Setting the Stage: Saint Agnes Alumni Stars in New ‘Mean Girls’ Musical Adaptation

Setting the Stage: Saint Agnes Alumni Stars in New ‘Mean Girls’ Musical Adaptation

Saint Agnes Alumni, Bebe Wood, starred  as Gretchen Wieners in the new “Mean Girls” Musical. Before moving to Los Angeles as a teenager, Wood was raised in KC and attended St. Agnes for grade school. 

Wood grew up in Pendleton Heights and continued to move to Fairway where she started her studies at Saint Agnes. 

“I have the fondest memories playing with my friends and cousins at the Grotto or Indian Mission,” Wood said. “I also learned how to ride a bike in the Bishop Miege parking lot.”

Wood’s interest in theater began at age 3 when her parents took her to see “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” on the West End in London. Wood expressed that her parents believed the show to be slightly disruptive for a 3 year-old, but she loved the show more than they expected.

“During the middle of the show, the Child Catcher leaned over the edge of the stage, placed his sickle on my nose and said, “I’ll get you kiddy-widdy,’” Wood said. “My parents were …  thinking I would start crying or freaking out or something, but apparently I just started giggling. I loved it. And from that moment on, I wanted to be an actor.”

“And from that moment on, I wanted to be an actor.”

— Bebe Wood

After the family returned to KC, Wood asked her parents if she could start taking acting classes. Years later while in New York City, her parents signed her up for classes once in New York.

“At the class, there was an agent there, and she asked me to sign with the agency a few days later,” Wood said. “Originally, my parents said no. They didn’t want me to have a career as a kid. But after some convincing and begging, they gave in and said yes.”

According to Wood, at the age of 10 her first scene partner was Tina Fey on “30 Rock,” a live sketch-comedy show in New York. This served as a jumping-off point for her acting career.

“It was such a dream come true,” Wood said. “In many ways, I attribute the start of my career to her.”

When she started her acting career, she lived in NYC, and by the time she got into high school, she was living in Los Angeles and working on a show called the “Real O’Neals.” Through this, Wood did not have a normal highschool experience.

“I still went to high school on the set,” Wood said.””In between scenes you basically do as much school as you can, then when you wrap shooting, you go home and finish the rest of your schoolwork, if you have any stuff left to do.”

In November of 2022, she received an email asking her to audition for the musical film adaptation of Mean Girls. The following January, she was asked to meet on Zoom with the casting directors. 

Photo courtesy of Bebe Wood

“It was just supposed to me, the casting and the directors, but when I logged on, the first face I saw was Tina’s,” Wood said. “ It was such a magical full-circle moment. The prospect of getting to work with Tina again was incredible.”

Wood recalled calling her mom after the Zoom meeting and saying, “I don’t even care if I get the part, I’m just so thankful and touched that this happened.” A few days later, she got the call saying she booked it.

According to Wood, while filming “Mean Girls,” 70+ hour weeks felt very difficult, but typical throughout the schedule. 

“Those weeks are difficult, no matter what you do — but when you get to do something you’re passionate about with a group of people you’re passionate about, it hardly feels like work at all,” Wood said.

Wood said that being a face of a national movie comes with a lot of pressure during a period of constant change.

“There’s lots of moving parts that require an intense amount of precision and rehearsal,” Wood said. “Not only the faces you see onscreen, but the hundreds of faces behind the camera put in hours and hours of tireless effort. I could not be more proud of everyone.”

When returning to KC, her favorite spots consist of Mills Record Company in Westport and Donna’s Dress Shop.

 “Kansas City will always feel warm to me, no matter the time of year,” Wood said. “The city itself just has such a rich history and unique style. Ultimately, I would just describe it as warm, nostalgic and home.”

Outside of acting, Wood feels very passionate about music as a few years ago she wrote and released an EP called “21st Century Hippie”’

“I’m also just a total theater kid at heart, and I’d never been a part of a musical-movie before,” Wood said. “It meant a lot to me to be able to combine my two greatest loves.”

Wood expressed that if she hadn’t begun on “Real O’Neals,” she planned to go to Miege for her high school years. As a KC native, Wood believes the city will never leave her.

“I even went and shadowed for a day, it was so much fun!” Wood said. “No matter how much I travel or how far away I go, KC will always be home.”

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