Four Winds Public School presenting Mean Girls Junior

Above: Four Winds Public School Performing Arts Academy students rehearse Mean Girls Junior on Monday, May 13, ahead of the show’s two-day run on May 29 and 30. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Four Winds Public School will take on Mean Girls in their second theatrical outing in as many years. The school will perform the junior theatrical version of the 20-year-old hit comedy for four shows over two days on May 29 and 30 at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. 

Like the film that inspired the show, Mean Girls explores the intricacies of high school politics. It focuses on Cady Heron, a newcomer to the social scene who infiltrates the infamous Plastics clique, led by manipulative clique leader Regina George.

“She [Cady] was homeschooled growing up because of her father’s job in Africa. She starts at a new school in a cityand she doesn’t know how to act in high school. It’s a whole different world for her. She’s used to being outdoors with animals,” explained teacher Autumn Willms, who directs the show with fellow Four Winds teacher Savanah Bosch.

Mean Girls is a perennial coming-of-age story and popular in the media due to a post-Broadway theatrical tour. The junior version of the show was an easy pick when students were asked what show they wanted to do this year.

“I feel like Mean Girls Junior resonates with this age group [who are] just finding their footing in middle school,” Willms said. “It [the show] deals with a lot of cliques, and the importance of being yourself in middle school can be tricky.”

The show features a cast of 21 students. Willms said parts were assigned in January and that the cast has rehearsed the lines, songs and choreography since February. 

“We run out of our Performing Arts Academy this year, so every kid that is signed up for Academy gets to be in the play,” Willms said, noting January auditions were to determine which students would fill which roles.

Willms said learning the songs was the first step, with choreography, blocking and staging coming next. 

“We’ve been using our Academy times to rehearse and also some after-school rehearsals,” she said. “We’re just really proud of the kids. They work hard. They’re super committed. We stay after school sometimes until 6 p.m. We stay on Friday.”

One student who has been staying after school to get the show ready for the audience is Charlotte Anheliger, who plays Janice, one of Cady’s friends and a narrator. 

“I really like working on this play. I love the Mean Girls play, and I’m glad to be working on it,” Anheliger said. “The cast members are great, my director’s great; it’s just a great experience to be in this play.”

Anheliger hopes the community will come out to see the months of work students have put into bringing Mean Girls Junior to the stage in Morinville.

“It’s only our second production, and I wish people would come to see it because I think it’s a great program,” Anheliger said. “We worked really hard, and I believe people should see our hard work.”

Willms agrees. Academy is a new program, and she said Sturgeon School Division is trying to grow. “It’s our first year running it. Last year, we ran Annie Jr. as an option course,” she said. “It’s really important for the community to see what we’re trying to do.”

Mean Girls will run for three performances open to the public, with two shows on May 29 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and one on May 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and in advance online at $15 at the door. Tickets are available online at studentquickpay.com/sturgeon/MyAccount/Main.aspx?

 

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