The ‘Mean Girls’ Musical Teaches Us ‘It Is Always Better to Choose Kindness’

At a time when our lives can be filled with chaos and confusion, the musical Mean Girls focuses on important themes for our community; primarily to treat others the way that you want to be treated and always strive for kindness.

This is one of many of reasons that we should support the Lower Moreland High School Drama Club’s production of Mean Girls being performed on Thursday, April 11, Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13.

For several months, the dedicated drama club students have been singing, dancing, and acting their hearts out in preparation for their upcoming stage triumph. Along the way, they have strengthened their friendship bonds and made new connections – all important life lessons for high school and beyond.

When Tina Fey, the award-winning writer-actor-producer, first came up with the 2004 Mean Girls movie, through the 2018 Broadway musical, the high school version, and the 2024 film revival, she says that her goal was “diversity and inclusion as a priority.”

As an involved member of the local Upper Darby Summer Stage, Fey knew that a show with five female leading parts would be great news for most schools.

 “As a former youth theater director, I hoped that letting students play characters their own age, with a story they can relate to, would be fun and lead to some great conversations,” Fey said in notes that accompany the script.

Adapted from the hit 2004 film, Mean Girls is a satire that tells the story of Cady Heron, who starts high school at 16, after being homeschooled in Africa for the first 15 years of her life. Cady quickly crosses paths with “The Plastics,” a group of popular girls who rule the school through intimidation, backstabbing, and bullying.

Originally joining their clique as a joke, Cady finds herself sucked into their world and discovers the dark side of high school friendships.

Cast members in the Lower Moreland High School Drama Club’s production of Mean Girls

High school sophomore Adrienne Nicastro portrays Cady Heron, a fish out of water, who is attending school for the first time in high school after moving with her single mom from Africa.

A fan of the musical since 7th grade with her sights on a career in musical theater, Nicastro said she is enjoying her role and the process. “Just joking around and laughing with the cast is probably my favorite part, and this show is hilarious!”

So, why should everyone turn out for Lower Moreland High School’s spring musical? “I encourage the community to see Mean Girls because not only does it have a great message,” Nicastro added, “but it is also just such a good time and so iconic! Fans of the new and old movies will not be disappointed!”

High School Senior Ellie Lynch, who portrays ‘bad girl’ Regina George, has been performing in school plays since third grade and has loved the first Mean Girls movie since middle school.

“Regina is more complicated than just being the nemesis of the story,” Lynch explained. “Initially, she is  acting like the boss, but in the end, she evolves and through it all, she is still human.”

Lynch, who is preparing to head to New York University as a Communications major, says that the drama club has given her a great foundation for her life’s goals. “I love to sing in drama club and the school choir being surrounded by loving people who have great energy, especially after a long day of classes. What more could I ask for?”

Julie Zesinger, is enjoying her role as Mean Girls teacher Ms. Norbury, (the role played by Tina Fey in both Mean Girls movies, being part of an ensemble, as well as singing and dancing. “I am also loving all of the pink!” she said.

The high school senior who plans to major in acting appreciates the messages of the show – “Always be yourself and do not get yourself too caught up in the social hubbub of high school! Be you!”

She said that the camaraderie in drama club is definitely one of the benefits. “This is something I have always admired about the club, even during elementary school. So, I am so happy to be a part of it. I love getting to meet all of the different people that participate and getting to be friends with people in different grades is extremely fun as well!”

Zesinger said that the community should turn out in large numbers. “It is a really fun show to watch and to be a part of. There will be lots of laughs and there is lots of talent; so make sure you come!”

Rehearsing for the Lower Moreland High School Drama Club’s production of Mean Girls

Leah Abramson, the club’s advisor and show director, has been directing theater at the Lower Moreland School District for 22 years and is thoroughly enjoying the Mean Girls material and the process.

What we learn from the words of the Mean Girls song, A Cautionary Tale, is that “being mean, like being kind, is a choice. Whether we choose one over the other is often motivated by our unique set of circumstances, such as the social situation, setting, and our emotions,”  explained Abramson, who is also a beloved Pine Road Elementary School teacher. “You are who you hang out with. There is a proverb, ‘Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ ”

In Mean Girls, the director adds, this is completely relevant. “Although Cady didn’t expect meanness to come so naturally to her, she started to resemble The Plastics after spending a lot of time with them. The message is: Be careful the next time you choose your friends… even if it is just for a social experiment. It is always better to choose kindness.”

Cast members in the Lower Moreland High School Drama Club’s production of Mean Girls

Mean Girls Choreographer/Assistant Director Jennie Kelly who has been involved in the school productions for four years, said that there was strong interest from the club members in doing this show. She added that the camaraderie of the drama club is another important aspect of the process.

“As the production staff we strive to have the drama club be a place where all students feel welcome,” Kelly added, “but it is the students who we get to see carry this action through. It has been great seeing our new members welcomed into the club with open arms, and I hope to only see these bonds strengthen as years go on.” 

Among two of the ‘trouble makers’ in Mean Girls are Janis and Damian, best friends who encourage Cady to make Regina’s life miserable by undertaking several devious deeds.

Real-life best friends since the 5th grade and high school seniors Madison Heller and Luke Cullen play these roles in the current production.

 “We are so excited about this multi-faceted and iconic musical,” said Heller, who is heading to Villanova next year to major in communications. “Everyone will love it, especially people our age. If you saw the original movie, or the new one, you will love our high school version of the Broadway musical.”

She adds that the show is “the epitome of a coming-of-age story,” and praises Fey for understanding all of the complexities and teen angst that remain in high school, some 20 years after the original movie.

Cullen, who is heading to West Chester University in the fall to study biology, said he and his friends have been fascinated with the Mean Girls musical for many years.

“I love that Damien is the comic relief for the show,” he said. “The show is a rejection of all the stereotypes in the world and the message that being true to yourself is the best thing for all of us. Being different and unique is not negative. It’s amazing!”

Mean Girls performances are on Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m.; Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, April 13, at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Lower Moreland High School Auditorium, 555 Red Lion Road, Huntingdon Valley, PA. 19006. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. 

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