Ruthless! The Musical
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Ruthless! The Musical

Ruthless! The Musical NYC Reviews and Tickets

(217 Reviews)
Members say
Funny, Entertaining, Clever, Quirky, Hilarious

About the Show

This campy cult favorite that spoofs the world of Broadway and child acting follows Tina, who will do anything to win the part of Pippi Longstocking in her school musical, including murdering the leading lady.

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Member Reviews (217)

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Funny, Dated, Cliched, Fluffy, Disappointing

See it if You like camp or musical spoofs.

Don't see it if You haven't seen All About Eve, The Bad Seed or the other movies it spoofs as you will not get all of the referenced humor.

Entertaining, Funny, Insipid, Great singing

See it if You want a good laugh

Don't see it if You don't like silly.

Entertaining, Great acting, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if you like The Bad Seed, combined with a Mama Rose type grandmother, but far more daring--no holds barred. Ending is unpredictable.

Don't see it if you want to see a family-oriented show with a sweet, lovable and talented child going through the trials of trying to be a "regular" kid.

Funny, Indulgent, Quirky, Fluffy, Original

See it if You like campy, over-the-top, wink-wink, broad yet darkish comedy, e.g., Rocky Horror Picture Show

Don't see it if You have a low threshhold for campy material (I checked my watch a lot!) or get seat front left (hard to hear songs over great keyboardists)

Banal, Funny

See it if you have always heard about this show but never seen it.

Don't see it if you saw the original. I can't imagine this production improves on it.

Campy and over the top

See it if You are into campy, over the top musicals. I get that it's cliched and over acted on purpose, but it misses the mark and lands in corny town

Don't see it if You're looking for a quality theater experience. I found the style off putting and cheesy, but not entertainingly silly-just strained muggin

Funny, Original

See it if you like your musicals dark.

Don't see it if you like happy sunny musicals.

Campy, Silly, Entertaining, Quirky, Eccentric

See it if You want something light & fun that you won't think about after you leave the theater (I saw this after Paris attacks & it was good escape).

Don't see it if You don't want to see men in drag. You are looking to see a thriller.

Critic Reviews (21)

The New York Times
July 19th, 2015

"The style of the show is so high camp there ought to be a sleepaway version. The actors give the material their big-voiced, big-haired all, but the antics often feel forced rather than delirious...As a kind of Theater of the Ridiculous, it isn’t ridiculous enough. In a decade dominated by reality TV, this satire loses fizz."
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Time Out New York
July 15th, 2015

"The preternaturally self-assured Tori Murray plays this Shirley Temple of doom in the show’s current revival, and the joke still kills. Not everything else about Joel Paley and Marvin Laird’s musical holds up quite so well, but it's an enjoyable slice of cyanide birthday cake. The show-tuneful score is lively and the main cast is strong…Rotten as the state of Tina Denmark may be, we can’t resist watching."
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Entertainment Weekly
July 13th, 2015

"This chintzy production suffers a tendency to have actors rush their lines and, at press time, still felt a bit under-rehearsed, which is a shame because there’s great stuff in this vaudevillian-inspired script. But over time, the proper balance might fall into place. To borrow a lyric from its title track, 'Ruthless!' stops just short of toothless."
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New York Post
July 13th, 2015

"10-year-old Tori Murray plays the psycho third-grader with panache: She can sing, and she’s funnier than most of the adults in the cast. Too bad the production, itself, isn’t as assured...A couple of other actors border on the amateurish — frustrating when they waste songs that, in the right hands, could stop a show."
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July 13th, 2015

"Paley helms a zippy and efficient production in the first half that becomes increasingly plodding as the actors claw and mug for every last laugh. Contemporary references (like Caitlyn Jenner) have been added to the script in an almost perfunctory manner. Ninety minutes is long enough for this fun diversion that doesn't quite rise to the level of a gut-busting so-bad-it's-good classic, try though it might."
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Talkin' Broadway
July 13th, 2015

"Everything we see after Tina 'pays' for what she's done strains visibly, and shows that excess, too, can be taken to excess. Except during the truly crazy final few minutes, the plot gets away from Paley and fails to capitalize on the endlessly inventive energy that fuels the show so capably early on...This production may lack all the guts it ought to have, but Tori Murray possesses them in spades."
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Theatre is Easy
July 17th, 2015

"Tiny Tina Denmark is anything but sweet. And this makes the revival of 'Ruthless!' an ideal treat for those who enjoy the camp humor of female-driven cult classics like 'Mommie Dearest'...While Paley’s book is perhaps the strongest element, Laird’s music is also a delight...While 'Ruthless!' is certainly campy summer fun, there’s also a deeper message, if you feel like digging a bit. Talent can be a curse, a virus even, passed down from one generation to the next."
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Theater Pizzazz
July 17th, 2015

