A Q&A with Chelsea Padro about "Mean Girls: High School Version"

As we get ready for the must-see musical event of the season, we asked Upper School Director of Theater and Musicals Chelsea Padro about this year’s choice, Mean Girls: High School Version

Why was Mean Girls: High School Version your choice for the spring musical?

I chose Mean Girls: High School Version as our spring musical because I think the show has a great message that most high school students can identify with. Mean Girls is all about what life is like for teens in high school—the pressure to fit in with the right group, or wear the right clothes, or sit at the right lunch table. Why must we change ourselves, and what makes us each unique, in order to fit in with the in-crowd? Cady Heron, the lead character of the musical, asks this question herself and in the end, she states, "I thought I had to change myself to be good enough. We all do that sometimes, I think. But looking at you guys from up here…. I wish you could see it. You're awesome." Mean Girls is a story about being proud of who you are and accepting those who are different from you. As Janis would say, "And even the people you don't like at all are still people." It's a great message for people of all ages, not just teens.

In what ways is the musical version different from the movie? 

The musical version has a lot more energy than the original movie, adding some very catchy songs and even an element of animal nature to the characters. Several times in the play, the high school students emulate wild animals to portray the often-vicious nature of teenagers. Another major difference is that Janis and Damien's characters lead us through the show, often narrating to the audience from their point of view. Also, to modernize this version, social media and cell phones are a large part of the plot. For reference, the original film was released the same year that Facebook launched. We can't portray a realistic view of teenage life without the use of social media and how teens use this to alienate and bully each other. 

How did you approach casting the show?

We had a weeklong audition process in which each student had to sing multiple song parts in the musical, learn a short choreography piece, and read acting sides from the script. As this is my first musical at GPS, I wanted to make sure I was seeing and hearing as much as I could from each student. After agreeing to a finalized cast list with the music director, Mr. Michael Lees, we presented the list so the students were able to accept their roles as a named character or ensemble member. 

What surprises do you think our audience will most enjoy (without revealing those surprises)?

I think the audience will really love the narration from Janis and Damien. They really keep you moving throughout the show and add an element of humor and fun to the story. The dances, choreographed by Jules Downum, are going to look amazing! I am already so impressed with how great the kids are doing. The music is modern and upbeat and will certainly keep the audience entertained. This show is hilarious and heartfelt, and I'm sure that everyone who has ever attended high school will find something to connect with. However, because of mature themes, we don't suggest the musical for children 12 and under. 

Friday, April 19th | 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 20th | 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 21st | 2:30 p.m.

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