BRHS stages 'Mean Girls Jr.'

Mon, 04/29/2024 - 6:15pm

Boothbay Region High School Drama presented four shows of “Mean Girls Jr.” April 25-27 in the school’s auditorium. The show was teeming with laughs and marked the final BRHS performance for eight seniors. 

Sophia Mansfield shined as Cady Heron, the regulation-hottie and naïve protagonist who sidesteps through the minefields of high school social dynamics in this fish-out-of-water story. Unsure of her position in several school cliques, she stumbles through the repercussions of both being bullied and bullying others before transforming back into the character she began as.

Mansfield, juxtaposed with Sarah Harris as Regina George, the love-to-hate lead manipulator who puts the ‘mean’ in Mean Girls, delivers the story’s hard lessons. Few actors have the commanding stage presence Harris lends the cast: strong vocals, talented acting, sweet dance moves, and total devotion to character. Check out her choreography credits.

Suzie Edwards didn’t just make fetch happen; she achieved fetch perfection. Lacey Chabert would do well to take notes from Edwards’s performance. Known for her powerhouse vocals, Edwards surprised and delighted with notably her best acting performance of her BRHS career as Gretchen Wieners, the one-day heiress to the Toaster Strudel empire. Her signature curls were straightened, she donned plaid minis, pink on Wednesdays of course, and that scream, wow, that scream has molecularly bound with the plaster walls and will undoubtedly haunt the halls of the high school for decades to come.

It’s possible Tina Fey owes Kai Pitcher money. She out-Karen’ed any Karen before her as everyone’s favorite Mean Girl, Karen Smith. Words cannot convey the brilliance Pitcher delivered as a dull-witted, tragically beautiful, plastic navigating the world of high school and whatever other ethereal plane she inhabits. The funniest moments, the largest laughs, costumes worthy of an art school dissertation, Pitcher’s final performance at BRHS was history-making.

It takes a certain disposition to pull off the role of Kevin G.; a special blend of hip-hop poser meets Mathlete, so of course, Matthias Fanslau wore that character the way most people wear bathrobes – a comfortable second skin. Fanslau leaves big shoes to fill as he graduates; part actor, part stunt man, a true original that cannot be duplicated or replaced. He began acting on the BRHS stage in seventh grade, his roles over the years are too numerous to list and the void he leaves behind is too vast to fill.   

Holding out for just the right moment, Colby Allen moves from backstage to center stage. Who knew he could sing? Allen confidently conquered his debut acting gig as the sensitive and handsome heartthrob Aaron Samuels. With Allen on stage, seniors Kari Blake and Meg Sledge take to the lighting board under veteran guidance from Charlee Fuchswanz, who for her final production at BRHS slid into an assistant position alongside Dr. Mary Miller.

Cass Amaral simply nailed the role of Janis Sarkisian – dark, intelligent, opinionated, punk and artistic, America’s comeback queen, albeit a bloody comeback – she comes off as aggressive but is a deep thinker, deep lover, and deeply protective of her friends. Her character is complex and next level. Spencer Pottle, a BRHS staple and go-to talent, enjoyed a lighter role in this production as Janis’ best friend Damian, who is more ENFP (extroverted, intuitive, feeling and prospecting) than Myers or Briggs could have ever engineered.

Rising stars Matthew Little, Skyla Carrier and Titan Lewis offered solid performances on a crowded stage. Kora McKenney, out of the gate, was a hilarious and super-believable Mrs. George, and Jayden Coulombe delivered his best acting performance yet as the sarcastic and ‘over-it’ school principal Mr. Duvall. Chloe Joneth, Blythe Miller, Izabella LockeSmith, and Abigail LockeSmith played several supporting roles each, including Blythe Miller’s comical rendition of Teary Girl, who doesn’t attend the school but participates in the intervention because she has a lot of feelings.

“This play is about acceptance and kindness. It’s about respecting other people’s feelings and being brave enough to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves – always! Social media plays a major part in young people’s lives, and they must learn to use it appropriately and kindly; I believe most do. This play, though light-hearted, presents a weighty theme that all of us here at BRHS take seriously. My hope is that all humans will think about how they treat others, in person, and online. It is easy to be kind,” said director Dr. Mary Miller.

Mean Girls Jr. is presented through special arrangement with all authorized materials supplied by Music Theater International. It is based on a book by Tina Fey. Music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin. Original Broadway Production by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson and Sonia Friedman. The BRHS presentation was produced by BRHS, directed, music directed, and set designed by Dr. Mary Miller and choreographed by Sarah Harris. Stage Manager, Eleanor Marshall; Lighting Design, Kari Blake and Meg Sledge; Costume Design and Properties, Susie Taylor; Handyman, Finn Gaffney; Tickets, Alex and Candi Joneth; Refreshments, the freshman class.