(Cover Photo: Lindsay Heather Pearce of the musical "MEAN GIRLS" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through October 16, 2022. Photo courtesy of Jenny Anderson)
By Kevin T. Baldwin
Book By Tina Fey
Music By Jeff Richmond
Lyrics By Nell Benjamin
Director And Choreographer Casey Nicholaw
Cast includes: English Bernhardt - Cady Heron; Nadina Hassan - Regina George; Jasmine Rogers - Gretchen Wieners; Morgan Ashley Bryant - Karen Smith; Lindsay Heather Pearce - Janis Sarkisian; Eric Huffman - Damian Hubbard; April Josephine - Mrs.Heron/Ms.Norbury/Mrs.George; Adante Carter - Aaron Samuels; Kabir Bery - Kevin G; Lawrence E. Street - Mr. Duvall; Adriana Scalice - Standby for Cady Heron, Regina George, and Janis Sarkisian; Asia Marie Kreitz – Ensemble; Brittany Conigatti – Swing, Assistant Dance Captain; Dan Horn – Ensemble; Deshawn Bowens – Ensemble; Erica Simone Barnett – Ensemble; Grace Romanello - U/S for Gretchen/Karen, Swing, Fight Captain, Assistant Dance Captain; Iain Young – Ensemble; Jamary Gil – Swing; Kaitlyn Louise Smith – Ensemble; Lily Kaufmann – Swing; Aaron Alcaraz – Swing; Mary Beth Donahoe – Ensemble; Maya Imani – Ensemble; Niani Feelings - Swing, Dance Captain; Noah Blessing – Ensemble; Olivia Renteria – Ensemble; Samuel Gerber – Swing; Sky Flaherty – Ensemble; Susie Carroll – Swing; Sydney Mei Ruf-Wong – Ensemble; Tovi Wayne – Swing; Wesley J. Barnes - Ensemble; Morgan Harrison - Ensemble;
Additional Creative Team:
Scott Pask - Scenic Design; Gregg Barnes - Costume Design; Kenneth Posner - Lighting Design; Brian Ronan - Sound Design; Finn Ross & Adam Young - Video Design; Josh Marquette - Hair Design; Milagros Medina-Cerdeira - Makeup Design; Mary-Mitchell Campbell - Music Supervisor; Benedict Braxton-Smith - Music Director; John Clancy – Orchestrations; Glen Kelly - Dance And Incidental Music Arrangements; Howard Joines - Music Coordinator; The Telsey Office – Casting; Casey Hushion - Associate Director; John Macinnis - Associate Choreographer; Michelle Dunn - Production Stage Manager; Emma Ramsay-Saxon - Stage Manager; John Carpentier & Rachael Wilkin - Assistant Stage Managers; The Booking Group - Tour Booking Agency; Allied Global Marketing - Tour Marketing & Press; Thompson Turner Productions - General Manager; Micah Frank & Caroline Maroney - Associate Producers; Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, Sonia Friedman & Paramount Pictures – Producers; Holly Coombs- Production Stage Manager - Broadway (NOTE: Information obtained from tour website subject to change)
Notice: October 11th Performance Cancelled
October 12 & 13, 2022 at 7:30pm
October 14, 2022 at 8:00 pm
October 15, 2022 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm
October 16, 2022 at 1:00pm and 6:30pm
(Photo: Lindsay Heather Pearce and the CAST of "MEAN GIRLS" at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through October 16, 2022. Photo courtesy of Jenny Anderson)
|Lindsay Heather Pearce (who plays "Janis Sarkisian") is making her national tour debut with the touring production of the musical “MEAN GIRLS” landing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. beginning October 11.|
Pearce's Broadway stage credits include playing "Elphaba" in the musical "Wicked" with Regional credits that include the shows "American Idiot," "Spring Awakening" and "The Last Five Years."
Many may recognize Pearce as a contestant on “The Glee Project” which landed her a role on the show “Glee.” She has also appeared on the shows “Recovery Road” and “Grey’s Anatomy."
Pearce was raised in Northern California and attended Modesto Junior College where she studied classical voice, Shakespeare, movement for the stage and English literature.
Even with the extensive list credits, Pearce recalls the first real paid professional gig and what the experience was like.
