If you told 11-year-old Liz, who ran a Broadway fan page with her friends, that the “Mean Girls” musical was turned into a movie—she might have stopped breathing. 

The “Mean Girls” musical soundtrack was arguably one of my favorites and the movie itself is one that I continue to rewatch today. My friends and I would regularly post about Ashley Park, who played Gretchen, and Reneé Rapp who took over for Taylor Louderman.

The only reason I knew that the new “Mean Girls” movie was a musical was because I knew Rapp. If I didn’t know who she was, as many people don’t, I wouldn’t have known it was a musical since they didn’t broadcast it as such. 

I had no idea it was a musical before I saw one clip of Rapp singing. If I hadn’t seen that, I would have had no idea.

Fairfield Student Caroline Hart ’26

If you google “Mean Girls Remake,” it’s broadcasted as simply “Mean Girls”—not “Mean Girls (The Musical)” or “Mean Girls The Movie: Musical…in a very “High School Musical the Musical the Series” fashion.

While the nature of it being a musical or not didn’t bother me, I can see why it has bothered many non-theater fans. “Mean Girls” is a cult classic that has a huge following. 

Remakes in general are difficult to find success with. There have been numerous reboots of children’s television shows that have failed, like Ravens Home or Fuller House, because they tried to appeal to too many audiences at once—either the new, younger fans, or the grownup fans who watched the original when they were younger. 

For example, one critic said this about the Fuller House reboot: “In practice, it’s just a stark example of how nostalgia looks best at a hazy distance.”

“Mean Girls” ran into that issue as they were trying to appeal to fans of the movie as well as fans of the musical.

Theater has a very small fan base. There have been remakes where casting is altered slightly, but that still appeals to general audiences. However, I’ve found that people either love or absolutely hate theater, so many viewers were upset when they paid for movie tickets to then discover it was a musical. 

Many TikTok users posted videos of themselves either leaving the theater half way through, or laughing when the characters broke out into song. 

Fairfield sophomore Caroline Hart said, “I had no idea it was a musical before I saw one clip of Rapp singing. If I hadn’t seen that, I would have had no idea.” 

However, it being a musical didn’t appeal to the theater fan base either.

Movies adapted from musicals are typically very hit or miss with critics and audiences. “Chicago,” for example, was a musical turned into a movie that did spectacularly in theaters and even won several Oscars. “The Sound of Music” is another movie-musical that is a classic film, which people have been rewatching for decades. 

I wish I was alive…or at least old enough to remember how they advertised these movies, but the overall production value is what made people look over the music. 

Other movie-musicals like “Hairspray,” advertised to musical fans. I rewatch it regularly but none of my non-theater-geek friends have watched it. Same goes for films like “Sweeney Todd,” “Cabaret” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Film creators knew who to market to.

The creators of the “Mean Girls” film tried too hard to appeal to the general public as well as fans of the movie. They didn’t advertise the film as a musical. My theory is that they wanted to convince those who wouldn’t typically watch a musical to get tickets. 

“I didn’t see the movie, but I saw a bunch of TikToks complaining that it was a musical,” said Julian Nazario ‘26. “If I hadn’t seen those videos, I would have had no idea it was a musical.”

Based on the audience response, that plan backfired negatively. 

They also adjusted many of the songs to be less...theater. And that’s really hard to describe if you haven’t listened to a musical, but I would suggest you listen to “Stupid With Love,” from the musical soundtrack and then the movie soundtrack. This made pretty much every fan of the musical upset. 

Personally, I didn’t watch “slime tutorials” of the musical for years just for them to cast a Cady Heron who couldn’t sing.

As a fan of the musical, I was disappointed at the music. But the movie itself was not terrible. I thought it was really fun, and Regina (Rapp) and Damien (Jaquel Spivey) stole the show for me. 

Many people are using their distaste for Broadway to make offensive remarks about the new cast, however. Many people have also been body shaming the new Regina George, Rapp, with one twitter user writing, “New Regina George just dropped. Except she’s mid and fat now. ???”

My issues with the film do not lie at all with the cast, except maybe Angourie Rice, but rather the makers of the film. 

They tried to do so much at once that they didn’t actually accomplish anything entirely. It felt very strongly like a parody of Mean Girls that you would see done on YouTube.

By Liz Morin

English (Creative Writing) and Digital Journalism || Politics Minor

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