By Brendan Miller on February 3, 2024.
Perhaps “nice production” is an understatement. Let us rephrase.
“Mean Girls, fantastic production” would better describe the feeling you’ll have after attending the Broadway production at Crescent Heights High School, but let’s just leave the headline as is – nice is simply the opposite of mean.
Crescent Heights is known for its rich theatre studies program and its deep commitment from its students as they are able to produce a high-quality Broadway experience here in Medicine Hat, and they do not disappoint.
The musical centres around the social hierarchy of high school and dives into teenage friendship, love and finding ones self-identity.
The production follows Cady, played by Grade 12 Bailey Streifel, who is the new girl trying to fit in at a Chicago high school. Cady quickly befriends Janis, played by Grade 12 Jorja Schlepp, and Damian, played by Grade 11 Matthew Smith.
Janis and Damian both act as the narration and do a great job of keeping the production flowing, but they also provide Cady with down-to-earth advice and treat her like a real friend throughout the play.
The talent both Schlepp and Smith possess becomes imminently clear after only a couple scenes. Schlepp adds raw and real emotions throughout the production, and her strong vocals resinate with the audience. Smith’s strong on-stage presence drives the direction of the show and his talent is on display as he delivers several comical moments throughout.
Cady is also accepted as a member of the ‘Plastics’ who act as the stereotypically popular girls clique played by a cast of wonderfully talented Grade 12 girls.
Gretchen, played by Elizabeth Andrei, and Karen, played by Kaitlyn Dieterle, are the other members of the ‘Plastics’ who spend the first half of the production trying to impress and stay friends with their ruthless leader Regina, played by Chanelle Wagner, who is a mastermind of manipulation.
Anderia, Dieterle and Wagner shine throughout the play with their strong and , at times, soft vocals. Each has their own “finding yourself” story woven throughout the main plot and each delivers a convincing and comical performance.
Cady’s crush Arron, played by Grade 11 Tyrel Page, is also Regina’s ex. Page is multi-talented and it shows under the spotlight as he not only plays the role convincingly, but his strong vocals truly compliment the many powerful female voices throughout the show.
Streifel’s performance of Cady is incredible, stealing the show in several scenes and leading with a captivating voice that will leave audiences wanting to hear more.
Streifel really finds her voice in the second act, rightfully receiving a large round of applause after her performance of “I See Stars,” the show’s climatic song.
The musical flows through transitions that provide comedy and humour, keeping the pace enjoyable while also breaking up some of the more serious adult themes that are explored.
A live band of community musicians succeed in making the show even more enjoyable, with audience members bopping heads and tapping toes throughout.
The dance numbers are well choreographed and performed, including a tap dance number as well as a flavour of hip-hop – a testament to the efforts of Grade 12 student choreographers Ella Hoffarth and Elizabeth Anderi.
Six productions remain, and tickets for $25 can be purchased at the door. Mean Girls runs Saturday at 7 p.m., as well as five shows between Feb. 6-10.