Closed 1h 15m
School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play
West Village
86

School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play NYC Reviews and Tickets

86%
(255 Reviews)
Positive
97%
Mixed
2%
Negative
1%
Members say
Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Relevant, Absorbing

About the Show

MCC Theater's buoyant and biting hit comedy returns to New York. An exploration of the universal similarities (and glaring differences) facing teenage girls across the globe. How far would you go to be queen bee?

Read more Show less

Member Reviews (255)

88
Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Thought-provoking, Wonderful ensemble

See it if you want to see a very amusing, deeply moving, sharply biting, highly insightful play about the search for identity & what defines beauty.

Don't see it if you'd prefer the caricatures of selfish American teens in the musical Mean Girls to the realness of these irresistible African "mean girls".

81
Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if African boarding school pageant brings funny, refreshing take on serious subjects of bullying and self-esteem. Enthusiasticly game ensemble

Don't see it if Woman's inhumanity to woman may be explored ad nauseam, but the cultural surprise makes this bitter pill go down easily.Underdeveloped 65 mn Read more

Critic Reviews (29)

October 22nd, 2018

"This eight-member ensemble is a well-oiled machine...Bioh, a shrewd comic writer of obvious gifts, doesn’t shrink from the uglier side of her subject. And she maintains enough empathy to redeem even the most narcissistic and spiteful of antiheroines...I saw and adored 'School Girls' last fall, and good on MCC for bringing it back. Taichman recreates her very musical, funny, and tight-paced 70-minute production, which includes...one of the most appealing ensembles on stage now."
Read more

October 23rd, 2018

“Most of MCC's excellent world premiere cast returns in Tony-winning director Rebecca Taichman's spot-on production. They're joined by a trio of terrific new colleagues in a production that effectively blends humor and bite to swiftly make its points in a play that's solidly satisfying in just 75 minutes."
Read more

October 22nd, 2018

"Uproarious. Affecting, human, and sympathetic, too; but this is the funniest time you’ve spent in high school since those 'History Boys' came to town...The play is brightened by a uniformly talented cast. Boafo and Jones make a strong mismatch...Anyone who laughed through it last November is likely to urge friends to catch the play before it closes...Because yes, 'School Girls' is a joy to see."
Read more

October 22nd, 2018

"Punchy, crisp, and sly...The laughs are combined with some tougher drama...Race, ideals of beauty, and personal identity are at the heart of 'School Girls'—and they are uncompromisingly addressed by Bioh and the cast. The play is only 75 minutes long, and perhaps on the Lortel stage that makes sense. But it is so smart, quick, and intelligent this critic kept wishing it was longer. Maybe if it grows to a bigger stage, it just might."
Read more

October 24th, 2018

“A highly entertaining comedy that takes an all-too-familiar American concept and shows how universal it indeed is...Bioh gives room for the characters to grow without completely vilifying our lead character or making her a victim...Paulina could quickly be the bitch...but it’s in Boafo’s excellent acting choices and Bioh’s complex writing that leads the audience to appreciate the intricacies of humanity...A well-paced, rewarding ensemble show that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"The nasty-teen comedy genre emerges wonderfully refreshed and even deepened by its immersion in a world it never considered...Beneath the infectious silliness of Biog's play’s adopted genre, the ugly question of internalized racism lurks...Mostly and smartly, she trusts the form; there’s a reason these stories work. Ms. Taichman’s production highlights all of those reasons...One of the production’s chief assets is the delicious ensemble work."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"Nearly assaultive hilarity...'School Girls' is a kind of Bioh bonanza; after several seasons of settling for just one of her, there are suddenly eight...Her brief play is missing its middle...Taichman leans so far into the bright Punch-and-Judy colors of the first 50 minutes that the last, humanistic 20 seem to take place on a different planet. Still, Bioh knows how to write a stunning breakdown scene, and Boafo handles the tonal switcheroo with ease."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"Funny and fast-paced...Under Taichman’s confident hand, 'School Girls' rolls swiftly through its 75 minutes...'School Girls' is formulaic without being unsatisfying. Familiar structures, especially when full of fresh faces and sharp humor, can be deeply enjoyable...Its emotional and narrative leaps are fast, even a little too fast...Bioh knows how to craft bouncy, juicy dialogue that performers can have fun with."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"A ferociously entertaining morality tale that proves as heartwarming as it is hilarious...Bioh makes an auspicious playwriting debut with this uproarious comedy that also pulls at the heartstrings...The broad humor occasionally lacks subtlety, and the piece feels like an extended one-act. But when was the last time you wished a play were actually longer?...Taichman provides a fast-paced staging that makes the play engaging from first minute to last."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"Delightful ensemble work...The play is full of light and laughter...It’s impossible not to laugh at their clever, but cruel schoolgirl humor. At the same time, it’s impossible not to brood over the importance they place on skin tone...One thing you cannot call this play is subtle...Bioh goes too far with the character of Paulina, who is an insufferably over-the-top narcissist and far too polished a villain."
Read more

