Ruthless! The Musical Comedy
Marvin Laird (Music); Joel Paley (Lyrics and Book)
Los Altos Stage Company
When third-grader Tina Denmark hears of the lead role in her school’s new musical, Pippi [Longstocking] in Tahiti, she declares “I would kill for that part;” and she is actually not kidding. The deadly ambitious pipsqueak who has trouble talking without singing or walking without tap-dancing sees the elementary school stage as her one-way ticket to the Great White Way. Behind her perpetual, toothy smile are eyes that gleam with fiery determination. When her mom suggests she should just have a normal childhood, Tina responds with a snappy flip of her abundant pigtails, “Maybe it’s time to move on (from normal).”
Truth be told, there is little ‘normal’ in Marvin Laird (music) and Joel Paley’s (lyrics and book) Ruthless! The Musical Comedy. Taking a parodied, film-noir approach to spoofing Broadway musicals galore – especially Gypsy and Mame, Ruthless! also finds plenty of fodder in films such as All about Eve and The Bad Seed as well as in 1950s TV sitcoms like “The Donna Reed Show.” The 1992 Off-Broadway musical now opens in a wonderfully zany, campy, totally uproarious production by Los Altos Stage Company. Even casual fans of Broadway or Hollywood will have a heyday trying to identify dozens of song and scene references from film, stage, and TV as they also thoroughly relish the musical prowess and comic antics of the fine, Los Altos Stage cast assembled. To top it all off, even the Bard himself will be the focus of parody as the final moments of the two-hour-plus evening comes to a silly and surprising end.
Please continue to Talkin’ Broadway to read the rest of my review.
Rating: 4.5 E
A Theatre Eddys “Best Bet”
Ruthless! The Musical Comedy continues through May 15, 2022 in production by Los Altos Stage Company in the Barn Theatre, 97 Hillview Avenue, Los Altos, CA. Tickets are available online at https://losaltosstage.org/ .
Photo Credit: Los Altos Stage Company