Podculture: Southwest area residents attend “Mean Girls: The Musical” for free

Clay Lawhead and Nafi Soumare

NAFI SOUMARE: From the Daily Northwestern, I’m Nafi Soumare.

CLAY LAWHEAD: And I’m Clay Lawhead.

NAFI SOUMARE: And this is Podculture, a podcast covering arts and entertainment on and around Northwestern’s campus. This week, Southwest area residents had the opportunity to see “Mean Girls” the musical live at James M. Nederlander Theatre, with all costs being paid for by the University.

CLAY LAWHEAD: Weinberg freshman Delaney Glassner was one of those lucky students.

DELANEY GLASSNER: My friends and I saw the suggestion of it, and then when he announced that it was going to happen in one email, we all set reminders for the time when tickets are gonna come out. And then we all signed up. I am a fan of musicals — I already saw “Mean Girls,” but it was free this time, so I was like, I’ll see it again!

CLAY LAWHEAD: Despite her excitement, she wasn’t a big fan of the musical itself.

DELANEY GLASSNER: I think that it is a perfectly average show. It’s not like that special. It’s kind of just the movie as a musical.

NAFI SOUMARE: Unlike Delaney, not everyone was so lucky. Communications freshman Julia Poetzinger went through a lot of trouble to obtain her spot in the raffle.

JULIA POETZINGER: I actually went to a movie the night the raffle opened, so I had to apologize ahead of time, like, “I’m sorry. I’m going to be on my phone at the very beginning of the movie because I need to refresh this to try to get into the raffle.” And then I didn’t get into the raffle anyway. So then I was like, “Oh well, those things sell out fast. Life is life.” And then, I was having a perfectly normal night, the night that “Mean Girls” was going on when my roommate texted the group chat, the Chapin group chat, saying that there was an extra ticket and people should come claim it if they wanted to go. And I was like, “Well, I’ll go and see Mean Girls,” so I ran over to Willard and claimed the ticket.

Poetzinger came into the show with some prior background knowledge.

JULIA POETZINGER: I pretty much only listen to musicals. I’m a theatre major. I really enjoy theatre and especially musicals. I thought it was really well done. I really loved the songs and the choreography, and their set was amazing. That’s not something I always noticed, but I definitely noticed their set. They did a great job with that. Having already seen the movie, the ending threw me off a little bit because they changed a few things, but I thought overall they did a really good job with it.

NAFI SOUMARE: Medill freshman Jude Cramer didn’t see the show with Southwest area residents. He got to see the show with his family.

JUDE CRAMER: They came to Chicago because my dad runs a freelance theatre company and he leads tours to Broadway in Chicago shows. This year they chose Mean Girls, and they let me tag along.

CLAY LAWHEAD: The spectacle was there, but the acting was what troubled Cramer.

JUDE CRAMER: I would say that choreography and singing were the standout aspects of the show. The choreography was super athletic and intricate, just really a spectacle to watch. And the singing, you know, all these people are belting their faces off impossible notes. It’s definitely a very engaging experience, in that sense. The acting fell flat for the most part because these actors are trying to replicate or at least riff off of these established iconic film characters, so if you’re not up to the standard set by the original actors, then the audience will take note of it.

NAFI SOUMARE: Now, Clay and I both had the opportunity to see the show as well, so, Clay, what would you say is the verdict?

CLAY LAWHEAD: I absolutely loved it! I agree with Delaney in saying that it’s essentially just the movie in musical form, but it was a fun ride all the way through nonetheless. Jude made a very good point that movie to musical adaptations are only successful when you elevate this already loved story through the medium of the musical.

NAFI SOUMARE: Absolutely. I agreed that it was a fun watch, but the pacing was something that really bothered me. There were certain songs that I wished would go on forever, [cough] REVENGE PARTY [cough] but there were others that I couldn’t wait to be over! I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people who aren’t familiar with the movie, either.

CLAY LAWHEAD: Thanks for listening. Tune in next Monday for another episode of Podculture.

NAFI SOUMARE: This episode was reported and produced by Clay Lawhead, Wilson Chapman and Nafi Soumare. It was edited by Kalen Luciano and Heena Srivastava. The editor in chief of The Daily Northwestern is Troy Closson.

Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Twitter: @nafisoumare, @omqclaydoh

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