If you don’t understand the significance of October 3rd, then you probably need to be (re)educated on modern American pop culture. October 3rd is known as “Mean Girls Day” in honor of an iconic line from the classic teen comedy movie Mean Girls.
Since the movie’s release in 2004, Mean Girls has only grown in popularity. Wednesdays have become known as the day “we wear pink.” People have been trying to make “fetch” happen. We all want to “bake a cake out and rainbows and smiles, and we’d all eat it and be happy.”
But now Mean Girls is “a massive deal” thanks to it becoming a Broadway musical.
After its world premiere at Washington D.C. in fall 2017, Mean Girls made a transfer to Broadway, opening at the August Wilson Theatre in New York in April.
I haven’t gotten a chance to go to New York to watch the musical, but I’ve listened to the cast recording plenty of times. Oftentimes, songs from the show will get stuck in my head, and I’ll wake up with Erika Henningsen (who plays Cady Heron) singing in my head.
In honor of Mean Girls Day, I’ve chosen the three best songs from the show. I was tempted to pick more than three but felt I needed to cap the amount at three to match the date. It wasn’t an easy task nor are the three songs I’ve chosen necessarily my favorite, but they tell the Mean Girls story well and are great at developing the characters featured in each song.
“Stupid with Love”
Cady is having her first day at North Shore High School and arrived to her calculus class late. She meets Aaron Samuels as he turns around in his chair to introduce himself to her, a new student. She is instantly smitten by him and breaks into song to detail her love life, outlook on love, and the appeal of math. The math and love comparison used throughout the song is well executed and does a great job of further characterizing Cady. The ongoing quipping dialogue between Aaron and Cady is a nice touch that complements sung-through parts, and “calculust” is an awesome pun.
“World Burn” is my favorite song from Mean Girls, and it’s partially because of the tremendous job Taylor Louderman does as portraying Regina George and partially because of how deceptively clever Regina really is.
At this point, Regina knows that Cady has been plotting for her downfall, but Regina is going to unleash the chaos that is the Burn Book with an addition citing herself as a “fugly cow,” making it appear that she had absolutely nothing to do with this. You get a true sense of Regina’s mean but immensely powerful nature with the way Taylor Louderman sings the song, how the music builds and falls, and with what the lyrics tell. The lines “Cady may have won the battle/But I will win the war” are genius and a perfect description of Regina’s motives.
“I’d Rather Be Me”
This song has the best message out of 21 songs included on the cast recording, and that’s what makes this song so great. In “I’d Rather Be Me,” Janis Sarkisian (the same character as Janis Ian in the movie) sings about her failed friendships with Regina and now Cady, having been mistreated by them both. This happens after the distribution of the copied Burn Book pages, which included accusations of Janis being a lesbian. But Janis, portrayed by Barrett Wilbert Reed, chooses to be above gossip, accusations, and betrayal by simply being who she is, taking pride in it, and encourage the other girls at the school to be themselves and to be proud of who they are. At the end of the song, other girls have joined Janis in chanting “I’d rather be me,” and it’s a powerful, positive message.
In a time in which it is so easy for young girls and women to be influenced by negativity and harmed by social media, staying true to oneself is an especially important message. You shouldn’t change yourself to please others; you should be who you are even if it means you aren’t popular or have the most friends.
Honorable Mention: “Meet the Plastics”
The first few times I’d heard songs from Mean Girls were before I listened to the cast recording in its entirety. But “Meet the Plastics” was one of the first songs I’d heard from the show, and I instantly loved it because of the fun, playful, fitting approach it took in introducing the Plastics.
The way each Plastic is introduced is done so well and truly speaks volumes about each one of them. You get an accurate idea of who each character is and who they are in reference to the clique itself.
Regina’s lines and the way they are sung truly make you believe she is indeed “a massive deal”—the way Taylor Louderman sings “My name is Regina George” is iconic. Ashley Park’s approach to Gretchen is impeccable with her frantic singing. You can sense Gretchen’s insecurity and overwhelming sense of obedience to Regina. Kate Rockwell does a great job of making Karen’s part the wonderfully hilarious and fun section it is.
Featured image via Mean Girls on Broadway