On the red carpet of the SAG Awards in January, a few days before Jack, Liz and the rest of the 30 Rock gang sang their final farewell on the series finale (“The Rural Juror” song, anyone?), Tina Fey, the show’s creator, writer and star, told reporters that she was already hard at work on other projects, including a musical adaptation of the 2004 high school comedy hit Mean Girls.
”I would love to,” Fey told E! News about making a Mean Girls musical. “I’m trying to develop it with my husband, who does all the music for 30 Rock, and I think Paramount’s on board.”
How fetch is that?
As someone who prides himself on caring more about Mean Girls than actual girls, Fey’s announcement feels more awesome than, well, a punch in the face from Regina George.
Except for one little thing. The potential for botching the cast list. Converting the characters immortalized by Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams and Lacey Chabert into babes who can belt is a tall task, even for television’s favorite funnygal. Which is why, with Trang Pak as my witness and the advice of Cady Heron’s voice-over (“All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”) as my guide, I’ve gone ahead and done the casting for her.
THE CAST OF MEAN GIRLS: THE MUSICAL
MELISSA BENOIST in the role of CADY HERON
Before Lindsay Lohan’s life fell to bits, she wowed movie-goers with her comic wherewithal as Cady Heron, the cluelessly likable nerd from South Africa who, after years of homeschooling, winds up in the dog-eat-dog world of high school. Like Lohan’s character, her musical counterpart needs to be partly sweet and a little bit wholesome but served with a side of bitch to boot. Enter Melissa Benoist. Best known for playing Marley Rose, the naive new girl on Fox’s musical dramedy Glee, Benoist has Cady’s down-home demeanor, a healthy pair of lungs and, per her two-episode stint on Showtime’s Homeland in which she bared all (she plays a hooker or something), enough sex appeal to hold Aaron Samuels’ interest.
MEGAN HILTY in the role of REGINA GEORGE
Regina “I Hear She Does Car Commercials in Japan” George is blonde, beautiful and an enormous bia, even when she’s being nice (“Get in, loser. We’re going shopping.”). So who better to play her than vindictive vixen Megan Hilty from NBC’s Smash. Hilty has the hair, the looks, the pipes and, judging by the actions of her character on Smash last season, maximum bitch-ability.
IDINA MENZEL in the role of MS. NORBURY
Having originated the roles of Maureen Johnson in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked, Idina Menzel’s musical theater resume speaks for itself. The reason she’d be perfect for the role of Ms. Norbury, the sad (“The only guy that ever calls my house is Randy from Chase Visa.”) but hilarious (“…and I would love to have a girl on the team, just, you know, so the team could meet a girl.”) math teacher with a heart of gold is because, well, she’s Idina Menzel and she’d be perfect in anything.
TAYLOR LOUDERMAN in the role of GRETCHEN WIENERS
Gretchen Wieners, heiress apparent to the Toaster Strudel fortune, is, beneath it all, a decent girl in spite of herself (“I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me, but I can’t help it that I’m popular.”). Taylor Louderman, the main cheerleader from Broadway’s Bring It On: The Musical, would be the perfect Vice Plastic. Taylor’s played perky (head cheerleader, hello!), she can sing and, like Gretchen Wieners, her previous role (if you’re at all familiar with the movie plot of Bring It On) has taught her a lot about what it means to be popular.
AMANDA SEYFRIED in the role of KAREN SMITH
Following her portrayal of simpleminded sidekick Karen Smith (“If you’re from Africa, why are you white?”), Amanda Seyfried went on to star in movie musicals Mamma Mia! and Les Misérables, which means she’s got what it takes to take Karen to the song side. Plus, she’s already really used to wearing pink on Wednesdays.
JENNIFER DAMIANO in the role of JANIS IAN
The owner of some of the film’s best one-liners (“I love seeing teachers outside of school. It’s like seeing a dog walk on its hind legs.”), Janis Ian will probably play a vital comic role in the Mean Girls musical. As a matter of fact, I can already imagine her “Where You Sit in the Cafeteria is Crucial” monologue turning into one of the show’s big numbers. Spring Awakening, Next to Normal and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark alumnus Jennifer Damiano has Janis’ bite, plus she’s got the wounded soul role down cold.
JOSH GAD in the role of DAMIAN
Although I never saw the original Broadway cast of The Book of Mormon, I have memorized the soundtrack and I can’t imagine anyone delivering the “Oh my god, Danny Divito! I love your work!” line better than moronic missionary Elder Cunningham’s originator Josh Gad. Oh, and if “Too Gay to Function” isn’t turned into a full-fledged musical number featuring Gad, I’ll do what Cady wouldn’t and shove somebody in front of a bus.
AARON TVEIT in the role of AARON SAMUELS
If anyone was born to play gentle jock Aaron Samuels, Cady’s learning deficient love interest, it’s Aaron Tveit from the original casts of Next to Normal and Catch Me If You Can: The Musical. He seems kind, he’s dreamy and his voice is good enough to make anyone feel grool.
TAYE DIGGS in the role of MR. DUVALL
Although the part is minor, Mr. Duvall provides the plot with a solid male role model and some of its most memorable lines (“Coach Carr, step away from the underage girls!”). Because of his chemistry (though clumsy) with Ms. Norbury, the role given to Idina Menzel just a few page scroll swipes ago, it would only make sense to cast Taye Diggs, her real-life husband, as Mr. Duvall. Also, Diggs is ripped (cue Mr. Duvall in a white cutoff holding a baseball bat), talented and he and his wife have shared the stage before.
LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA in the role of KEVIN GNAPOOR
Of all the roles in Mean Girls: The Musical, there was none more fun to cast than that of motor-mouthed mathlete Kevin Knapoor. Since he raps in the film (“Yo, yo, yo! All you sucka MCs ain’t got nothin’ on me.”), there’s no better person to play him than the man who wrote and starred in Broadway’s In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda. He can rap like the wind (I know, not a thing) and his comedic timing is impeccable, which means he’d be more than capable of slaying Kevin’s greatest lines, including my favorite, “What are marijuana tablets?”
Welp, since the casting is pretty much complete, all I have to do now is wait for Tina to pick up the slack and write, develop, produce and promote this baby.
And if, for whatever reason, she doesn’t make it happen, my only response would be to echo the immortal words of one Regina George — “Boo, you whore.”