‘Mean Girls’ Musical Star Erika Henningsen on Tina Fey & the Musical’s Powerful Message

Tina Fey’s musical adaptation of “Mean Girls,” her 2004 hit comedy, has translated from screen to stage seamlessly — so much so that the new Broadway hit received 12 Tony Award nominations today.

Tina Fey Mean Girls Broadway Premiere
Tina Fey at the Broadway premiere of “Mean Girls.”
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

The film, which starred Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Lizzy Caplan, brings on a new cast of female talent, and it comes at a fitting time.

“This [women’s] movement is reaching the apex at the time we are opening this musical,” Erika Henningsen, who stars as Cady Heron in the musical, told FN at Variety‘s Power of Women event last month. “It’s a privilege that art is imitating life right now.”

“Tina [Fey] is so witty and so funny, and she disguises this heartfelt, honest message underneath this fun musical comedy. It’s special to see that,” Henningsen added. “People are responding to the comedy, obviously. [But] the message is, you don’t have to tear each other down to feel good or feel successful. The message sneaks up on you, and I think it catches people by surprise. You’re going to walk away from the musical feeling moved, and that’s totally due to Tina’s writing.”

Erika Henningsen Mean Girls
Erika Henningsen wearing a Theory pantsuit and Steve Madden heels at the “Mean Girls” musical premiere.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

For Henningsen, watching Fey take the lead has been a significant learning experience.

She said, “Seeing how [Fey] was able to work with all the moving parts and hear everyone’s ideas and staying true to her own writing — it was really impressive. She has no ego. It was a special thing to watch and witness every day.”

The 2018 Tony Awards will be held on June 10.

“Mean Girls” has been nominated in the following musical categories: Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Design, Best Direction, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.

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