Curtain to Rise This Fall on Campy Musical RUTHLESS! at OCTA

Curtain to Rise This Fall on Campy Musical RUTHLESS! at OCTA

OCTA is ready to sail into its new season on the wings of the musical spoof, Ruthless! Audiences can catch all the absurd fun of "the stage mother of all musicals" September 15-October 1.

This production comes with a bonus: two of the roles are double cast, so audiences will have the opportunity to see two sets of talented young actresses approach the same roles during the run.

The story of 8-year-old Tina Denmark follows her journey to play the lead, Pippi Longstocking, in her school musical. She'll do anything to win the part. Her mother, fellow students, and the rest of the world had better watch out because nothing will stop her quest for stardom!! The show expertly spoofs classic musicals and campy films from Gypsy to The Bad Seed and All About Eve. This dark comedy garnered rave reviews for its sheer brazenness and won the Outer Critics Circle Award during its original Off-Broadway run.

Returning to the OCTA stage is director and choreographer, Jay Coombes. It will be his third time to direct Ruthless! Of his history with the show, he says: "I directed it at Northland Actors Ensemble in 1998 and we had such fun creating these characters. In 2006 at The Barn Players Community Theatre, we discovered even more crazy things about the show. I am so excited to be doing it again. Each time the players have been different so the color and mood of the show changes. That's why I love it." Audiences should be ready for a campy good time. Coombes says, "To me the glory of Camp is taking huge and absurd choices and making them absolutely believable."

Some of the zany characters include Tina Denmark, the driven star-to-be, played by two young actresses: Mia Cabrera and Joey Brogden. Louise Lerman, the spoiled girl standing in Tina's way, is played by Eva Smith and Julia Masterson. Coombes explains that these roles are usually not double-cast, but a surplus of local talent changed the game. Judy Denmark is Tina's complex mother. According to Coombes, "Judy lives for her daughter, but finds out a family secret and who she really is." Local favorite, Stasha Case, will bring her lovable craziness to this role. On the flip side, the character of Sylvia St. Croix is "...Mama Rose, Auntie Mame, and every other overbearing stage mother all rolled into one larger than life package." Sylvia takes the stage thanks to the campy stylings of actor Trevor A. French and costume designer Libby Irving.

In order to bring the music of Ruthless! to life for OCTA audiences, Coombes has once again teamed up with local music director Tim Braselton. The duo first worked on the show together in 2006. Braselton says he's ready to tackle it with a different perspective: "Nine years ago, Ruthless! was a madcap experience and I loved every minute of it. It was only my second gig as a music director. This time it will be just as much fun, but a chance to measure my progress as a musician, pianist, and person." Adding to his affection for the show is the fact that he met composer Marvin Laird once, "He's a classy, classy gentleman. No wonder his score is so smart!"

Even though the story features young characters, Ruthless! is geared for mature teens and adults. With strong language, adult situations, and some "ruthless" scenes, the show is recommended for ages 13 and above.

The comedic cast features: Trevor A. French (Sylvia St. Croix), Stasha Case (Judy Denmark/Ginger DelMarco), Mia Cabrera and Joey Brogden (Tina Denmark*), Eva Smith and Julia Masterson (Louise Lerman*), Julia Moriarty (Miss Thorn), Alecia Stultz (Lita Encore), and Korrie Murphy (Eve Allabout). Coombes brings with him the following production team: Tim Braselton (Music Director), Kimberly Stelting (Stage Manager), Sonja Coombes (Props), Libby Irving (Costumes), Joel Short (Set Designer/Builder), and Dave Powell (Lighting Design). *The roles of Tina and Louise are double-cast, specific performance dates are listed on the OCTA website.

Tickets are available online at www.olathetheatre.org or at the door an hour before performances. OCTA season ticket holders are encouraged to make seating reservations early by calling 913-782-2990 or by e-mailing tickets@olathetheatre.org. Ruthless! runs September 15-October 1, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm, plus a theatre industry performance has been added Monday, September 18 at 8:00 pm with special pricing (on sale at the door only) for theatre creatives and administrators - see the OCTA website for complete details. Extras: opening night attendees will be treated to a post-show celebration with the cast and production team Friday, September 15. There will be a post-show director/cast talkback hosted by Dr. Chris McCoy, Assistant Professor of Theatre at William Jewell College and author of the dissertation "Mockmusicals: Parody, Satire, and Musical Comedy at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century", Sunday, September 17.

Olathe Civic Theatre Association is a 501c3 all volunteer organization producing theatre in Olathe since 1974. Performing in the Buddy Rogers Family Playhouse, OCTA produces five high-quality, engaging, and thought-provoking theatre productions a year. Through the generosity of volunteers, season ticket holders, and donors, OCTA has grown into one of the most progressive community theaters in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

OCTA's 2017-2018 Season at a Glance:

Ruthless! - September 15-October 1, 2017
Book and Lyrics by Joel Paley | Music by Marvin Laird
Directed by Jay Coombes | Music Direction by Tim Braselton

Eight-year-old Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she'll do anything to win the part in her school musical. Her mother, fellow students, and the rest of the world had better watch out because nothing will stop her quest for stardom!! Cunningly spoofing classic musicals and campy films from Gypsy to The Bad Seed, this aggressively outrageous musical garnered rave reviews during its long Off-Broadway run.

Anne of Green Gables - November 3-19, 2017
Adapted by Joseph Robinette from the novel by L.M. Montgomery
Directed by Heather Tinker

Welcome to the children's classic brought to life on stage for the whole family! Don't miss the timeless story of plucky Canadian orphan Anne Shirley, who forges a new life when she is mistakenly sent to a middle-aged brother and sister who'd sought to adopt a boy for help on their farm. Relive all your favorite moments from Anne's feuds with Gilbert, the cake disaster, her adoration of Matthew, and the mistaken wine bottle, just to name a few.

Violet - February 9-25, 2018
Book and Lyrics by Brian Crawley | Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Julie Ewing | Music Direction by Kevin Bogan
Based on the short story The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts

A scarred young woman embarks on a bus journey from her farm in Spruce Pine, North Carolina to Tulsa, Oklahoma in hopes of being healed by a TV evangelist, but discovers the true meaning of beauty along the way. Set in 1964, this stunning show won both the Drama Critics' Circle Award and Lucille Lortel Award as Best Musical for its touching script and show-stopping anthems ranging from American-roots to folk to gospel.

SPECIAL EVENT - New Works Playwright Competition - March 2 & 3, 2018

Five finalists present 10-minute versions of their scripts - audiences vote for the winner who will then receive a full-length workshop reading in July!

Superior Donuts - April 6-22, 2018
By Tracy Letts | Directed by Diane Bulan

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of August: Osage County comes this moving comedy-drama set in an Uptown Chicago donut shop. Facing age 60 and all alone, proprietor Arthur has his dreary world turned upside down by the arrival of Franco, an ambitious employee in his early 20s.

Unnecessary Farce - June 1-17, 2018
By Paul Slade Smith | Directed by Bill Pelletier

Two cops, three crooks, eight doors...go! In a cheap motel room, an embezzling mayor is supposed to meet with his female accountant, while in the room next door, two undercover cops wait to catch the meeting on videotape. But there's some confusion as to who's in which room, who's watching the video, who's taken the money, and who's hired a hit man. This fast-paced physical comedy is a comic gem!

SPECIAL EVENT - New Works Playwright Competition Winner Workshop - July 13 & 14, 2018

The full-length workshop reading featuring the winning play from the March finals!


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