"I was 16 and I was in a production of 'Steel Magnolias' as Shelby," Pearce says. "That was the first time I ever got paid a weekly non-union wage. I felt like a very big grown up. I remember I loved the movie and was just so excited to be playing that role. I remember receiving a paycheck and being like 'What?' My mom understood it all but I didn’t."
Prior to playing “Elphaba” in “Wicked” and the “Glee Project” and all the other subsequent successes, Pearce describes her earlier family situation, especially when the decision was made that performing would be her chosen profession.
"I was really, really lucky and I don’t say this lightly, " Pearce says. "I have the best parents and an incredible family. They are the salt of the earth. I am always grateful for them. I am the only daughter with three brothers. I was singing before I could talk and they were like 'what do we do with this?'"
According to Pearce, her parents were actively involved in her development as a performer, especially when Pearce's teachers would hold conferences about some of her activities in class.
"Teachers would tell them 'she’s reading a lot,' or 'she's singing a lot in class,' or 'she memorized this entire children’s book but it wasn't the one assigned and, by the way, did you know she's memorized every word to the entire 'Little Mermaid' film?'"
At around age 7 or 8, Pearce's parents entered Lindsay in a theatre program at an opera house. For five or six years, Pearce recalls being, "surrounded by opera performers" and being in such an environment broadened her perspective and gave her ongoing inspiration for what would follow.
"Life is a gift," Pearce says. "I was always supported by my parents, who were aware of my hyperactivity, my 'big brain,' but they also found a way to plug that into my performing. Going into this career was only more like an after effect of that support."
Now Pearce is on the road in the touring company of “MEAN GIRLS,” which comes from the award-winning creative team of director Casey Nicholaw (“Aladdin” and “The Book of Mormon”), composer Jeff Richmond (“30 Rock” and the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), lyricist Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”) and, of course, book writer Tina Fey.
On Broadway, this proved to be a winning combination but was there something else in the material that drew Pearce to want to do the show?
"I really loved the movie which came out on my birthday at 13," Pearce recalls. "When I heard it was being turned into a musical I said I can see it but it has been reimagined for today. I heard of the auditions while auditioning for other shows."
In fact, according to Pearce, her agent called and said they were casting for the latest tour.
Pearce recalls responding, "Say MORE. Who do they want me for?"
The agent responded, "Janis."
Pearce recalls responding, “Say LESS."
"I absolutely wanted the role," Pearce says. "They were all great and very understanding because I was still under contract. My contract with 'Wicked' was going to end later than they needed somebody to be in the part which was right away."
“MEAN GIRLS” is Pearce's national tour debut and Pearce describes her reaction to being cast just coming off Broadway's "Wicked."
"It has been really exciting and learning experience," Pearce says. "When my contract ended with 'Wicked,' I was focused on getting my next job and was looking at what direction I wanted my life to head."
While describing playing "Elphaba" as "incredibly rewarding work" Pearce says she, "needed a little bit of a break from that journey."
"In 'Wicked,' I did not have much of a life outside of work," Pearce says. "I needed to be in a show where I have that break and a chance to see the world. I wanted to go on tour and see the country, eat different foods, experience different cultures. Especially after the pandemic, I just wanted to see how we’re all living these days."
Pearce remembers getting out of the shower when the call came in about being hired for the tour.
"I looked at my phone and (on the display saw that) my agent had called and I thought, 'Oh, well. I didn’t get the show.' Then I put it on speaker and (my agent) asked, 'Do you want to play 'Janice' and go out on tour?' I was so happy."
"I went from 'Wicked' to this," Pearce says. "May 22nd was my last day as Elphaba and my first performance as Janice was on May 31st. I have not had any down time. But everyone has been great."
"The thing with 'MEAN GIRLS' is that when new (performers) come into the show they can see that it is a show run with integrity, love and compassion," Pearce says, praising the creative team. "Everyone is treated with a sense of humanity and not just 'what is it you can do for the show.' The creative team has made this a safe and optimum place in which to play."
In the musical, Pearce's character, "Janis Sarkisian," welcomes the audience in the “MEAN GIRLS” opener “Cautionary Tale” and the song, "Where Do You Belong?" describing the basic clicks at North Shore High School in Chicago.
Janis proves equally manipulative because when the reigning school queens “The Plastics” set their sights on new girl Cady, it is Pearce's character that convinces the naïve Cady to be their “friend” in order to bring them all down. But what is it that drives Pearce's particular character?
