by Lance Wiener
Mean Girls on Broadway has been going through some exciting changes. As they entered their second year on the Main Stem, new ensemble members were also welcomed into the Mean Girls family.
Swings and ensemble members are incredible in their own rights. Being able to dance, sing, and possibly cover larger roles is a balance that must be held to the highest potential. In large productions, such as Wicked and Mean Girls, this is especially true.
Aaron Alcaraz, one of the newest students at North Shore High School, is a swing as well as an understudy for Kevin Gnapoor in the Broadway production.
Alcaraz recalls watching the movie many times with friends, stating “It was a movie that my friends and I quoted all the time.” As for the musical, his first experience with it was at an audition before the production’s out-of-town tryout in Washington D.C. He remembers “screaming on the inside” when realizing he’d be auditioning in front of Casey Nicholaw and Tina Fey. It was extremely surreal.
The audition process for their out-of-town tryout seemed to have gone well, as he recalls that although he didn’t initially land the job for a swing, he was kept on file to be called for their upcoming national tour. Once he went in for the callbacks, in front of Nicholaw, Fey, and Jeff Richmond, he was eventually cast as a swing for the Broadway production. As a swing for Mean Girls, Alcaraz must be ready to go on for any of the 7 male ensemble roles in the show at any time. He admits that he is still grasping and learning some of his tracks, but it’s exhilarating to be able to watch and learn from the wings of the theater each and every night.
Alcaraz also covers Cheech Manohar’s character, Kevin Gnapoor. He finds the roles fun to play, explaining that he approaches learning both his swing and understudy roles the same way. “I just want to do the best job possible with each one.”
If you’ve previously seen the National Tour of Rent, you may have seen Alcaraz take on the role of Angel. Being a dream role for him, it was one amazing experience. He thinks that tour helped prepare him for Broadway.
“I learned how disciplined I had to be in order to have the stamina to do the show every night,” he says.
As the show was a touring production, being able to adjust to a different climate/environment has helped Aaron in preparing for the different tracks he covers as a swing. Aaron hopes Mean Girls will help him grow his confidence. “Having to learn so many things quickly and retain all the information is such a challenge,” he admits.
Alcaraz adds, “I never thought that I would be a swing on Broadway and here I am proving myself wrong which is awesome.”
Being able to trust in oneself is also a big player in performing. “There will be times in the future where I won’t feel 100% ready to go on for a track but I’ll do it anyway and trust I know more than I think I do and trust that my other castmates are also looking out for me,” he adds.
Having a support system in a production is truly a gift to one’s body and mind. Everyone grows in a show, whether it be artistically or emotionally. Being able to share talents with not only the audience but with fellow performers give room for growth, room for inspiration, and room for relationships. It’s definitely a process, but every step is a step towards a final and worthy goal, a goal of giving one’s 110% on stage every night.