How Georgina Castle Became Regina George In Mean Girls: The Musical

By Olivia Emily

4 weeks ago

It's more method than you think...


Time to snap up London’s hottest theatre ticket: Mean Girls: The Musical is now playing at The Savoy Theatre. We got the inside scoop from London’s Regina George, Georgina Castle.

Georgina Castle

Photographer: Pip
Make Up: Alexis Day
Styling: Clementine Brown (dress, Stine Goya; tights, Heist; earrings, Pattaraphan; boots, stylist’s own)

Interview: Georgina Castle On Mean Girls: The Musical

Hi Georgina, how’s life going at the moment?

Life is good. I feel like I’m on a very bright pink cloud nine at the moment.

You’re about to star as Regina George in Mean Girls: The Musical at Savoy Theatre. How does it feel to be playing such an iconic character?

It’s a total honour! I’d heard whispers around the West End that Mean Girls would be coming into town, but the industry is competitive and never in a million years did I think I’d get to play this part. I originally thought I’d be better suited to the role of Karen, but the creative team were convinced I was a Regina, and it turns out they were right! It’s a total gift of a role and I can’t wait to slip into the heels of North Shore’s Queen bee.

How did it feel when you got the call to confirm you’d bagged the role?

I think I dropped to the floor when I got the news! My agent FaceTimed me, so I’ve got a hilarious photo of our goofy, happy faces.

How would you describe Regina in three words?

Calculating, ruthless and fascinating.

What is it like playing her?

The best! She flips from charismatic cool girl to unhinged psychopath in the blink of an eye, so the emotional gymnastics are super fun to play. What makes her even more interesting is that Tina Fey never completely condemns her in her writing. She’s vindictive but vulnerable, confident but, like so many bullies, insecure. I’ve often played wide-eyed innocents but recently with Marie (an evil stepsister in Cinderella) and now Regina I’ve been able to slow mo strut into my villain era. I’ve always been fascinated by the antiheroes and drawn to their more textured personalities. I loved Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl. Their stillness so unnerving but the cogs were always going, and I think that’s what Regina is like. She absorbs everything around her ready to strike a killer blow when the time is right.

How did you prepare for the role?

I injured my neck in a skiing accident in February so lots of the preparation has been physical working to get all of my movement back. It was pretty scary at the time but now we joke that I was just doing research as Regina gets hit by a bus and spends much of Act 2 in a spinal halo. Method! I’ve also been working with a singing coach to build vocal stamina. Jeff Richmond’s score is amazing but blasting out those songs for eight shows a week eventually takes a toll if you don’t look after your voice.

What did you think of the movie version that just came out?

I loved it! Anything Mean Girls related I am a fan!

Did you ever get to see the original on Broadway?

I never got to see it which I’m gutted about. It was such a huge success and earned 12 Tony Award nominations including ‘Best Musical’ which is incredible! However, I’m excited to share our version as it’s brand new with some different songs, a tighter structure and tweaks for London audiences.

What have rehearsals been like so far?

Rehearsals have been brilliant and totally surreal at times with the creative team being who they are. Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, Casey Nicholaw and Nell Benjamin have all been keen to evolve the show and work it around our personalities and the new energy that is coming in. It’s felt genuinely collaborative which is refreshing and means we’ve really been able to put our own stamp on things.

Any standout moments or funny stories?

The sitzprobe is often my favourite part of any process. It’s when we get to sing with the full band for the first time and it just elevates everything. We have an incredible bunch of musicians working on this and the orchestrations are spine-tingling. I wish I could listen to these songs for the first time again. They get you in the gut.

How are you feeling about opening night?

I. Cannot. Wait! I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to achieve in the rehearsal room and during previews and now I just want to be able to share it with our ‘fetch’ audiences because that’s who it’s for! It’s vibrant, sharp, nostalgic and hilarious. You can never have too much of that. However, I start the show rather precariously standing on a moving table in obscenely high heels so hopefully the nerves don’t get the better of me and I stay upright!

How did you get into character?

Initially it was the music that helped me get ‘into the zone’. I knew during the audition process that being too meek or mild wasn’t going to fly so I’d blast out the ‘Meet the Plastics’ theme song and sing ‘My name is Georgina George’ as opposed to Regina to try and bring character and actor together and walk in with her boldness and confidence.

What is the cast dynamic? What is the vibe like during rehearsals?

They are amazing. Full stop. It’s such a joy to be able to say that genuinely because it doesn’t always happen, but they’ve assembled a group of really lovely humans who are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. We went into this knowing that the topics of the show (bullying, exclusion, harassment) definitely do not need to be a part of our world off-stage and it’s bought us closer together.

Charlie Burn (Cady), Elèna Gyasi (Gretchen), Georgina Castle (Regina), Grace Mouat (Karen) and Elena Skye (Janis)

Charlie Burn (Cady), Elèna Gyasi (Gretchen), Georgina Castle (Regina), Grace Mouat (Karen) and Elena Skye (Janis). © Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

You’ve also starred in the likes of Mamma Mia! and Dirty Dancing on stage. Other than Mean Girls, what has been your favourite project to date?