"I think every single character is a 'mean girl’ and the show looks at social hierarchy and the art of manipulation in high school," Pearce says, speaking to Janice's almost "skewed idea of justice" in her mind.
"She (Janice) is almost a zealot or vigilante, or antihero," Pearce says. "I get what she’s saying about justice but it comes at the cost of ruining someone else’s life. What I love about her is there is a lot of honesty to her and she is a truth seeker. Her intention is for justice, but it gets waffed up in her motions and those motions do not serve her well when it comes to revenge."
Pearce says she even argue that Janice is one of the meanest girls.
"She does not pretend to be mean, even in the movie, and that brutal honesty definitely comes across," Pearce says. "We are not trustworthy narrators to be sure. In fact, it is 'Damien' who comes to be the real moral compass in the show. Janice has to both learn and unlearn certain things by the end of the show."
With live theatre back now back in full force, how has it been performing in front of live audiences after such a prolonged absence?
"It has been the best –you can feel the audience was missing it and you can feel them enjoying even the five dollar 'Snickers' in the lobby and laughing and enjoying the show," Pearce says, noting how some will even come to the show dressed in pink "just because they are going to see 'MEAN GIRLS.'”
Pearce describes some of the challenges in playing Janice.
"I think, with Janice, the biggest challenge is circumstance," Pearce says. "Playing 'Elphaba,' there were physical challenges as I was on a raked stage carrying 40 lbs worth of costumes. So, there were many body adjustments with Elphaba. It is a different physical experience playing Janice. The challenge here is more to keep (the character) as fresh and new as long as you can and to not get stale or become bored. There’s a lot of room for play - a lot of stuff able to be found in the character. And it's not just for audiences but also for me as a performer."
There are so many great songs in the show from the aforementioned opener to “Apex Predator” and “Revenge Party” just to name a few. What has become Pearce's favorite song from the show?
"I really love that entire first twenty minutes 9of the opener)," Pearce says. "I love 'It Roars.' I love how, in any show, how that show introduces all the characters. 'Apex Predator' is such a great song and a visual treat. By the end of the song, too, it is just women on stage dancing which I find really powerful. 'Fearless,' at the end of Act One, is another great one where it is just the girls dancing - and the men join in at the end, but only with their permission. That is empowering."
Pearce says audiences will hopefully come away from "MEAN GIRLS" with sides aching but only because that means, "they are laughing a lot."
"I hope leave with a smile," Pearce says. "But this show also carries with it such a strong message – one that, if you come with parents, it spawns a conversation where somebody is asking questions - maybe questions about intimacy, platonically or otherwise. We mirror a life that the audience might be living that causes a dialogue about how we treat one another. And I hope their all in pink and that their sides hurt from having laughed so hard. It is just a really great rollercoaster."
Tickets range $35 to $89 depending on seat location and performance.
Please contact the box office at 877-571-SHOW (7469) for more information.
Approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.
Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA)
(Photo: CAST of the musical "MEAN GIRLS" playing at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. through October 16, 2022. Photo by Jenny Anderson)
Vogue cheers, “MEAN GIRLS is HILARIOUS! The cast is sensational – expert comedians with fierce voices and acting chops to match.”
MEAN GIRLS is a ferociously funny new musical from an award-winning creative team, including director Casey Nicholaw (Aladdin, The Book of Mormon), composer Jeff Richmond (“30 Rock,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde), and book writer Tina Fey (“30 Rock,” Bossypants).
Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the wild and vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois.
How will this naïve newbie rise to the top of the popularity pecking order?
By taking on The Plastics, a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George.
But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.
Produced by Lorne Michaels, Stuart Thompson, Sonia Friedman, and Paramount Pictures, MEAN GIRLS gets to the hilarious heart of what it means to be a true friend, a worthy nemesis, and above all, a human being.
Contains adult language and situations.
Audio Description services available at the Sunday matinee performance, 1 pm
ASL available at the Sunday evening performance, 6:30 pm (If you are using ASL services, please let the ticket office know when you are ready to purchase tickets, so we can place you in seats in front of the ASL interpreter.)
Most recent Hanover Theatre safety protocol details may be found here:
Worcester Center for Performing Arts is a registered not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which owns and operates The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allow