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Annandale High School in Annadale, Virginia, presented Mean Girls High School Version to the Cappies Critics on April 27,2024. Here are the top two Cappies Critic reviews.

Jordan Richard

Quince Orchard High School


Africa is often seen as a harsh environment, filled with lions ready to pounce, but to North Shore High the scariest lion is Regina George.


Dating back to 2004, Mean Girls High School Version’s origins begin with the blockbuster film Mean Girls, winning several cinema awards and later going to Broadway in 2019, winning several more awards such as Critic’s Choice.


Following Cady Heron, Cady is on her social journey as she migrates from Kenya to America where she is thrown into the melting pot that is North Shore High. Having to make friends fast, Cady falls into the trap of popularity, scheming, lying, and betrayal all through the guise of high school dynamics.


Inspiring Cady Heron’s (Kaya Thomas) shift from outcast to popularity was Regina George (Amelia Mongold). Thomas and Mongold both displayed adept control of their vocals and creative use of spacing to convey the social status between the two and how that changed throughout the performance.


Guiding Cady along from behind the eyes of Regina were Damian Hubbard (Eshan Van Heerden) and Janis Sarkisian (Ren Candelaria). Van Heerden and Candelaria perfectly complemented each other as they banded together as rejects of North Shore. Van Heerden specifically found great power in comedic timing and hilariously flamboyant dancing while Candelaria led the show with a powerful belt and vocal prowess.


The Student Ensemble as a whole brought a level of nonchalant relatability seen in many highschoolers of today that was a refreshing take from the constant bustle of the shows many plot points.


Noting the technical department, the set team (Lucas Torres, Autumn Tremante) breathed life into the set with subtle additions such as a school bus after Regina’s incident with a certain yellow vehicle or Kalteen bars lining the walls. Overall, the set never failed to entrance and keep up with the story. In addition, the lighting design (helmed by Sandy Rocha) was a beautiful work of art as every color felt perfectly in place and refused to shy away from divulging characters' truest emotions.


Annandale High School’s rendition of Mean Girls High School Version was a true representation of highschoolers being highschoolers and a joy to watch.

Lazar Bozic

Quince Orchard High School


The queen of high school has let a spy into her inner circle, and the social structure of the school hangs in the balance. This is Mean Girls High School Version at Annandale High School.


Adapted from the hit 2004 movie, Mean Girls premiered in 2017, with a book by Tina Fey, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and music by Jeff Richmond. The show centers around Cady Heron, a new kid at North Shore High School and her attempts to navigate the dangerous and confusing social hierarchy. Along the way, her “art freak” friends convince her to pretend to be friends with “The Plastics;” the most popular (and dangerous) girls in school.


Kaya Thomas portrayed the central role of Cady Heron with skill, giving Cady an arc that felt real. Thomas realistically transitioned between emotions and made sure that Cady felt different and like an actual growing person at various points in the story. Also of note was Thomas’ performance in the song “Stupid With Love,” a song that was fun to listen to and showed off Thomas’ acting chops, but also felt genuine and honest with its admissions.


Cady’s best friend in this dog-eat-dog high school, the edgy Janis Sarkisian was played by Ren Candelaria. Candelaria brought the lovable artist to life with powerful rock vocals. These especially stood out in the song “I’d Rather Be Me,” where Candelaria combined strong singing with vivid acting that felt both bittersweet and angry at once. Janis’ prickly nature but kind heart contrasted with the sickly-sweet evil of the school's apex predator, Regina George. Amelia Mongold played the role of Regina George with sheer power. Mongold was always active in the back of scenes, maintaining both character and momentum in the show. Additionally, Mongold’s strong and easy to read facial expressions gave Regina George a constant clarity that stood out in the crowd.


Flanking Regina on every turn were the other two plastics, Gretchen Wieners (Lucy Baboyian) and Karen Smith (Haru Hernandez). Baboyian maintained a constant air of anxiety as Regina’s right hand, while still always giving Gretchen clear goals while in a scene. Baboyian also displayed impressive vocal talent, especially in the song “What’s Wrong With Me?” and was a standout dancer. Contrasting Gretchen’s constant fawning fear was Hernandez’s excellent comedic performance as Karen Smith. Hernandez managed to land every one of her many jokes perfectly on time, while still managing a heartfelt sincerity to Karen that endeared the character to the audience.


The social jungle of North Shore High School was represented by a versatile and modular set designed and built by Lucas Torres, Autumn Tremante, Niky Barrios De Leon, Nico Vargas. Featuring mobile bleachers, the set's transformable nature shined in “I’d Rather Be Me,” where a set of bleachers was barricaded and steered around the set with Candelaria singing on top of it. Also of note were the costumes, led by Amelia Mongold, Haru Hernandez, Molly Corcoran, and Ren Coleman. These costumes recreated the feeling of a 2010s high school with pinpoint precision, with every item feeling plucked out of that era.


When the rubble settled, Mean Girls High School Version was ultimately a story about kindness: the kindness to be gracious to others, and the kindness to yourself to be who you truly are. Annandale’s production of Mean Girls High School Version was not only a kindness to all of them, but a kindness to the audience as well.


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