Theatre Review “Mean Girls” @ Dr. Phillips Center – Orlando, FL

“Mean Girls” is a musical based on the 2004 movie that was written by Tina Fey. The musical premiered in Washington, D.C. in October 2017 and opened on Broadway in April 2018. If you are thinking “Seriously they made a musical for Mean Girls?”, this show has no shortage of talent from the award-winning creative team, including Tina Fey (30 Rock), composer Jeff Richmond (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), lyricist Nell Benjamin (Legally Blonde) and director Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon). This show is packed with energy and devilish humor that will leave you howling.

From upbeat anthems like “Apex Predator” and “I See Stars” to the songs that show the difficult side of being a female like “What’s Wrong With Me,” the music never stopped. The female leads in the show, especially Mary Kate Morrissey (Janis), Danielle Wade (Cady), and Mariah Rose Faith (Regina George), all had unique singing voices that were nothing short of impressive. In addition, the show decided to use digital screens for quick set changes which led to seamless transitions when changing from classroom to classroom and location to location in the middle of a song. The comedic timing in the show, especially by Karen – played by Jonalyn Saxer, kept you laughing throughout the entire show. There was even a scene with the Lion mascot that had the audience laughing so hard some were in tears. Overall, the show captured the life of a teenage girl in a way that had you sympathizing, laughing, and swaying along to the amazing music.

Official Premise: Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. Soon, this naïve newbie falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.

The show is playing at the Walt Disney theater from February 25–March 1, 2020. If you are able to get tickets, this is a show that is not to be missed. Overall this musical is just plain fun. You find yourself smiling and laughing till it hurts. Due to the success of the musical production it was recently announced that a film adaptation of the musical was being produced. So expect more of “Mean Girls” in the coming years!

Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle discuss their podcast “True Crime Obsessed” and upcoming tour

You know that feeling you get when hanging out with your best friends? That sense of pure joy that comes from sharing a love of the same things, laughing at anything possible, and being there for each other through even the toughest of times. Well, if you love True Crime as much as I do, let me introduce you to your two new best friends and hosts of the True Crime Obsessed Podcast, Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle.

Since May 2017, this pair of theater kids have been watching True Crime documentaries and recapping them to their audience in a way that can only be described at hilarious. From garbage bells to super-hot husbands to Patrick’s infectious laugh, these two know how to take even the worst documentary and make you feel like you are laughing about it with your best friends.

Recently, Media Mikes had the exciting opportunity to talk with Patrick and Gillian about their podcast and upcoming tour and they did not disappoint.

Channah Zapotoczny: Why you picked the format with you did with the documentaries for your true crime podcast?
Patrick Hinds: You know it’s so funny cause I think about this all the time. When we decided to work together, we sort of work shopped different ideas together of what kind of true crime podcast we wanted to make. We were going to make a three-part podcast every week that was going to dry and straight forward. It would start with an interview segment and then we would talk about something that we have seen, like a TV show or another podcast or something and then the last part would be focused on true crime. So we were doing this pilot episode and when we sat down to do the part when we talk about something, we decided to talk about the documentary “The Imposter”. Gillian and I were relatively new friends at that point. We knew that we really enjoyed each other but I didn’t know that she was like a completely unintentional comedian. So when we started talking about “The Imposter”, the things that stood out to her was like the quirky details or the things that we were really enraging and she has this really funny way of articulating it. So I was laughing hysterically and we had no thought of making a comedy podcast. So when I was listening back to all the different segments and putting it together. I realized that there was nothing else out there in the podcast space with two friends just recapping true crime documentaries and I said I think found our podcast.
Gillian Pensavalle: And even still it has evolved into the madness it is today. In the early episodes, we sound like we are not trying to disturb someone in the next room. In those very early episodes, you can hear Patrick laughing off mic and not really leaning into what/who we are.
Patrick: I wanted to make a nerdy high brow NPR thing, so then we opened up the wine and the bourbon and started making it for real [laughs].
Gillian: Yeah!
Channah: What’s funny is that when I am listening Gillian, you comments are exactly what I am thinking…
Patrick: [laughs] That’s why it works, so many of our listeners say to us that we are having the conversations they wish they were having with their friends when watching these documentaries. It is so funny because a podcast like that should exist but it wasn’t what we meant to make at all.

Channah: So if you could would you go back and change anything?
Patrick & Gillian (together): Nooooooooooo!
Patrick: We were lucky enough that we both of us have been making podcasts long enough to know that the show will become what it is suppose to be. So I am just so glad we have the common sense to let it be what it was clearly meant to be, right?
Gillian: Right, I love the evolution of it. In all of the podcasts that we have worked on or are working on, there is that evolution you can see. Especially for Hamilcast, in the beginning it is not what it is now. It just became that. We just leaned into what it is. We didn’t even think anyone would be listening.
Patrick: That’s true we made this thing just so that we could hang out. We didn’t make it to have it be as successfully as it is.

Channah: How long do your recordings typically take?
Gillian: A long time. Well because, we do a lot in one sitting.
Patrick: We do like five ads per episode. We do a bonus episode every week and then the regular episode. Sometimes twice a month we will do an after party, which is us just hanging out talking about whatever is one our minds or usually “Newsies” the movie [laughs].
Gillian: Yes, most importantly “Newsies” the movie [laughs].
Channah:
That is such a good movie and is one of my favorites.
Patrick: Oh God it is so good… So recording could sometimes take like five hours. We always know that we nailed it though when we are starving, sweating through our clothes and have no voices.
Gillian: We usually start at 5:30pm and go to 10:30pm and by the end of it my eyes are usually half closed. And that is after working all day on top of it.
Patrick: I just realized our last recording day, I worked 17 hours. I was up at 4:15am to watch everything and then we recorded that night till 10:30pm. It was insane.
Gillian: The thing is that when it is 9:30pm and we are recording the last thing, it can’t sound like it’s the last thing. It has to sound like it is the first thing or the only thing.
Patrick: Exactly! Gillian and I don’t get much of a chance to hang out during the week anymore and it is our only hang night. We are never manufacturing that last hour. I feel like the last hour is usually the best because we are so amped at that point.

