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Ruthless

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Joel Paley (book and lyrics), Marvin Laird (music)

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 4786

SHOWING : September 18, 2015 - October 03, 2015

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Judy Denmark, the quintessential housewife, is the mother of talented eight-year-old Tina. Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she will do anything to win the part in her school musical. Anything includes murdering the leading lady! What wouldn’t a mother do for her perfect child? This aggressively outrageous musical farce garnered rave reviews during its original long Off-Broadway run.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Michelle Davis
Tina Denmark Sarah Carroll
Eve Carly Frates
Judy Denmark Lisa Hatt
Sylvia St. Croix Patrick Hill
Lita Encore Kimberly Hoover
Miss Block Jessie Kuipers
Myra Thorn Liane Lemaster
Tina Denmark Rosslyn Milne
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Definitely Not Toothless
by playgoer
Monday, September 28, 2015
4.5
"Ruthless" is a big, brassy mash-up of "All About Eve," "Gypsy," and "The Bad Seed" (among other inspirations). ACT3 has produced a big, brassy version of the show that hits on almost all cylinders. The mint green, hot pink, and cerulean blue set designed by William Joel Coady is framed by black and white accents that make the colors pop, and contains a staircase to allow grand entrances and dramatic exits. Michelle Davis’ costume design adds to the colorfulness of the production.

William Joel Coady’s lighting design adds flashes of color at times, but there are sections early in both acts where actors are emoting deep in shadow. Rest assured, though, that a little thing like inadequate lighting can’t stop this incandescent cast from catching fire and blazing to the heavens. Almost without exception, they blend the over-the-top antics director Michelle Davis has given them with human shadings that make the audience care about these characters almost as much as they’re delighted by them.

Lisa Hatt gets the juiciest role, morphing from a self-effacing housewife/mother at the start to someone far more vibrant by the end. She handles both ends of the spectrum extremely well, and her vocals shine. Patrick Hill, in the drag role of Sylvia St. Croix, comes across nearly as well, with his songs smack-dab in the strongest part of his vocal range. Sarah Carroll, Tina in the performance I attended, beautifully combines Baby June from "Gypsy" and Rhoda Penmark from "The Bad Seed" to give a charming performance. Liane LeMaster makes everything possible of her role as a third grade teacher, and Paige Crawford, Carly Frates, and Jessie Kuipers all shine in their limited roles. The only weak performance, to my mind, comes from Kimberly Hoover, who emphasizes the bigger-than-life portion of her role to such an extent that any relation to a human life seems to have been sucked out of it.

Musical director Spencer G. Stephens and choreographer Amy Cain have gotten the cast to perform at as high a level as one could wish, and Elise Dotson Gomez’s scenic painting and Mary Sorrel’s props meet an equally high standard. Spencer G. Stephens’ sound design keeps everything audible and balanced, letting Paul Tate’s piano playing take center stage as much as is possible from his perch on high at stage right. Musically and theatrically and comedically, this is a spot-on hit!
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