Sabrina Carpenter Will Make Broadway Debut in Mean Girls Musical: 'I've Been Dreaming of This'
PEOPLE can exclusively reveal that the Girl Meets World actress and singer/songwriter, 20, will be stepping in to the role of Cady Heron in the hit show this winter, for a limited 14-week engagement.
Carpenter’s run in Mean Girls begins on Tuesday, March 10 at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City, New York — and wraps up on Sunday, June 7.
“I’m so excited,” says Carpenter, “I’m such a big fan of the musical, the movie, the story in general, [creator] Tina Fey, and all these incredible people involved with the show. … I can’t wait for the rollercoaster!”
“You only get these opportunities so many times in life,” she adds. “You get so lucky when you get to create something new that’s never been done before, and you fall in love with it as you’re making it. But coming into this already knowing that I’m such a fan? And saying every one of those iconic lines? I can’t put it into words; it’s just going to be so thrilling. It brings a whole new energy into it for me.”
The show marks the Broadway debut for Carpenter, who grew up in Pennsylvania doing plays and musicals on a local level.
“It’s crazy,” she says of the milestone. “I don’t think it’s hit me yet, because I definitely have been dreaming of this in a big way since I was a little girl. I always knew that one day I wanted to do it, I just didn’t know when it would happen. And I didn’t expect it either, at this point in my life, so I’m just so honored by it all.”
Mean Girls is based on Fey’s beloved 2004 teen comedy of the same name. The musical features a hilarious book from Fey and a catchy score, by composer Jeff Richmond (Fey’s husband) and lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde: The Musical).
Like the movie, the stage showfollows a teenage girl named Cady as she attempts to navigate through the many cliques of her new suburban Illinois high school. With the help of two outcasts named Damian and Janis, Cady attempts to infiltrate a trio of idolized frenemies known as the Plastics to gain social dominance — but soon learns that taking down the group’s ruthless leader Regina George comes at a serious cost.
The original film starred Lindsay Lohan (Cady), Rachel McAdams (Regina), Amanda Seyfried (Karen Smith), Lacey Chabert (Gretchen Wieners), Lizzy Caplan (Janis), and Daniel Franzese (Damian), among others.
Carpenter, like many, was a huge fan of it.
“I don’t know how you can’t describe it as a cult classic, especially for my generation,” she says of the comedy. “It’s something that influenced all of us. The movie’s title is very deceiving for what the story ends up being about. And I just think, it’s taught us all and brought us all so much. So getting to be a part of that world is going to be so fun.”
Meanwhile, Mean Girls‘ casting change comes as the show preps to begin its third year on Broadway.
Erika Henningsen, who created the role of Cady on Broadway, will play her final performance on Saturday, Feb. 22.
“When I saw the show, I saw Erika in the role of Cady and I was just so blown away by the way that she was able to create that role for the Broadway stage,” Carpenter says, of Henningsen, 27. “I’m so inspired, I have so many ideas wanting to go into it. I hope I follow in her footsteps well. She’s so incredibly gifted.”
Also on March 10, Laura Leigh Turner (Karen Smith), Olivia Kaufmann (Janis Sarkisian) and Chad Burris (Damian Hubbard) will join the cast — replacing Kate Rockwell, Barrett Wilbert Weed and Grey Henson in those roles (respectively). Their last performance will be Sunday, March 8.
Interestingly enough, should Burriss need some help with Damian, Carpenter is ready to step in. She joked to PEOPLE that Cady wasn’t her first choice of a role to play in Mean Girls.
“I love Damian with all my heart,” she says. “When I saw [the show] on Broadway, I said, ‘Can I play Damian?’ They were like, ‘No. You cannot pull that off.’ ”
Tickets for Mean Girls are now on sale.