Channah: So a fun question for you; let’s say someone was going to bring you in to consult on a documentary and you were going to help them make it. What would be your advise to them to make the documentary great?
Patrick: I love the thing these documentaries are doing when they will setup an interview subject and not tell them that the camera is rolling. The interview subject thinks the camera is on when they get asked the first question but it is rolling the whole time and you get people doing ridiculous things like adjusting their genitals or talking to themselves and they always keep it. I am obsessed with it.
Gillian: That is always great.
Patrick: I worked with a director recently and one of the things that that I learned about making a bonkers documentary was that they did all these interviews with all these experts, put them in the film and then went and took them out. Listen if your story is that bonkers and the experts are getting in the way. I say get rid of them. Get rid of them.
Gillian: Just let it become what it will become. “Capturing the Friedmans” is not about the dad and his issues. It was about this circus clown, so then it became about that.
Patrick: In conclusion, give me a strong 90 minutes. Nobody needs longer than 90 minutes. We always talk about this documentary “The Long Shot”
Gillian: 42 minutes!
Patrick: 42 minutes is a dream, you are in and out. You laugh, you cry. It’s perfect.
Gillian: It leaves you wanting more.

Channah: On your show, you were so excited to meet Rabia (Chaudry) and talk with her. Was meeting her everything you hoped for?
Patrick: Rabia and I had a conversation on the phone and we were in love. It was wonderful. The first time I met her was at CrimeCon, our booths were near each other. Because I had that long phone conversation with her, I ran over to her booth and literally knelt down and she looked at me like she was going to call the police. She had absolutely no clue who I was. I just sat there and thought this wasn’t the reaction I expected. After I told her who I was it was great.
Gillian: Then you dragged her over to me…
Patrick: Do you remember how amazing that moment was…
Gillian: That was amazing.
Patrick: We could stop screaming about how amazing she smelled and we just kept hugging her. She was hugging us back. Rabia gives back the energy that you give her. We were so excited to meet her and she was then so excited to meet us.
Gillian: I loved hugging her and smelling her…and that’s not weird [laughs].
Patrick: We are doing two shows with her. Our show in D.C. and Orlando, we are doing with Rabia and Susan (Simpson).

Channah: I will be at the show in Orlando. Are you guys worried about coming to Florida?
Patrick: [laughs] We are afraid that we are going to be met with pitchforks and alligators at the airport. No, I am very much looking forward to going to Florida.
Gillian: A lot of them just lovingly want to change our minds. And our minds aren’t set. We have a very specific job, which is talking about what is in the documentary.
Patrick: It is not our fault that Wrinkles the Clown was from Florida [laughs]

Channah: Speaking about the tour though, I know you are doing three different types of shows. What can we expect from it?
Patrick: Actually, the funny thing is in Florida it’s the only show that we are doing that we have never done before. In Boston, we are doing the show with Lance (Reenstiema), Tim (Pilleri) and Maggie (Freleng) and we are covering “Missing Maura Murray”. The reason we are doing this show again is because we did it in Brooklyn and it was just so great. The pride show in San Francisco and Seattle is just going to be so gay [laughs]. So Florida and D.C. with Rabia and Susan are going to be fun. We warned them they are walking into the lions den.

Channah: Since you will be in Orlando for your show, does that mean you will be coming to CrimeCon 2020?
Patrick: You know, we don’t know yet. We are trying to figure out our schedules, so once we do we will let everyone know.
Channah: If you do attend, is there anyone you wish will be seated next to you?
Patrick: Last year, we were right next to Susan and Rabia, so that is my fav. If Lance, Tim or Maggie are there, we would love to be next to them. Maybe stick us next to someone we’ve never met before, that would be fun.
Gillian: Well there are some parameters…
Patrick: Yeah, we don’t want to be next to Nancy Grace…
Gillian: Or the Cannibal Cop… they are both always at CrimeCon [laughs]

Channah: Patrick, in almost every episode you claim that someone is hot. If you had to rank your top three, who would they be?
Patrick: Let’s start with Ryan Ferguson, that has to be number 1.
Gillian: I approve.
Patrick: I am in the middle of editing episode two right now of “Don’t Fuck with Cats” and I am on the record of saying that John is hot…
Gillian: John Green?
Patrick: Yeah, John Green.
Gillian: Ok I will accept [laughs]. We also have a lot of women that we think are super hot and super smart…
Patrick: Totally…
Gillian: We had someone in “Dirty John”, the super hot smarty pants girl…
Patrick: Laura Richards…
Gillian: Yes, Laura Richards. And so many people in “Holy Hell”. It’s always weird cause when we are recording it’s just like we are hanging out and we forget other people are listening. So when people from the documentary reach out to us and it happens more often then you think, we forget that other people are listening.
Patrick: I really want Deanna (Thompson) from “Don’t Fuck with Cats” to be our friend
Gillian: I love her.

Channah: Is there anything that you wished I asked that I didn’t?
Patrick: Just that TCO has some really super awesome announcements coming out. So just keep an eye out for that!