“Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical is a satisfying night of sensual bliss – and it shouldn’t be missed!”
Just in time to commemorate National Goth Day, The Wyly Theatre in Dallas opened its doors on 5/22 to a risqué musical based on the classic cult film: Cruel Intentions (1999). The stylish lounge was abuzz for opening night of ‘Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical’ as attendees picked up their tickets; each one accompanied by a trendy slap bracelet. As the audience filled the black box theatre auditorium, dark tufted walls and dim lighting set the intimate mood for this scandalous dramedy. Get ready for a late night swim with the cast of ‘Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical’ as they offer up the decade’s best songs with sequenced dance moves, infectious hilarity and yes – put a spotlight on an infamous blue moon.
Following the original story line, the stage is set for Kathryn Merteuil (Taylor Pearlstein) and her step-brother Sebastian Valmont (Jeffrey Kringer – a striking doppelganger to the picture’s Ryan Phillippe) as they prepare for another manipulative year at Manchester Prep in Manhattan. Titillated by the news of Annette Hargrove (Betsy Stewart), a virgin daughter of the new Head Master moving to town, the two make a wager to deflower her before the start of term. But just as soon as the games begin, the two step-siblings learn the hard way that toying with people’s reputations has dangerous consequences.
The champagne toast ‘triumph’ of this production is the gifted casting. There’s not a single weak link and almost as soon as a favorite performance is solidified in your mind, the next performer slides in to seduce you. Cecile Caldwell (Brooke Singer) had the audience wailing with laughter as she goofily grinded to “I’ll Make Love to You”, and the secretly gay lovers Greg McConnell (John Battagliese) and Blaine Tuttle (David Wright) also stood out with their flamboyant serenade of “I Want It That Way”. Also balancing out the comic relief were Betsy Stewart, Taylor Pearlstein, and Jeffrey Kringer belting out goose-bump-inducing vocals to “I’m Just A Girl”, “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” and “Foolish Games” – just to name a few. The seamless incorporation of ‘90s pop hits with the established script was impressive. All of the songs were in-sync with each scene and if you didn’t know any better, one could easily be convinced they were specifically written for the show. It’s one hell of a nostalgia trip!
Those unfamiliar with the film might be confused about a few of the scene locations due to the simplified set décor, but apart from that slight disadvantage – ‘Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical’ makes up for the lack of props by enhancing the scenes in other ways. Whether it’s cleverly adding “Kiss Me” to the infamous make-out session and also featuring additional couples, or by giving both of the gay characters more time on stage than they ever received on film – the changes are absolutely complementary.
‘Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical’ is a throwback to the last great decade and a “Bitter Sweet Symphony” of guilty pleasures. It’s a satisfying night of sensual bliss – and it shouldn’t be missed!