Mamma Mia! was unbelievably special to me as it was my first West End job and is just so unreservedly joyous. My grandparents are Swedish so, naturally, they’re huge ABBA fans and it was the last thing they saw me do before both of them passed away. My grandad (Morfar in Swedish) used a cane but was up dancing in the aisles during ‘Dancing Queen’ and I’ll never forget it. The fact that they both got to see me perform on a West End stage and live out my childhood dream brings me great comfort, especially as they had to patiently sit through all of my living room shows as a child, ha!

Any roles in the pipeline that you’re excited about? (If you’re allowed to tell us!)

There are a few projects that could potentially be very exciting, but nothing set in stone as of yet. I’m with Mean Girls until next year so that’s very much the focus at the moment.

Any plans to expand more into film or TV?

Absolutely. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while but so far theatre has kept me busy and I’m very grateful for that. Live theatre will always be my first love. It’s what sets my little ‘arty’ heart on fire, but I’d love to explore other avenues post Mean Girls.

Who has been your favourite actor to work with in the past?

Wow – where to begin?! I’ve met some of my closest friends playing opposite each other like Laura Baldwin and Rebecca Lock but working in theatre you make connections on and off the stage. My first dresser at Mamma Mia! (Emily Stubbs) is my best friend to this day and I’m about to be maid of honour at her wedding.

Which co-star or team members did you learn the most from?

Lori Haley-Fox. She played my mother in Dirty Dancing which was my very first job out of drama school. She was a guiding hand and taught me all the dos and don’ts of the industry that you might not know coming in. I’m so grateful that we got so close on that job. I call her Mamma Foxy!

What’s your dream role?

It’s ever-changing! When I was younger it was roles like Sandy in Grease but, as you age and experience different things in life, you crave different things from roles. A lot of my training went down a darker route, so I’d love to put that to use and do something very intense and gritty that would challenge me in its own unique way.

What’s a genre you’d like to do more of?

My greatest joy is to entertain and to make people feel something. There’s a fine line between laughing and crying. Shows that are able to do both I find super inspiring like After Life and Fleabag. I’d also love to throw some action in there, too! Sport was a big part of my life growing up, so it would be amazing to train for a specific project and get really good at martial arts, physical combat or horse riding.

Do you get to spend much time at home?

I have recently, which is wonderful. My job used to take me out of the country a lot and travel will always be a huge passion of mine, but being in the West End with Mean Girls means I can settle in one place and have more of a solid base. As an actor you’re often painfully available or completely unavailable, so I like to make the most of my downtime by seeing as much of my family and friends as possible. It’s the best job in the world, but often very anti-social.

Do you live in the town or the country? 

I live in central London. I adore it.

Which do you prefer?

I grew up in Clapham so have never known anything other than London living, but my parents recently moved out to the countryside and it’s been so gorgeous visiting them. The long walks, the fresh air, the space and sense of community. There’s so much to love, but I’m a city girl at heart. I love the twinkly lights of town and the hustle and bustle.

What’s your interior design style?

I currently live in an old industrial warehouse, and I love it! Anywhere with an exposed brick wall has me sold. In a dream world I’d like to find a nice blend between factory-esque industrial vibes and a modern farmhouse with a touch of boho in there to keep my beach-loving heart happy.

How do you find balance in your personal and work lives?

It’s all about making choices about what you prioritise and when. Acting can feel all-consuming at times so I’m making an active effort not to compromise on family time and important milestones in friends’ and family’s lives. Missing weddings and birthdays comes with the territory as our jobs are so inconsistent but sometimes saying ‘no’ to work and ‘yes’ to life will always give you a healthy balance.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

An astronaut… I took a very different turn.

If you could give advice to your 15 year-old self, what would it be? 

Don’t spend so much time trying to please others. You’ll be so much happier when what you’re thinking, saying and doing are all in alignment.

How can we all live a little bit better?

Connect with loved ones and get your heart-rate up once a day. Health and human relationships are the only things that truly matter.

 

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Georgina Castle Recommends…

I’m currently watching… The Block Australia where couples compete to refurbish a home and sell it for the highest auction price! I am obsessed.

What I’m reading… Sociopath: A Memoir by Patrick Gagne

The last thing I watched (and loved) was… Baby Reindeer

What I’m most looking forward to seeing… The National Theatre Live showing of Andrew Scott in Present Laughter

Favourite film of all time… Gladiator and Pretty Woman

Favourite song of all time… That’s so hard! I’m afraid I have to give you three. Nat King Cole’s ‘Smile,’ ‘Rainbow Connection’ and ‘Pure Imagination.’

Band/singer I always have on repeat… I love Remember Monday but mainly I listen to a mixture of musical theatre and deep house. A combo not regularly paired together…

My ultimate cultural recommendation… I love my food but can never make up my mind what I fancy so Borough Market, Old Spitalfields Market and Camden Market are musts! Munching and browsing, it doesn’t get better.

Cultural guilty pleasure… Made in Chelsea. Sue me…it’s riveting!

WATCH

Georgina Castle stars as Regina George in Mean Girls, now at the Savoy Theatre (Savoy Ct, Strand, London WC2R 0ET). Tickets can be purchased by visiting MeanGirlsMusical.com or via the Box Office: 0844 871 3000