer Noah Macam ’23 played the role of Christian and also found the production challenging and rewarding. « There were a lot of technical elements in play (light panels, regular lighting, fog machines, etc.), » he said. « Along with the tech elements, just the sheer size of the show (Mean Girls runs over two hours) required a lot of attention and focus during tech week, but it was all worth it with the reaction and praise we received. Our Friday and Saturday night audiences were so engaging and gave us so much laughter to play off of. We had tremendous support from other schools, such as John Burroughs, Westminster, Visitation, and Francis Howell, who all had positive words about the production, especially since MICDS is the first school in Missouri to produce the show. I received a lot of personal praise for choreographing Stop, which was a full, production-style number with tap dancing. The best praise we received was the constant energy and comedy that all the actors (even the ensemble) brought to the show. »

Grant LaMartina ’25 played the character Damien and enjoyed the production and bonding with the cast over several weeks. « I especially enjoyed the entire cast dance rehearsal a few weeks before the show opened. Only some people were needed simultaneously, so I got to talk to and connect with more people than I would have otherwise. I carried these relationships throughout the rest of the process, and by the end of Mean Girls, I felt as if I had made new friendships I would not have found elsewhere.

« It was challenging for me to take on a lead character that combined singing, acting, and dancing at a high level. I tested out many different options to play Damian, not only in terms of acting but also in dance and vocal decisions. The acting was the most difficult out of these three because I had to become bigger in movements and expressions than I had previously done in past productions. In the end, however, I found a balance that fit the character well. This show taught me a style and high level of acting that I felt I could not do before. Something as simple as how I moved around while playing Damian was completely foreign to me before the production. This has been the biggest role I have taken on, and I appreciate the support from Ms.Hood, the production crew, and the cast, » LaMartina said.

Playing the role of Gretchen, Rachel Phillips ’24 was excited about her first major role. « I had so much fun working on Mean Girls the past few months. Everyone in the cast was very talented, and I think we all had a great time and formed an incredible bond. This was my first time taking on a major role in an MICDS production, and Gretchen was a very challenging character for me to find. I learned a lot about myself as both an actor and as a person, and I learned a lot about my peers as well. All in all, I’m very proud of the final result, » she said.

Gigi Koster ’26 played the role of Sonja and was called upon at the last minute for Sunday’s performance to fill in as Karen for Reese Brinker ’26. Koster shared, « As a new student this year, I especially enjoyed the community created during this production. We had spent so much time together. It was challenging balancing my school work and the show, but in the end, I had a lot of fun meeting new people outside of my grade and becoming more involved in the school community. When I had to take over the role of Karen for the Sunday matinee, I learned how to deal with stress in a whole new sense; it’s definitely an experience that I will remember and learn from. The cast supported me and made the experience less stressful. »

Offstage, a robust Seldom Scene team created the elaborate sets and some of the most challenging lighting setups in school history, building custom LED panels that framed the stage and served as the main backdrop. Below the stage, they unearthed and refurbished the dormant orchestra pit for the musicians. Stage Manager Eliza Dorf ’23 said, « Overall, I really enjoyed being the stage manager for Mean Girls. For me, tech week was especially challenging since the show is built mainly around lights and projections, and making sure every cue was recorded in the right place was more difficult than in other shows. However, I’m thankful for the cast and crew’s hard work and enthusiasm. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, the theatre department needs new microphones! »

When rolling out the high school version of this show, writer Tina Fey said, « When I wrote the movie in 2003, I set out to write truthfully and with humor about relational aggression among girls. I hoped that if we could recognize this behavior in ourselves and laugh about it, it would be easier to stop doing it. Spoiler alert: I did not fix the world! Relational aggression is still around. And it’s not just among girls…But I still believe that this story can help us cope through humor and also now through singing. As a former drama club member, I knew a show with five female leads would be great news for most schools. As a former youth theater director, I hoped that letting students play characters their own age, with a story they can relate to, would be fun and lead to some great conversations. »

Bravo to the cast and crew of Mean Girls, « The limit does not exist! »