Quick: Name three things that come in hot pink.
OK, I’ll go first: cotton candy, Pepto-Bismol and “Mean Girls,” the Tina Fey-scripted musical whose Broadway tour had its media opening Wednesday at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.
Based on Fey’s 2004 film, this super-colorful spritzer of a stage show offers treacly treats, spiky fun and some bubbly observations about how people organize themselves. One overarching theme of “Mean Girls” is how high school was, is and will forever be a hellscape where everyone is jockeying for status or trying to fit in.
At North Shore High, new girl Cady Heron (Danielle Wade) has just arrived from Kenya.
Her parents were expat biologists, and she basically grew up on safari with only animals for friends (really?), which explains the “Lion King”-style pageantry that opens the show and the fact that when she gets overwhelmed with emotion, she goes into a “me, Jane” kind of “Tarzan” vibe.
The social hierarchy at North Shore is ruled by the Plastics, a coordinated “More Is Better” trio of “Apex Predator(s)” led by queen bee Regina George (Mariah Rose Faith). The bee, we quickly see by Faith’s claws-out performance, is not for the insect.
The cast of characters also includes misfit BFFs Janis Sarkisian (Mary Kate Morissey) and Damian Hubbard (Eric Huffman), the two people who are most comfortable in their own skin and who are our trusted narrators.
Some of Fey’s favorite lines from the movie are retained in the show, including “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen,” which now sounds quaint rather than hip. And she cleverly smashes some gender stereotypes even as she shows that smart women play dumb to win the hearts of guys.
Fey has updated the story to include references to newer techno gizmos such as iPhones and to the dominance of social media. Damian, a charmer who’s gay, also is an update. But the show, which has no surprises, retains her sharp sense of humor.
Director Casey Nicholaw’s hyperactive, hardworking production is well staged, even if the script itself just warms up well-worn themes that also animate shows such as “High School Musical” and “Frozen.”
The songs by Jeff Richmond — Fey’s husband — help to push along a show that goes on for just a bit too long. The titles include “A Cautionary Tale,” which announces the theme, “Someone Gets Hurt” and “I See Stars,” the closing song that doesn’t quite achieve the grandness it seeks.
If things don’t seem to be as tight as they could be, it’s partly because the show’s more interested in landing a laugh (and there are plenty) than anything else. That humor is one of the coping mechanisms for dealing with a period of our growth that we all hope to leave behind but that some of us never outgrow.
“Mean Girls,” which has sly references to contemporary politics, offers a sugar high, for sure, even if the feeling does not last.