Interview with Mean Girls star Grey Henson

Grey Henson

Tony Award nominee Grey Henson has become a Broadway favorite seemingly overnight thanks to his crowd-pleasing turn as Damina Hubbard in the Broadway premiere of hit musical Mean Girls  at the August Wilson Theatre. His comic efforts as everyone's number 1 GBF [Gay Best Friend] have not only won him an entirely new fanbase, but also earned him a string of accolades including Drama Desk and Tony Award nominations in the category of "Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical". His tap dance number is widely regarded as one of the show's top highlights and his onstage chemistry with partner-in-crime Janis Sarkisian, played by Barrett Wilbert Weed, has been described as "Will & Grace" for the next generation.

He made his Broadway debut as Elder McKinley (and Moroni) in The Book of Mormon in August 2014 - a role he also played on the show's National Tour - and after two years, it was time to leave that show for pastures new as Tiny Fey came a-calling.

We recently caught up with Grey to talk Mean Girls, Tina Fey and backstage gossip...

Grey Henson in Interview
(Photo by Austin Yang)

You’ve been getting such a great reaction from audiences and critics alike for your performance as Damian Hubbard in Mean Girls. Did you always anticipate such an overwhelmingly positive reaction?

It’s been a pleasant surprise, for sure. The show is about female empowerment and girls, but also the gays who love them, I guess. So, I’ve sort of hopped on the boat and I’m sailing with them down the river. I’m so stoked and so honored to have received the nominations I have – to be recognised for a performance that I’m just having so much fun doing. It’s really cool.

I know on the night I attended, the clear majority in the audience was made up of teenage girls, but do you feel Mean Girls also appeals to a wider demographic?

Well, what’s funny is that the movie came out when I was in high school, so my generation - who are now in their twenties - they’re coming to the show and they’re loving it and they love Tina Fey’s humor. We do have that younger demographic, but then there’s the Moms who bring their daughters - who love it even more - and they’re wearing the “I’m a Cool Mom” T-shirts. It’s a wide range. But honestly, my favorite moments at the stage door are when the straight husbands say to me: “I love the tap dance! That’s my favorite part!” and then I say: “Job well done.”

And if you can get through to them…

Honestly, that’s my whole goal!

Grey Henson with Barrett Wilbert & Erika Henningsen in Mean Girls
(Photo by Joan Marcus)

You mentioned Tina Fey, who obviously wrote the book for this musical. How hands-on was she during the whole process?

I consider her a friend now. She was there every day. It’s her baby and her husband Jeff [Richmond] wrote the music. They really were excited about bringing this show to Broadway and they were extremely hands-on. She would change jokes on the spot during previews and she would have three other options for one little joke that were even funnier than what it was before. She’s truly a genius.

Tell us a little bit about the backstage environment at the August Wilson Theatre. Is it anything like in the number “Where Do You Belong?”

Oh God, no! Can you imagine if everyone was terrible, mean and cliquey?! Everyone’s having a really good time and there’s no method acting going on! (Laughs) I’m really good friends with everybody. I share a dressing room with Kyle Selig, who plays Aaron Samuels – the hot shirtless guy - and we did The Book of Mormon together and we went to college together. He’s been my rock through all of this. We have so many Broadway debuts in the ensemble and they’re so excited to be doing the show. The audience is loving it. We got nominated for 12 Tonys and all the Awards season stuff has been so amazing for us. We are all riding on a high!

(Photo by Austin Yang)

Mean Girls Tickets are available now for performances through to July 7, 2019.