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Sophia Anne Caruso, Marvin Laird and More Join Cast of RUTHLESS Benefit Concert!

Like the role she will be playing in a new production of "Ruthless!," the cult-hit musical, Sophia Anne Caruso is a young actress who will do anything to get the part. The triple threat tween will follow in the tap shoes of Laura Bell Bundy ("Hairspray," "Legally Blonde") Britney Spears and Natalie Portman. Before they became stars, all three young actors were cast as the diabolically talented Tina Denmark.

Of Caruso, Author/Director, Joel Paley says, "We didn't find her, she found us!" Sophia tracked down the creators while they were trying out rewrites for a new Connecticut production, writing to tell them that after having been cast as Tina in regional theatre, one of the principle actors suffered a fatal heart attack during the dress rehearsal. The show never opened. Although heartbroken and terribly shaken ("It was the worst thing that ever happened in my life") she assured us she knew the role backwards and forwards and was more determined than ever to play Tina. "We had to meet her. She was Tina Denmark." An audition was arranged and the rest is going to be history!

Caruso, who appeared with Bernadette Peters in the NBC musical series Smash, will be taking the stage this September in an intimate staged concert production of the award-winning musical that will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Joining Ms. Caruso on stage will be composer, Marvin Laird, who will step into the high heels of the infamous theatrical dame of mystery, Sylvia St. Croix.

Said Laird, "When we did the show in Connecticut, on the day of the dress rehearsal, our ten-year-old star came down with a bad case of flu. We didn't have an understudy, so Joel had no choice but to step into the role. The girl was out for a week and watching Joel have so much fun playing the part, I decided I wanted to perform in the show too! This seemed like the perfect opportunity."

Because the project is benefiting a cause so close to their hearts, the co-creators want to make this outing particularly memorable, and so for 3 of the 9 performances, Paley will join Laird on stage, reprising his performance as the demented eight-year-old diva. "We've been a couple for 38 years, but we've never performed on stage together," says Paley, "this ought to be mighty interesting!"

In these days of Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms and Honey Boo Boo, it seems the perfect time for Tina Demark to come back to New York. "I may be doing a few performances," said Paley, but this is Sophia's part. She's the new face of Tina Denmark." Said Caruso, "I have to play this part. I mean, really, once you've played Tina, you just can't go back to being Annie!"

Other cast members include, Kim Maresca as Judy Denmark, Katie Sparer as Miss Thorn/Emily Block, Delaney Arizala as Louise Lerman/Eve and Rita McKenzie as Lita Encore.

Performances are at Stage 72 @ The Triad, 158 W. 72nd Street on Sept. 5 and Sept 6, 8, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, and 22. Tickets cost $45 and $35. There is a two-drink minimum for all shows. To get tickets, go to http://ruthlessthemusical.brownpapertickets.com.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised more than $250 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Broadway Cares awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide and is the major supporter of the social service programs at The Actors Fund, including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative and the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.

For more information about Ruthless! The Musical, visit: www.ruthlessthemusical.com, like on Facebook at: Ruthless! The Musical and follow on Twitter at twitter.com/RuthlessMusical.

For more information about Broadway Cares, visit them online at broadwaycares.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/BCEFA, on Twitter at twitter.com/BCEFA, on YouTube at youtube.com/BCEFAtv and on Instagram at instagram.com/BCEFA.

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