Washington, D.C.'s National Theatre just announced its 2017-18 season, which includes the world premiere of Tina Fey's film-to-musical Mean Girls, which could land on Broadway next spring. The show runs October 31 through December 3, after which we expect that book writer Fey, and songwriters Jeff Richmond (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) will tweak the material. The director and choreographer is hitmaker Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten! The Book of Mormon).
From the press release: “We’re thrilled to present another magnetic Broadway season at the National Theatre, including the World Premiere of the new musical Mean Girls prior to Broadway,” said Steve Traxler, president of Jam Theatricals. “One of our main objectives with the National is to continue its long history as the home for premieres of landmark American musicals, while continuing to present the best of Broadway and exciting new concert residencies.”
Why, you may ask, is this major new musical opening in D.C. and not directly on Broadway? It's a long and very practical tradition called the out-of-town tryout. Producers don't want to open cold on Broadway. They test-drive the show somewhere else, get critical and audience reactions, make changes, then (they hope) ride a hype and marketing wave to NYC victory.
If Mean Girls does graduate to the Great White Way, Fey will be a newbie, but one of her producers has more experience. Lorne Michaels, Fey's boss from her Saturday Night Live days, is co-producing with Stuart Thompson. Michaels has two previous Broadway producing credits: a Gilda Radnor stage vehicle from 1979, and Colin Quinn–An Irish Wake (1998). This will be Michaels's biggest theatrical endeavor ever, and we have high hopes that he and Fey bring the funny.
In case you never saw the 2004 Paramount film, here's a refresher: "After years of living with her zoologist parents in Africa, Cady Heron moves to Illinois and must find where she fits in the social hierarchy. A sweet, naive newbie, Cady quickly attracts the attention of the Plastics, a trio of popular frenemies led by the vicious and calculating Regina George. When Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung."