If you’re like me and knew nothing about “Cruel Intentions The 90s Musical” before catching word that the Off-Broadway production would be right here in Dallas, you probably had a couple of questions.
Like, how on Earth could anything compare to the 1999 movie where the dynamic cast (Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe, Selma Blair, and Sarah Michelle Gellar) left a lasting impression some of us still talk about today – hello, that kiss.
Simply put, nothing can.
However, that doesn’t mean a nostalgia-fueled musical can’t do its own funky thing and be brilliant at it.
Now playing at the AT&T Performance Arts Center Wyly Theater (through May 26), the musical is a cross between a parody of the cult classic and what the Chicago Tribune so eloquently called a jukebox adaptation of the same.
Set in and around Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the musical faithfully follows the movie’s plot and includes all the classic lines – with a couple of deviations here and there. For example, the role of Cecile Caldwell (performed by Brooke Singer) leans more toward stupid than the inept personality Selma Blaire gave the character.
That said, Brooke Singer is a comedic genius and practically stole the show with her farcical dance moves.
If you’re unfamiliar with the film, which is based on the French novel “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” the storyline pulls you into the manipulative world of Manhattan’s most dangerous liaisons: Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil. Seduced by revenge and fueled by passion, the two diabolically charming step-siblings place a bet on whether or not Sebastian can deflower their incoming headmaster’s daughter, Annette Hargrove. As the two set out to destroy the innocent girl—and anyone who gets in their way—they find themselves entangled in a web of secrets, temptation, and the cruelest game of all: love.
Honestly, if you really want to get into that storyline, I suggest watching the movie or reading the book. However, if you want to have a little fun, reminisce of some of your favorite songs, and have one heck of a laugh; see the musical.
After all, it is the music that makes this musical delightful.
Imagine pulling up a best of the 90s playlist on Spotify, and that’s pretty much what you’ll hear during the production. Favorites like “Losing my Religion” by REM and “Just a Girl” by No Doubt somehow manage to ideally be interweaved into dubious scenes of a volatile pair of sexual and emotional manipulators wreaking havoc on the lives of their fellow schoolmates.
One of the coolest parts of the production is when several characters take the stage, each duo singing a different song – think a “Pitch Perfect” mix by the talented Beca (Anna Kendrick).
“Cruel Intentions the 90s Musical” will be at the Wyly Theatre through May 26. Tickets start at $46 and can be purchased by clicking here.