November 28th, 2017

“While you’re waiting for the musical version of the movie to arrive on Broadway this spring, warm up with this remarkable journey into a Ghanaian girls’ school...Staged by Taichman with an irresistible combination of verve and sensitivity, ‘School Girls’ is pretty impossible not to love, even as the play takes a predictable turn into heart-on-sleeve coming-of-age territory. The ensemble is flawless and so engaging that this MCC Theater production has now been extended twice."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"One of the funniest shows of the season, benefiting not just from sharp writing, but a stellar cast that knows how to ground this comedy in real stakes...Director Rebecca Taichman has impressively fostered a familiarity within the cast that makes it seems as though they've been living together for years...It would be easy to condemn Paulina as a mean girl, but Bioh forces us to question how she became that way."
Read more

November 27th, 2017

"Rebecca Taichman's direction hits all the right notes, lightly spoofing the girls' aspirations while also demonstrating that these beautiful, bubbly, intelligent young creatures are beguiling enough without having to borrow from Western culture. The cast is loaded with fresh faces you'll want to see again...It's even easier to imagine bright futures for the talented young ladies of the cast and their playwright, all of whom make their mark in this delightful comedy-drama."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"That rare piece of theatre that feels authentic from beginning to end—a perfect amalgam of prescient writing, superb acting, spot-on design and savvy direction...A taut exploration of racism, colorism and classism that upends notions of self-loathing and challenges the world's definition of beauty...You'll feel the heartache and unfairness of a callous world amidst the laughter and gaiety playwright Bioh so accurately captures."
Read more

November 17th, 2017

“Highly comic and poignant...a fresh take on the familiar terrain of feuding high school girls. It's a substantive comedy that’s superbly staged and wonderfully performed...Bioh’s snappy dialogue perfectly renders the rhythms of teenage lingo and the pain beneath the bravado, emitting the universality of adolescence. Bioh’s construction is meticulous....Besides the foreign setting there’s nothing really 'new' about the play but’s it’s so well written and gloriously presented."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

“There is another very different 'Mean Girls' getting ready to launch on Broadway shortly that Tina Fey is working on. But, believe me, nothing could rival the 'African Mean Girls Play'...Not to be missed. Bioh is to be congratulated on her ability to create a very humorous script bringing topical/important issues to light, together with Taichman on her always splendid creativity in directing this oh, so talented cast.”
Read more

November 21st, 2017

"Colorism has real implications that we see brought to bear to stinging effect...This idea is explored in nuanced moments...’School Girls’ is also very funny...Sometimes, the play's brisk 75-minute pacing does lead to moments that feel simplified...It's a compliment to ‘School Girls’ to say that there could fruitfully be more of it...Bioh has crafted a fresh, keen interpretation of a frequently used trope, while Taichman and her cast have created a lively and satisfying production.”
Read more

November 28th, 2017

"It is a lot of fun—punctuated by moments of stunning cruelty and painful revelation...There is much that rings painfully true in Bioh’s seventy-minute immersion in those estrogen-charged, initiation-to-adulthood dramas, rife with both tenderly shared secrets and blindsiding betrayals. But there is something more here...'School Girls' delivers enough punch to keep you engaged and entertained—even if the payoff punch is a tad short of a knockout."
Read more

