Many of us are familiar with Mean Girls. I’m not just talking about the caddy, manipulative and vicious girls we all grew up with in high school but the popular 2004 film written by the super funny Tina Fey — which was based on a non-fiction book titled Queen Bees and the Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Now we have the musical adaptation and it’s currently here in Toronto.

If you’re not familiar with the story line, Mean Girls is a coming of age story about  a teenage girl, Cady Heron (English Bernhardt), who tries to fit in at a new high school in the suburbs of Chicago. What’s different about her? She was homeschooled all her life while growing up in Kenya with her family. Navigating her school schedule is one thing but making new friends (and frenemies), finding her first crush, and discovering who she really is are lessons that she will never forget. And is it really so terrible for a girl to excel in math (yeah STEM!) and be  admired by the cutest boy in the school who so happens to be the school’s biggest mean girl’s ex-boyfriend?

North Shore High School is full of cliques and the cafeteria serves as a perfect overview. We have the jocks, rich kids, mathletes, geeks, and so on. Then, we are introduced to the Plastics — the popular pink wearing girls that everyone appears to worship.

Queen Bee, Regina George (Nadina Hassan) rules this kingdom. Along with her adoring subjects Gretchen Wieners (Jasmine Rogers) who is always looking for validation and Karen Smith (Morgan Ashley Bryant) who’s just happy to be here, the trio let’s it be known that they will swallow anyone who dares to cross them in anyway.

When Cady enters North Shore’s territory, all eyes shifted onto her, the new girl. Initial acceptance with the outcasts (deemed the furthest from the social elite) and new found friends including the rebellious and misunderstood Janis Sarkisian (Lindsay Heather Pearce) and the charmingly joyful Damian Hubbard (Eric Huffman) made her feel a sense of belonging. When they discovered this homeschooled girl was accepted into the inner circles of the Plastics, curiosity got the best of them. What was it like to be with the most popular girls? Janis and Eric pushed her into the lioness’s den for intel.

But let’s get things straight here, Cady wasn’t accepted because Regina think she’s cool. Cady was considered a potential threat to Regina with all the attention she garnered as the new girl in town. What’s that saying? Hold your friends close and your enemies closer? Regina had one eye on her and made it clear to everyone who was on top of the food chain.

But everyone in high school just wants to fit in.  Cady’s acceptance into the Plastics came with a long list of rules. You can only sit with them if you’ve been invited and if you adhered to the daily dress code — “on Wednesdays we wear pink” and “you can only wear a ponytail once a week” are just two of them.

Then, there was the sizzling Burn Book full of secrets on students and teachers of North Shore High. To be mentioned in the book, good or otherwise, was acknowledgement that you actually existed.

Mean Girls is a young musical that found its way to Broadway in 2018. Of course, like the rest of the world, everything came to a grinding halt due to the pandemic. Now the production has resumed and is currently here in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre (Mirvish Productions).

For original Mean Girls fans, like us, you’ll LOVE how many of the iconic one-liners are incorporated into the musical. You’ll also discover some new zingers like Karen’s iPhone reference that continues to solidify Tina Fey as a Queen Bee herself (but in a good way) with her incredible sense of humour and timing.

The storyline is also refreshed with social media bringing up the Plastics and everyone else at North Shore High to current day status for today’s selfie and TikTok generation.

The music itself, has a few songs that we can already see becoming hits including  “I See Stars” sung by Cady, Janis and the full company. It pulls on all the heartstrings and reminds us all that we can shine on no matter what. Seeing as this is a new musical it may just take a few rounds  to see which songs will end up on our karaoke musical playlist. Give it a few years to sink in. Composer, Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 30 Rock), and lyricist, Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), were both nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score in 2018 for Mean Girls.

Mean Girls Musical-Tina Fey-Mirvish

(L-R): English Bernhardt (Cady Heron), Jasmine Rogers (Gretchen Wieners), Nadina Hassan (Regina George), Morgan Ashley Bryant (Karen Smith), Lindsay Heather Pearce (Janis Sarkisian) – Credit: © 2022 Jenny Anderson

I had a chance to chat with Nadina Hassan to find out what’s it like to play the ultimate Mean Girl, Regina!

What was it like auditioning for this iconic character?

Nadina: Oh my gosh, it was so, so, incredible! I couldn’t believe it when it came across my email. Being in college when the musical came out and seeing women of colour on stage was pretty cool. I actually thought I would play the character of Gretchen as I identified with that character more. It never even crossed my mind that I could play Regina. So, it was really cool when the team trusted me with this material. I’m so honoured to be able to carry on this legacy.

The casting was incredible and it was pretty awesome to see the diversity in the characters yet I don’t feel like it was a distraction in anyway from the storyline!

Nadina: Yeah there’s nothing specific in the script that says a character has to be one way or another. So, I really appreciated the creative team’s open mindedness about casting these characters as women of colour. It’s really cool.

What did you find interesting about your character, Regina? 

Nadina: On the surface she’s the head mean girl – the bitchiest of them all or whatever you want to call her. But playing her and working with the director it was cool to see how calculated and manipulative she really is. Regina is not just flat out mean, she has a plan. Everything is pre-meditated. Everything is thought through. How she behaves with each character is very different and her intelligence plays a role in how she behaves.

What’s your favourite Regina scene?

Nadina: From the musical, I love anytime Regina interacts with Cady in act one, there’s a lot of that calculated behaviour.  I love the Halloween scene before my song “Someone Gets Hurt” with Cady and Aaron. It’s a lot of fun playing into that “woah is me” feeling. She’s very manipulative.

If you could define Regina in three words?

Nadina: Calculated. Insecure. Powerful.

We all have our favourite one liners in the movie and but there’s also flowing with new lines. What are your favourite Mean Girls lines (old or new)?

Nadina: “She doesn’t even go here!” is definitely incredible. But Karen has some great lines. We also say, “There’s no way way of knowing!” a lot in the musical and I don’t think it’s in the movie. It’s always the answer.

The musical tells the same story but also made relatable for today’s audience not just teens …but also for uh, the cool social media moms. (lol and looks in the mirror). I also noticed the Mean Girls musical company has started @changeisfetch  instagram account, can you tell us more about that?

Nadina: One of our company members, Kaitlyn Smith, was really looking for a way for our company as a whole to reach out to the cities and communities we were touring. We wanted to get involved in these cities so the company built an incredible platform to help others within the communities. We go to shelters, food banks, and we also give tickets out to communities that may not be able to afford to see a Broadway theatre production. It’s really cool because it’s all done through social media. The team, including cast members, are really proactive about it all.

We love Tina Fey and April Josephine in this production did such an incredible job portraying Tina’s character from the movie. I swear it was Tina Fey. Have you ever met Tina?

Nadina: I haven’t met her yet but I’m really hoping to. I’ve been such a big fan of hers since I was a kid.

By the way, you’re really pretty!

Nadina: Thank you so much!

So…you really think you’re pretty? 

Nadina: Laughs. Oh, that’s my line!

Mean Girls the musical (book by Tina Fey, music by Jeff Richmond, and lyrics by Nell Benjamin, directed by Casey Nicholaw) is now on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto until November 27, 2022. For tickets visit (pssst…there are rush seats too!)

What else is happening in Toronto this November? Link here!