Get in, loser. We’re watching Mean Girls at Bradford High School!

The entire cast of Mean Girls. Photo taken by Nobert Otieno

by Alexa Sanchez-Nava, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Alexa Sanchez-Nava

Bradford music director Holly Stanfield stood, microphone in hand, in the steady, round stage lights shining from the light booth. The auditorium clamored in excitement, suddenly still as she welcomed every guest and expressed her appreciation for those attending KUSD’s’ pilot of the high school musical Mean Girls

Audrey Gahart. Photo taken by Nobert Otieno

The excitement of the cast seemed to be unanimous when Mean Girls was announced last year as the first fall performance of 2022 featuring students across the district. “I was so excited; ever since I was probably in 5th grade I was singing Stupid with Love all the time because I love that song so much,” Audrey Gahart, an ITHS sophomore playing Cady Heron mentioned enthusiastically.

Devon Henningfield, a Bradford senior playing Damian Franzese in the main cast, said, “Oh, I was beyond excited. It’s an iconic musical, it’s an iconic movie. After covid [hit], we had an interesting lineup of shows last year, but then this year when it was announced we actually found out earlier last year, we were all so ready for it.” 

Cast as Jason W. and an ensemble member, Orlando Moore, an ITHS sophomore, remarked with equal enthusiasm: “I immediately started watching it, because I did not know what Mean Girls was, but I have heard of it and it was a very good show and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

Holly Stanfield. Photo taken by Nobert Otieno

Stanfield mentioned a few novel renovations to the Bradford auditorium this year, some of which included lights and a new frame along the shape of the rectangular stage. “We did get new lights which is much easier because we don’t have to go in the light board and handpick colors they’re already pre-set for us which is really nice,” said Brianna Griffin, one of the assistant stage managers of the show. 

“We also had to learn how to use the projectors because we obviously don’t have a set now,” Griffin added. In addition to the lights, the stage was equipped with projectors controlled by the crew, rather than having a stationary set that would rarely change throughout the performance. These projectors displayed images that would adapt to the frequent scenery transitions and particular characters’ songs/monologues. 

Along with the actors’ performances, the lights and projected images swayed in time with the characters’ moods, transitioning smoothly as each scene played out. The stage also had several moving set pieces: stairs, stalls, doors, desks, benches, and projectors that let the audience feel immersed in the Mean Girls world. The props were strategically placed across the stage almost seamlessly by the stage crew and were essential in tying every other piece of choreography, visuals, and acting together.

The choreography ranged from short segments of ballet-like moves, line dancing, traditional broadway-like dancing, and tap dancing, not to mention the ensemble’s captivating use of lunch trays. Audience members couldn’t help but move in rhythm with their contagious energy. 

Devon Henningfield. Photo taken by Nobert Otieno

In regards to the performance of the actors, they embodied the well-known characters in the best way possible. With this iteration of Mean Girls being a pilot version, the cast was truly able to make these characters their own and set the foundation for future performances. “It’s fun that I can kind of create something for myself and the character that is not based on Broadway,” Henningfield adds. 

The singing complimented their dynamic portrayals in tandem, one unable to exist without the other. The ensemble changing with each colorful scene made each number fuller than the last, keeping the audience guessing in anticipation for which outfits they might don next. In addition, the vast range of deadpan and raunchy jokes (save for a couple of lines that have not aged in the best way) seemed to land with the Bradford audience as intended, evoking unanimous laughter that filled the room; needless to say the love and passion invested in this show were apparent in every line, smile, and melody shared in each minute of the production. 

“This was, again, a really really fun show to be in, and I just love the cast so much they’re all a huge family to me,” Gahart said.

“Just, carry the message of the show in your hearts. You should be yourselves and be proud of yourselves,” Stanfield shared as a closing message to her wonderful cast and audience.