Mean Girls

Fans of the 2004 film Mean Girls will not be disappointed by the musical adaptation of the film that opens at Washington D.C.’s National Theater today.

Mean Girls begins with the homeschooled Cady Heron (Erika Henningsen) moving from Kenya to Illinois to begin her junior year of high school at North Shore High School. She meets two self-proclaimed “loners,” Janis (Barrett Weed) and Damian (Grey Henson), who decide to help Cady acclimate to the American high school environment. Cady also meets three popular girls who make up a clique called “the Plastics:” Gretchen Weiners (Ashley Park), Karen Smith (Kate Rockwell), and queen bee Regina George (Taylor Louderman). The Plastics invite Cady to join their lunch table, and Janis suggests that Cady use this opportunity to sabotage the evil Regina and her friends.

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The Band’s Visit

The Band’s Visit begins with the following words appearing on a scrim at the front of the stage: “Not long ago, a band came to Israel from Egypt. You probably never heard about it. It wasn’t very important.”

In contrast to that statement, what emerges is absolutely an important story. The Band’s Visit is a story about the good that can come from cultural exchange. The Egyptian police band from Alexandria revitalizes the Israeli desert town of Bet Hatikvah after the residents bemoan how boring the town is in the show’s opening number. Continue reading

Cells Phones in the Theater

If you’ve seen Waitress on Broadway, you know that the show begins with a catchy tune from the show’s writer, Sara Bareilles, that reminds audience members to turn off any cell phones before the show starts. The lyrics of this song include, “No one’s gonna like you if your phone rings.” While every Broadway show includes a pre-show announcement with the same message, few are as clever and funny as the one at Waitress.

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After Anatevka

Anyone who has seen Fiddler on the Roof knows that Hodel, Tevye’s second daughter, gets on a train to Siberia early in the musical’s second act and is never heard from again. In her novel, After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber, imagines Hodel’s life in prison camps in Siberia with her Socialist husband, Perchik.

While After Anatevka features many characters and scenarios from Fiddler on the Roof, knowledge of the musical is not necessary to read and enjoy the novel. Silber introduces each of the characters and provides all necessary background information.

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Stage Door Etiquette 

This morning, I saw a tweet attacking Ben Platt, the Tony-winning star of Dear Evan Hansen, for not greeting fans after the show at the stage door. The Twitter user went so far as to call him an asshole. Ben, as the classy man he is, wrote a thoughtful post about needing to take care of himself in order to do his best work. For him, this often means going home right after a show. (His Twitter handle is @bensplatt. Go read it.)

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