RIALTO CHATTER: Ruthless! Headed Back to the Stage with Jessica Biel?
BroadwayWorld.com has learned that Ruthless! - The Musical may possibly be headed back to the stage in a new production, if a reading scheduled for September goes well as directed by Jason Moore and produced by Darren Bagert. A casting call has been issued for the lead role of the 'bad seed' child-showbiz terror - Tina. As no other parts are available for casting and the week's workshop is scheduled to begin shortly, one wonders who might already be cast.
Last year, there was early talk of this being Jessica Biel's dream role, since she and her company tried to secure the film rights for the piece, which Biel remembered seeing on the stage early in her career. Jessica Biel made her stage debut at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Brian Stokes Mitchell in Guys & Dolls. This also seems possible, because when Jessica Biel's name was not announced with the complete cast for David Yazbeck's new musical, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (after doing the show's 2 workshops), it could very well be because she has her eye on this project.
Ruthless! was written by Joel Paley, with music by Bernadette Peters' long time musical director / conductor, Marvin Laird.
This aggressively outrageous musical hit garnered rave reviews during its long, original Off-Broadway run, which opened in 1992 with Laura Bell Bundy in its title role (interestingly, Natalie Portman and Britney Spears were understudies during the run) alongside Donna English as the mother, Judy Denmark (which would be Biel's role).
Off-Broadway, it was quite a campy affair so it'll be interesting to watch what the approach is for Broadway. The story in a nutshell: Eight year old Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking and she will do ANYTHING to win the part in her school musical. Anything includes ... murdering the leading lady (a kid)!
BroadwayWorld.com will keep you posted as details fall into place, as this is yet another small, Off-Broadway musical trying to find its way to the Great White Way a la Little Shop or Horrors, Steel Magnolias, Avenue Q, Spring Awakening and many others.