November 18th, 2017

“The humor keeps the pace up and the jokes land easily...The true worth and profundity of this play emerges gradually...The characters gain depth as we learn more about them...There is something so undeniably likable about the entire cast, who have clearly formed a strong ensemble...There is an energy and honesty to all of the performances...A light directorial touch by Taichman is surely to be credited here also; a laudable approach especially in handling a first script by a new playwright.”
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"An often unsubtle but ultimately stimulating new play...What becomes clear is how deliberate Bioh’s crafting of her play and how intriguing her insights...The playwright also deftly draws character dynamics...Director Rebecca Taichman exhibits none of the ingenuity in stagecraft that won her the Tony...What the production has going for it above all is its eight-member cast — all wonderful, all women, an ensemble whose girlish enthusiasm feels so real that we revel in it.."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"A first-rate production of Jocelyn Bioh’s very funny (and ultimately very sad) 'School Girls'...Bioh smartly captures the way teenagers talk and act towards each other...Fortunately, Bioh does equally well with the play’s two adult characters...Everything has been immaculately staged by Tony Award winner Rebecca Taichman, who guides all the women to sure-handed performances...The play feels a little slight sometimes...But its conclusion is just right."
Read more

December 12th, 2017

“It matters little that the situations are old-hat, contrived, and manipulative; the African setting gives it a delightful twist, it's written with much wit, and it's so well-played by a first-rate cast, that you find yourself absorbed from its first words to its last. A huge hand must go to…director…Taichman for making this play so…spirited. 'School Girls'…has some moments of bitterly divisive meanness but, with its plentiful laughs and tears, it's also uplifting, unifying, and funny.”
Read more

November 18th, 2017

“A delightful play…There are hilarious examples of their misunderstanding of American culture…Bioh overlays the well-worn conventions of teenage cliques and beauty pageant competition with an additional ingredient: colorism…Has anything changed since 1986? Come, find out and be entertained. The actors are all wonderful. Director Rebecca Taichman has demonstrated her usual sure but deft hand.”
Read more

November 17th, 2017

“Is there anything new and funny to be said about beauty contests? Bioh takes on that challenge in her new and very first play...Bioh sets that most superficial of competitions in a girls’ boarding school in the Aburi Mountains of central Ghana...Taichman directs her young actors to deliver their performances in bright, primary colors...Comedy can be serious business, but Bioh doesn’t trust her own humor...When did plays become skits with a moral stuck on at the end?”
Read more

December 19th, 2017

"Actress Jocelyn Bioh’s professional playwriting debut is a sharp, uproarious tale...Tony-winning director Rebecca Taichman keeps it all in check, never letting things get out of hand or become too clichéd...'School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play' is no mere African American version of 'Mean Girls'; instead, it is as smart and entertaining, as sweet and honest, its characters as obnoxious and horrible and lovable and vulnerable, as teen girls themselves."
Read more

November 16th, 2017

"Ms. Bioh has flawlessly captured the rhythms and speech patterns of anxiety-ridden teens, with their razor-sharp lines of social demarcation and their endless reserve of passive aggression. But this is also a play whose characters do not fit the cardboard-cutout roles of traditional teen comedies."
Read more

November 20th, 2017

"It starts out sitcom funny, with six young women chattering...mostly about who will be chosen to compete in the coming Miss Ghana pageant...A young woman just returned from America whose lighter skin makes her in the eyes of some more likely to win...Watching these young women deal with the harsh realities thrown at them, whether with stone-faced silence or gut-wrenching primal screams, gives significant depth to plays that might otherwise seem superficial."
Read more

November 27th, 2017

“The play really is, as the title suggests, simply – and I think audaciously – the film ‘Mean Girls’ set in west Africa. Ms. Bioh’s writing is joyous and alive, and often very funny. Her treatment of issues such as self image and notions of beauty is never forced and always compassionate. Taichman directs with brio and warmth. The production is a breath of fresh air that doesn’t shy away from unabashedly entertaining. Which brings us to the cast, which is a knockout.”
Read more

December 15th, 2017

“Imagine the cult-classic millennial satire ‘Mean Girls’ transposed to ’80s Africa and starring six high-school seniors at the Aburi Girls Boarding School competing for the crown of Miss Ghana 1986...As sprightly and funny as the play is — there’s still a heaviness to it. Seldom is this side of Africa seen: everyday teenage life, beauty, community, vulnerability, humor — humanity...Africa just can’t seem to win.”
Read more

Watch This Next (15)

97
Must See!
10K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 14
NYC: Midtown W

This hip-hop infused tuner about America's founding fathers won 11 Tony Awards inc. Best Musical.

Buy
93
Must See!
20K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 14
NYC: Midtown W

In its 17th year, this all-ages musical spectacle tells the untold true story of the Witches of Oz.

Buy
92
Must See!
3K+ Reviews
Opens Sep 21
NYC: Midtown W

A charming true story of a tiny Canadian town that cared for 7000 grounded travelers post-9/11.

Buy