Tuesday, January 23

Casting announced for Ruthless! The Musical at Arts Theatre

Updated 29th January; Casting has just been announced for the UK premiere of Joel Paley and Marvin Laird's all-female character musical Ruthless!

Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner will play agent Sylvia St. Croix alongside Olivier Award-winner Tracie Bennett, Harriet Thorpe (Great Britain), Lara Denning (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and Kim Maresca (Ruthless!, off-Broadway). The children alternating the role of Tina Denmark will be announced shortly.

Jason Gardiner is originally from Melbourne, and is a television broadcaster, performer and choreographer - he is currently a judge in the popular ITV series Dancing on Ice. He began his professional career in the original Australian cast of 42nd Street at the age of 16, and has since gone on to perform in over 20 award-winning musicals including West Side Story, Cats, Dames At Sea, Oklahoma, Anything Goes, Chicago, Pippin and My Fair Lady. As a choreographer he has worked with some of the industry's biggest names including Pink, Dame Shirley Bassey, Kylie, Cher, Bjork, Roseanne Barr and Sir Elton John.

Tracie Bennett's theatre work includes Follies (National Theatre); and in the West End, Mrs Henderson Presents, End of the Rainbow (also Broadway - winner of Outer Critics' Circle and Drama Desk awards; and Olivier and Tony Award nominations), La Cage aux Folles, Hairspray - Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical, Les Misérables, She Loves Me - Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Other theatre work includes The Hypochondriac (Theatre Royal Bath), Sex, Chips & Rock 'n' Roll - TMA Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical (Royal Exchange Manchester), Carousel, Billy Liar (ATG), High Society (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), and Guys and Dolls, Educating Rita, Spring Awakening (Sheffield Theatre). For television, her work includes Scott & Bailey, Burn It, New Tricks, Candy Cabs, Dalziel and Pascoe, Vincent, The Royal, The Long Firm, MIT: Murder Investigation Team, Heroes and Villains, Keen Eddie, Where the Heart Is, Coronation Street (as series regular Sharon Bentley), Heartbeat, The Gingerbread Girl, Joking Apart, The Upper Hand, Rich Tea and Sympathy, Making Out; and for film, Shirley Valentine, Deep Red Instant, Knights and Emeralds.

Lara Denning's theatre work includes Scrooge the Musical (Curve), The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾ - The Musical (Menier Chocolate Factory), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Matilda (Cambridge Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show (European tour), Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance, All The Fun of the Fair, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, Dirty Dancing in Concert (UK tours) and Can Can (Sadlers Wells). Her television work includes Toast of London.

Kim Maresca is reprising the role she played Off Broadway in the most recent run of Ruthless! The Musical. She recently played her fifth sold-out engagement of her one-woman show at Feinstein's/54 Below. Regional: Twelfth Night (Westport Country Playhouse), Biondella in The Taming of the Shrew (Saratoga Shakespeare Company) and Maureen in Rent (Thomaston Opera House).

Harriet Thorpe is perhaps best known for her role as Carole in the BBC's popular Brittas Empire and Fleur in Absolutely Fabulous. Her West End credits include Great Britain (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Pravda, The Government Inspector, All My Sons, A Prayer for Owen Meany (National Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Theatre), Rufus Norris' production of Cabaret (Lyric Theatre, UK tour and Savoy Theatre), Crazy for You (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and Novello Theatre), Tanya in Mamma Mia (Prince of Wales Theatre), Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, The Vagina Monologues and Jackie O. Other theatre credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Cymbeline (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre), Street Car to Tennessee (Young Vic), Brighton Rock (Almeida Theatre) and Calendar Girls (Phoenix Theatre). Work with French and Saunders includes Girls on Top, French And Saunders series and most recently Vivienne Vyle. Other television work includes The Secrets: The Conversation, Material Girl, Victoria Wood's Christmas Special and The Musketeers. Films include Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, Maurice, Greystroke, Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, Zefferelli's Toscanni, Suzie Gold, Calendar Girls, The Calling, S.N.U.B., An Arm's Length, Wise Girl and The Lady in the Van.


Directed by Richard Fitch with choreography by Rebecca Howell and musical supervision by Gareth Valentine, the comedy spoofs Broadway shows such as Gypsy and Mame.The award winning Ruthless! The Musical is to  receive its UK premiere at London’s Arts Theatre for a strictly limited 14-week run beginning with previews from 16th March ahead of a 27th March opening night and final performance on 23rd June. It follows ALL OR NOTHING, the Small Faces musical which  is due to transfer into the Arts  from 8th February-11th March 2018

Written by Joel Paley and Marvin Laird, the show spoofs classic Broadway musicals including Gypsy and Mame and 1950s film melodramas The Bad Seed and All About Eve.

Directed by Richard Fitch, the new production tells the  story of beautiful and talented eight-year-old Tina Denmark who will do anything to play the lead in her school play, Ruthless!In its  Off-Broadway debut in 1992 the musical starred Laura Bell Bundy who went on to play Elle Woods in the Broadway debut of Legally Blonde, the production also  featured Britney Spears and Natalie Portman as understudies. Ruthless! The Musical was most recently revived Off-Broadway in 2015.

The Menier Chocolate Factory will act as executive producer and general manager of the UK premiere, which is presented at the Arts Theatre by Evan Sacks, Darren Bagert, Adam Mackie, Kenneth Schur and Maxine Paul. 

The Arts Theatre production will be choreographed by Rebecca Howell, and designed by Morgan Large, with lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Gregory Clarke and musical supervision by Gareth Valentine.


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