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Ruthless!

Marvin Laird, Joel Paley

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  6f, 1m

Book and Lyrics by Joel Paley
Music by Marvin Laird

"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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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    6f, 1m
  • Duration
    Duration
    105 Minutes
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Farce, Parody / Spoof
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Adult
    • Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Description

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.

History

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

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
Cautions
  • No Special Cautions

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1960s, 1950s
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: An era reminiscent of the 1950's and 60s.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Casting

6f, 1m
Cast Attributes
  • Drag performance
  • Features Children
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
SYLVIA ST. CROIX
JUDY DENMARK
TINA DENMARK
MYRNA THORN
LOUISE LERMAN
LITA ENCORE
EVE
MISS BLOCK
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.

Music

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

Materials

Scripts

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Rehearsal Resources

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Full Package:

8 Piano 1/Vocal  Scores

1 Piano 2/Vocal Score

Additional Resources And Services Available

Media

Press

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

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

20 Plays & Musicals for Spooky Season
Annette Storckman
September 27, 2019

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

Song Samples

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

Videos

  • I Hate Musicals

  • Tina's Mother

  • Bernadette Peters - Angel Mom

More videos +

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Authors

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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Author

Joel Paley

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