There’s something wonderful about ‘Mean Girls’

By Hollyann Gardner
Times-News correspondent 
   For many young people, the response to bullies and “mean girls” is to dehumanize them and see them as nothing more than plastic.
   This is what the musical “Mean Girls” at the Durham Performing Arts Center is all about. Based on the beloved 2004 movie, this production brings the story alive with energetic pop-style numbers, all while keeping in all the characters and lines we love to quote.
   The show follows former Kenya-dwelling homeschooler Cady Heron (Danielle Wade) finding where she belongs in the public high school scene. She meets loveable duo Janis (English Bernhardt) and Damian (Eric Htuffman), but also gets sucked into the world of the “Plastics”- Regina (Mariah Rose Faith), Gretchen (Megan Masako Haley), and Karen (Olivia Renteria). Throughout the story, Cady goes on a journey of self-growth, as well as learning lessons about friendship and being yourself along the way.
       Wade absolutely shines as the leading girl with her sweet but powerful vocals and a well-developed character persona. Her infectious smile and energy are nothing short of inspiring for young and old performers alike.
    Faith, Haley, and Renteria are an iconic trio of actresses. “World Burn”, Regina’s Act 2 villain power song, is one of the biggest highlights of the production. Haley and Renteria bounce off both each other and Faith perfectly as queen bee Regina’s cohorts.
    Bernhardt and Huffman only add to the immense levels of talent with their wonderful chemistry and down-to-earth relatability.
    Also notable is the unforgettable ensemble. Without these performers, the show would simply not be the same. The choreography and movement by director Casey Nicholaw adds detail and dynamics to every scene.
    “Mean Girls” is a production that no one will wish to miss. Whether they are currently in high school or that stage of life is long gone, this is a story for everyone about how to treat all kinds of people in life.
    Showtimes are 8 p.m. Feb. 13-15, 2020, and 1 pm. and 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets range from $53 to $170 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
Hollyann Gardner is a high school senior at Alamance Community College and a Teens & 20s writer.
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