NEW YORK — Mean Girls is back. This time with smartphones.
The cult classic film, a 2004 comedy about high school girls, has been adapted as a stage musical, and the adaptation is set in the present time. That means the Plastics have Snapchat and Instagram in their arsenal.
The musical is heading to Broadway next spring — beginning previews March 12 and opening April 8 at the August Wilson Theatre — following a run at the National Theatre in Washington from Oct 31 to Dec 3. The musical features the same characters and the same basic storyline as the film.
Tina Fey, the comedian who has already succeeded in television, on film and with a memoir, has written the musical’s book, based on the film’s screenplay, which she also wrote. The music is composed by her husband, Jeff Richmond, with lyrics by Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”). The show is being directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).
Lorne Michaels, the musical’s lead producer, said adapting and updating the show provided an opportunity for improvement.
“There are lots of things you can do better in a musical,” he said. “The characters are fuller.”
Michaels, of course, is best known as the creator and executive producer of Saturday Night Live. He has a bit of Broadway experience, albeit on a much smaller scale — in 1979, he co-produced, co-wrote and directed a revue starring Gilda Radner, and in 1998 he co-produced a one-man play featuring Colin Quinn. But he said he has been meeting with Broadway veterans, trying to better understand commercial theatre.
“Even though I work four blocks away, the scale of this is really remarkable,” he said. “It’s been a big learning experience.”
He said he is concerned about the intense competition on Broadway, which is at the start of a season with multiple well-known titles (SpongeBob SquarePants, Frozen, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Escape to Margaritaville, to name a few). But, he said, “People have been really kind and really helpful — people want it to work — and, in the end, more hits is better for everyone there.”
He said he is confident in the strength of the basic material, but that in Washington the creative team would be looking at issues like pacing.
“The expectation is going to be really high for it,” he said. “And we’re all devoted to it. We want it to be remarkable, and getting there is difficult.”
Michaels is sharing producer credits with Paramount Pictures, and with Stuart Thompson — an unusual move because Thompson died last month.
“He was a huge part of it,” Michaels said. “He was an amazing man, and for me, a mentor.”
The cast includes Erika Henningsen as Cady Heron, Taylor Louderman as Regina George, Ashley Park as Gretchen Wieners and Kate Rockwell as Karen Smith. THE NEW YORK TIMES