"The cast is absolutely superb from start to finish...You will marvel at the genius firmly planted in Marvin Laird’s memorable musical score, and the riotously funny book and lyrics by Joel Paley could very well leave you with a belly ache from laughing so hard...This show will no doubt ignite a renewed appreciation for over the top, camp/horror musicals! I say bravo to that, original works with razor sharp teeth are exactly what Broadway needs."
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Stage Buddy
September 14th, 2015

"It’s a show that certainly provides laughter by the second, but also reveals a darkness you only begin to perceive hours after you’ve left the show. Are talented people worth more than the untalented? Is talent something that’s nurtured and developed, or something you’re simply born with? With outstanding performances and direction by Joel Paley 'Ruthless!' is a decadent night at the theatre complete with brilliant comedic performances and catchy tunes."
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Theatre's Leiter Side
July 13th, 2015

"Paley has staged everything to within an inch of its life, with musical underscoring helping accent each move and piece of business. The acting, as in similarly camp-oriented farcical exercises, is decidedly overdone, but tactfully enough to keep it within bounds; you'll roar at some gags and gag at others."
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Times Square Chronicles
July 14th, 2015

"This amusing theatrical parody of the cutthroat road to fame and stardom is talent filled…The adorable ten-year-old Murray is so reminiscent of a singing and dancing Patty McCormack. Her comic timing is killer… The original creator Joel Paley, directs this like a B-movie that is making fun at itself and for ninety minutes, we laugh at cheesy jokes, thrill at the campiness of it all, follow the plot line and the tuneful score. Ed Wood would have loved this show!"
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July 13th, 2015

"The plot is predictable, but that is all part of the fun...This self-proclaimed 'Stage Mother of All Musicals' is wickedly hysterical, lighthearted summer fare that anyone into camp and parodies of old Hollywood will not want to miss."
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Stage and Cinema
July 13th, 2015

"'Ruthless!' offers few laughs, little suspense and no surprises...Mr. Paley is exaggerating the already exaggerated elements of musical farce to make fun of musical farce, and of musical theater in general. He’s trying to be corny on purpose. But his attempt at being corny is itself corny. He’s endeavoring to make fun of bad musicals with a musical that is worse than a lot of the ones he’s trying to make fun of."
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Hot Pepper Theater
July 27th, 2015

"This is not a show about plot- it's a show for people who love drag queen sensibility. The whole show plays with that sort of high camp. It's so finely crafted and the songs are really catchy and memorable."
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March 18th, 2016

"To say that I loved the musical 'Ruthless' is a gross understatement. More accurately put, I loved, loved, loved 'Ruthless'...While much of the action is predictable, if not inevitable–that’s what spoofs are all about–the story of 'Ruthless' is like a favorite aunt who you know everything that she is going to say and do, but still you never tire at watching her do and say it...I am happy to announce that the musical was even better the second time around."
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July 11th, 2015

"Don't be alarmed if this vicious musical with its vivaciously venomous score catapults you out of the theater on a high and keep you smiling even if it's into a sweltering summer night. Fear not that this deliriously campy show is only for the initiated or the intrepid...the story of how sweet little tap-happy Tina ruthlessly makes it to the top is one you may not want to miss, even if you relished it before...It still sings, snaps, and snarls all at the same time."
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July 9th, 2015

"This takes toddlers in tiaras to a whole new level, and it all combines into a hilarious musical comedy that you won’t want to miss...This is a devilishly delightful show, from the fun costumes to the playful and comedic score, and super talented cast. It’s hard to believe Tori Murray can store such a set of lungs in her tiny frame, and Maresca was so impressive holding the longest most perfect note I have ever heard on or off Broadway."
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Local Theatre NY
July 7th, 2015

"Masterful and high-energy performances were offered by all...If you want to catch a creepy-funny, tongue-in-cheek musical this summer, head to St. Luke’s in midtown for 'Ruthless.' There’s no intermission, so be sure to use the bathroom beforehand, and if you have any delicate sensibilities, leave them at the door."
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February 22nd, 2015
For a previous production

"If you're looking for a mentally challenging evening of theatre then this isn't it. 'Ruthless! The Musical' is not meant to make you think very deeply. It's meant to free your mind for an exhilarating experience where you can leave your problems at the door and settle in for some laughs."
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July 13th, 2014
For a previous production

"In a remarkable Off-Broadway debut, Kim Maresca simply stuns as Tina’s mother...Paley’s mostly assured direction occasionally leads his actors to making bigger-than-necessary gestures, perhaps to compensate for the simple set and the ultra-minimal orchestra. But there’s no need for me to be ruthless in my criticism of 'Ruthless!' I haven’t smiled so much or laughed that hard since 'Something Rotten.'"
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September 10th, 2014
For a previous production

"Good parodies of show business are rare, but one cannot find a better one than the 1992 Off Broadway cult classic 'Ruthless! The Musical,' now enjoying a brief cabaret-style revival. Book and lyric writer Joel Paley jabs the satirical needle into every show-biz reference imaginable, making 'Ruthless! The Musical' a must-see."
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