Ruthless!

by  Joel Paley, Marvin Laird

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  1m, 6f

"A spoof that has enough absurd plot twists and multiple identities to fill several old movies.... The fun comes from the sheer brazenness!" - The New York Times


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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 6f
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce, Parody / Spoof
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway, National Alliance of Musical Theatre-Festival Musicals
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Revised in August 2015 to reflect the 2015 Off Broadway production.

Eight-year-old 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! This aggressively outrageous musical hit garnered rave reviews during its long Off-Broadway run.

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Reviews

REVIEWS

"A spoof that has enough absurd plot twists and multiple identities to fill several old movies...The fun comes from the sheer brazenness!" - The New York Times

"Hilarious...It is beyond praise!" - New York Daily News

"Wild amusement." - New York Post

"A demented pleasure. Cheery, cheeky burlesque humor that evokes Your Show of Shows." - New York Newsday

"Merry mayhem...Malicious, delicious and a total joy." - New York Observer

"Brilliant." - USA Today

"A wonderfully smart and funny send up of every Broadway brat from Gypsy to The Bad Seed...loaded with campy wit and charm." - Variety

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER

Staff Picks: RUTHLESS
by Courtney Kochuba with Annette Storckman
November 11, 2014

Videos

  • I Hate Musicals
  • Tina's Mother
  • Bernadette Peters - Angel Mom
More videos +

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1960s, 1950s
  • Setting: An era reminiscent of the 1950's and 60s.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Song Samples

Prologue
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Tina's Mother
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Born to Entertain
0:00
Talent
0:00
To Play This Part
0:00
Teaching Third Grade
0:00
Where Tina Gets It From
0:00
The Pippi Song
0:00
Kisses and Hugs
0:00
Teaching Third Grade [Reprise]
0:00
Talent [Reprise #1]
0:00
I Hate Musicals
0:00
Angel Mom
0:00
Entr'acte / Montage
0:00
A Penthouse Apartment
0:00
It Will Never Be That Way Again
0:00
I Want The Girl
0:00
Parents and Children
0:00
Ruthless!
0:00
Talent [Reprise #2]
0:00
Ruthless! [Reprise]
0:00

Casting

1m, 6f
SYLVIA ST. CROIX
JUDY DENMARK
TINA DENMARK
MYRNA THORN
LOUISE LERMAN
LITA ENCORE
EVE
MISS BLOCK
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Cast Attributes

  • Drag performance
  • Features Children
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

All the characters (With the exception of Fredrick, who makes a surprise entrance at the end of the play to speak the final line of dialogue) are females. The show can be performed with an all female cast, though the role of Sylvia St. Croix originally was, and is often performed, by an actor in drag. Ultimately, the show can be mounted with any combination of male and female actors.

The same actor can play both Louise Lerman and Eve, although this is not necessary.

The role of Tina Denmark can be played a youngster or an adult. The show is effective either way for different and valid reasons. At the Triad Theater in New York City a thirteen-year-old actress and the author (a man in his fifties) played Tina in alternating scenes, appearing together on stage for a few well-chosen and crucial moments.

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

8 Piano 1/Vocal  Scores

1 Piano 2/Vocal Score

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Authors

Joel Paley

Joel Paley

Marvin Laird

Marvin Laird is the composer of the award-winning Off-Broadway musical, Ruthless!. His collaboration with Joel Paley, the author/lyricist of that show, has been ongoing for 25 years. Their recent piece, The Yiddish are Coming...! Th ...

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Ruthless! was first presented at the Players Theater in New York City on May 6, 1992. Directed by Joal Paley.

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