RUTHLESS! The Musical entertained the crowd on Fran Drescher’s New York Harbor cruise to kick off Gay Pride Week last Sunday, June 21st. A benefit for Cancer Schmancer, the floating party was held aboard the Hornblower Hybrid. Patti LuPone joined the festivities immediately following her matinee of Shows for Days along with other celebrity guests including Thomas Roberts, Patti Stanger, Jill Zarin, Peter Marc Jacobson, and Ann Hampton Callaway. The fabulous Rita McKenzie (Ethel Merman’s Broadway, RUTHLESS! L.A.) and 10-year-old Tori Murray (Paper Mill’s New Voices of 2014: Oh, What a Night!) performed their showstopping numbers from RUTHLESS! to thundering ovations from the (literally) glittering crowd.
RUTHLESS! began performances on June 25th and the official Opening Night is set for Monday, July 13th at St. Luke’s Theatre. Book and lyrics are by Joel Paley with music by Marvin Laird. Joel Paley also directed the original production of RUTHLESS! as well as productions in L.A., South Beach and the record-breaking concert event starring Bernadette Peters. He will once again serve as director of the new production, with Marvin Laird on board as music supervisor as well.
When The Bad Seed meets Gypsy it’s fun for the whole dysfunctional family! Tina Denmark is a pretty, charming and diabolical eight-year-old who “was born to entertain.” With the encouragement of slick and overbearing potential agent Sylvia St. Croix, Tina will do anything to play the lead in her school play. The question is, where does such remarkable talent and unstoppable ambition come from? The answer is shocking in this award-winning Stage Mother of all musicals.
RUTHLESS! first appeared Off-Broadway 23 years ago at the Players Theatre, winning both the Drama Desk Award for Best Lyrics and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Musical. Most notably, the production featured a few young girls in the role of Tina whose names might be familiar to contemporary audiences including Britney Spears, Natalie Portman and Laura Bell Bundy. The show continues to be a favorite among regional theaters and productions are continually being staged around the globe.
But make no mistake – this is not your mother’s RUTHLESS! This is no mere revival, but a newly imagined meditation on narcissism, talented tykes and stage mothers in a world that has since been introduced to such gems as “Toddlers and Tiaras” and Honey Boo Boo.
This version of RUTHLESS! is the one co-creators Joel Paley and Marvin Laird have long envisioned. As Paley explains, “Before it became a full musical, it was a long one-act but, in the transformation, it became a two act musical because that’s what was required to get it Off-Broadway. In this staging, they’ve done away with the intermission and have streamlined it into 90 minutes that is roller-coaster sharp and fast.” So reinvented is this new edition of RUTHLESS! that Samuel French is publishing the revised version to coincide with this summer’s Off-Broadway opening.
Also featured in the cast of RUTHLESS! are Peter Land (Cabaret, All’s Well That Ends Well, My Fair Lady), Kim Maresca (Westport’s Twelfth Night), Andrea McCollough (Urinetown, Grease), and Tracy Jai Edwards (Hairspray, Legally Blonde).
RUTHLESS! is produced Off-Broadway by Maxine Paul, Evan Sacks and Ken Schur. The playing schedule is Mondays at 8 PM, Thursdays at 7 PM, Fridays at 8 PM, and Saturdays at 2 PM at St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 West 46th Street (just west of Eighth Ave.) Tickets are available through www.RuthlessTheMusical.com or by calling 212-239-6200.