Tina Fey and “Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels are revving up for what they’re calling a “developmental lab” of their “Mean Girls” musical.
The script, which Fey adapted from her popular 2004 movie, has gone out to just about every Broadway actress under 30 who can pass for a teenager. Casey Nicholaw, who’s directing, has seen a batch of them, though none has been cast yet for the “lab,” which will take place in April.
Fey once joked that Broadway wouldn’t see “Mean Girls” until 2027, “or whenever ‘Hamilton’ closes.” But barring any workshop mishaps, the show is on a fast track. It’s slated to play a tryout in the fall at Washington, DC’s National Theatre and open in New York in the spring of 2018.
Actors who’ve read scenes from the script say it sticks fairly close the movie, which features Lindsay Lohan as a transfer student trying to pick her way through a minefield of teenage social circles.
“What I got was very funny,” a source says. “Some of the jokes from the movie are there, but there are new ones as well. The characters are big and fun to play.”
Theater sources say there’s been some discussion about whether to cast a star in the Lohan role, but it’s probably not essential. “Mean Girls” is an A-list title, guaranteed to lure the teen crowd as well as women who were teens when the film came out.
And although she’s not going to perform in it, Fey’s name anywhere on the marquee is sure to be a draw.
Performers praise the jaunty score by Fey’s husband, composer Jeff Richmond, and lyricist Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”). Richmond wrote music for both “SNL” and Fey’s sitcom “30 Rock.” He’s said to be a big Broadway buff who was delighted to write incidental music for last season’s revival of “Fully Committed” with Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Veteran producer Stuart Thompson (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”) is helping Michaels navigate the Broadway terrain. Michaels co-produced Colin Quinn’s one-man show “An Irish Wake” on Broadway in 1998. And he was instrumental in bringing the late, great Gilda Radner’s “Live From New York” stage show to the Winter Garden in 1979.
“Live From New York,” by the way, was one of my favorite comedy albums as a kid. I can still sing every word to “Let’s Talk Dirty to the Animals.” A few clips are available on YouTube, and you can find it on Amazon.
Sources say “Mean Girls” is expected to cost about $15 million. It’s going to have a big cast, big production numbers, big hair and plenty of pink, especially on Wednesdays. As Amanda Seyfried’s Karen Smith puts it in the film: “On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”