Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre is raising the curtain on its 2013-14 season with the ruthlessly outrageous Off- Broadway hit Ruthless! The Musical with performances through Nov. 3.
Ruthless! The Musical, with music by Marvin Laird and book and lyrics by Joel Paley, is a gem of a satirical comedy about the consuming drive for stardom. Suburban housewife Judy Denmark is dull as dull can be, but her daughter, Tina, is the greatest song-and dance sensation to ever hit the third grade. She’s cute. She dances. She sings. And she would do anything to get the lead role in her school play — anything. Move over Honey Boo Boo, this outrageous and hysterically funny musical hit garnered rave reviews during its Off- Broadway run in the early ’90s, and is ripe for a revival in today’s celebrity-driven world.
Winner of a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award, Ruthless! The Musical opened off-Broadway at the Players Theatre on Mar. 13, 1992 and closed Jan. 24, 1993 after 342 performances, with hundreds of regional productions to follow. The central role of Tina Denmark was played by future Broadway actress Laura Bell Bundy, and featured Natalie Portman and Britney Spears as understudies.
Actors’ Playhouse’s production will feature pint-size powerhouse Julia Dale as Tina Denmark. National Anthem singer Dale has been a feature at Miami Heat games since her rendition of The Star- Spangled Banner garnered international media attention during the NBA Finals in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Julia has since been dubbed the team’s “Good Luck Charm” and is now excited to add professional actress to her credits as she makes her regional theater debut in Ruthless! The Musical at the Miracle Theatre.
The show also features an adult cast of South Florida’s finest regional talent including Amy Miller Brennan (Judy Denmark/Ginger), Sally Bondi (Miss Thorn/Miss Block), Leigh Bennett (Lita Encore) and Jeni Hacker (Louise Lerman/Eve). A male actor in drag traditionally plays Sylvia St. Croix, Tina Denmark’s talent agent who has all the charm of Joan Crawford in a daycare. That duty here goes to Gabriel Zenone.
“After hearing last year that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms were taking over the television universe, all I could think of was the funniest, craziest, inside show-biz musical I’ve ever seen, Ruthless! The Musical,” said Actors’ Playhouse artistic director David Arisco. “But how do you pull off Ruthless! without a young star-to-be in the role of adorable/devilish Tina Denmark? Well then came along Julia Dale singing the National Anthem during the Miami Heat championship series, and we found our star! Add five virtuoso comedic and singing adult actors and you’ve got the funniest play you’ll ever see.”
Directed by David Arisco, the creative team for Ruthless! The Musical includes Eric Alsford (musical direction), Tim Bennett (scenic design), Ellis Tillman (costume design), Luke Klingberg (lighting design) and Alexander Herrin (sound design).
The show plays through Nov. 3. Evening performances will be Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with afternoon matinees on Sunday at 3 p.m. A special weekday matinee is scheduled on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m.
Tickets for weeknights and matinees are $40, and on Friday and Saturday evenings $48. The theater offers a 10 percent senior discount rate the day of performance and $15 student rush tickets 15 minutes prior to curtain with identification. Discounts are based on availability and exclude Saturday and Sunday.
Group discounted rates are offered for 15 or more through the group sales department. Single tickets may be purchased through the box office at 305-444-9293 or online at www.actorsplayhouse.org