Natalie Shaw grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and started her musical theatre training at an early age. After finishing her degree at the University of Minnesota, Natalie headed to NYC to pursue her professional career. Now starring in the national touring production of Mean Girls, Natalie talks about her role as Cady Heron.
[National tour at the Miller Theater, on the Kimmel Cultural Campus, 250 S. Broad St] October 3–8, 2023; kimmelculturalcampus.org
Debra Danese: What was your early training in your hometown of North Dakota?
Natalie Shaw: I spent my formative years at a summer arts intensive called Trollwood. I LOVE TROLLWOOD. It’s this beautiful amphitheater where you can take dance, improv, design, singing and acting classes, and perform epic shows on a massive outdoor stage. Sometimes we brought in thousands of people to our shows. That definitely prepared me for the crowds we get and to not to panic on stage. I was also in every high school show, and need to shout out some other community theatre programs like Act Up Theatre and Gooseberry. They all set me up for success.
DD: What is your pre-show ritual?
NS: I listen and sing to Beyoncé and Ariana Grande, drink some tea, chat with my sister on the phone, and think about Lindsay Lohan.
DD: How would you describe Cady’s transformation from a new student to a member of The Plastics?
NS: After living a sheltered, home-schooled life in Kenya, and not ever really understanding what “high school” means; Cady goes into North Shore High a bit naive and initially takes everything at face value. She has to learn the rules of high school; a jungle in and of itself, which immediately draws her to the “apex predator,” Regina George and her popular friend group, The Plastics. Initially, with the help of her new outcast friends Janis and Damian, she plays a game with Regina and the Plastics to get to know their deepest, darkest secrets. But the more time she spends with the Plastics, the more she becomes one, which leads to her descent and falling out of both friend groups. Eventually, she finds her way back after doing some soul-searching and realizing that she doesn’t need to go low to get high.
DD: Mean Girls is filled with memorable line. What’s your favorite?
NS: “Uh… I’m not exactly sure what we’re doing, but me too. I’m ugly too.”
DD: Your bio offers encouragement for actors working through the rejections. What’s the best advice you were given along the way?
NS: I got two pieces of advice: 1. Follow the paths that show themselves to you. 2. Make your own tea.
MEAN GIRLS will be at the Miller Theater, on the Kimmel Cultural Campus, from October 3 – 8, 2023.