Arts and Entertainment

Theatre Orangeville’s Young Company gear up for Mean Girls High School Version

July 11, 2024   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Pat Rundell has come all the way from Victoria, British Columbia to direct Mean Girls High School Version, this year’s July extravaganza from Theatre Orangeville Musical Young Company. With Book by Tina Fey, Music by Jeff Richmond and Lyrics by Nell Benjamin, the production is set for July 26 to 28, on stage at Theatre Orangeville.

Following an entire month of rehearsals, this is an annual program sponsored and run by Theatre Orangeville for youthful thespians from grades seven to 12, as a professional production, beginning with auditions.

Mean Girls, a “cautionary tale,” features young Cady Heron, newly arrived from Kenya, East Africa to a high school in Chicago, USA. Longing to be liked in a new and, as she discovers, a very strange environment, Cady makes friends with fellow students, Janis and Damian.

Not at all ready for high school politics, Cady soon finds herself pulled, pushed, tricked and on the wrong side of nearly everyone. Can she find her way and who may help her is the tale told by dynamic songs and a fabulous melange of music and dance.

The performers were all assembled in the middle of the rehearsal hall floor, along with the play’s Director Pat Rundell, Music Director Nicholas Mustapha and the Stage Manager Susan Heslop, who were gathered at the back, for their videocall interview with the Citizen. Kait Gallant, TOV’s Program Manager, was on hand as well, to offer her input on the musical Mean Girls High School Version.

“It’s a comedy with lots of people,” one person called out. “Cady really wants to fit in.”

Sophie, who plays the role of Cady explained, “At first the students, they don’t like her – she comes from a different background.”

Mean Girls is based on other movies and the book Queen Bees and Wannabes, which is a “parenting book” by Rosalind Wiseman, on “how to help your daughter survive Cliques, Gossip, Boys and the new realities of Girl World.”

Our interview took place last Friday (July 5) at the end of the first week of rehearsals. In answer to how well they are going, there were plenty of enthusiastic replies.

“Awesome!” they said and variously told us, “The dancing and singing is so good people are going to say, ‘Wow!’”

Kait said the cast numbers 18, several of whom are playing multiple roles in this musical of many characters. Many of them are also performing with Young Company for the first time, making a good mix with those who could hardly wait to return.

Mr. Rundell, declaring he loves Orangeville for his first time here, said “It’s really a fun show, funny and exciting.”

Even more, “These are some of the most talented young actors I’ve ever worked with. People should come and see some of these actors at the beginning of their careers.”

From Nicholas Mustapha, “The music is really fun – there’s some awesome talent. It’s not an easy show and it’s inspiring in this community to see what the kids are capable of.”

The conversation turned to the tremendous benefits of being in the theatre world.

“You get to express yourself as someone else – you don’t see that person’s view of the world before.”

“It feels like you become friends really soon.”

“Sometimes, you like something others don’t but you come to the theatre and meet people who like the same things.”

“It helps set you out of your comfort zone.”

Interestingly, a couple of the actors travel every day from Newmarket because their siblings and their friends are alumni, having made the same journey to be in Young Company productions in the past.

“This approach really helps inspire the next generation. Art is so important to young people, such a vital part of their development,” said Mr. Rundell.

Commenting why everyone should come and see the show, Sophie added, “When people come, it can inspire them to become involved with theatre too.”

About the music, Mr. Mustapha remarked, “It’s the first time we’re playing a contemporary musical and it’s very rich from the formatting and key changes – really fantastic.”

Mean Girls High School Version runs at Theatre Orangeville over the weekend of July 26 to 28. For details of performances and tickets, go to www.theatreorangeville.ca.


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