Kokandy Productions Presents CRUEL INTENTIONS: THE 90’s MUSICAL Review – A Night of Fun and Nostalgia

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Cecile (Anabella Oddo) is absolutely distraught. She visits her friend Kathryn (Maddison Denault), hoping for some clarity in her new situation. Cecile spent the previous evening with Sebastian, and is not quite clear on what happened. As she unloads the details from the evening, Kathryn sighs and calmly says:

“Cecile, you had an orgasm.”

Cecile stops. She turns her head to the audience, and immediately belts:

“I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes. I saw the sign.”

Kathryn simply rolls her eyes, quietly evaluating why she is forced to put up with this friendship. Cecile turns back to Kathryn for further clarification, but the snippet of the popular Ace of Base song was enough to send the audience into an uproar of laughter and cheers.

Whether or not you are familiar with the storyline, you are likely to feel the nostalgia hit from the score of throwbacks – much like this Opening Night audience.

Kokandy Productions presents Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical

Based on the 1999 film, Cruel Intentions follows Kathryn (Denault) and Sebastian (David Moreland) –wealthy step siblings that rule the elite Manchester Prep. The bored teens place a bet on Sebastian’s ability to seduce Annette (Kelcy Taylor) – the new Headmaster’s Daughter. If Sebastian fails, Kathryn wins his car. But if he succeeds, Sebastian wins the one thing he has wanted for years: Kathryn. Much as to be expected, the chaos of deception and romance grows out of control, and the audience has a front row seat to watching the students try to make sense of whatever they can.

Directed by Adrian Abel Azevedo, Cruel Intentions is a 90’s jukebox musical, and features famous songs including Just a Girl, Lovefool, Bye Bye Bye, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Torn. The production is full of camp and fun, and if you are anything like this Opening Night audience, you might just find yourself dancing along in your seat as the talented cast belts out the popular favorites.

Creative Design

This story about rumor and deceptionproceeds as Kathryn and Sebastian tear apart their peers’ reputations and spread rumors. We see cast members play out these stories in shadowed silhouettes behind red screens.. In this writer’s opinion, Azevedo’s stunning use of silhouettesheightens the air of mystery around the production, and alongside the characters, invites the audience to further question who might be telling the truth.

Hysterical Fun

The high school students become lost in their romantic drama.  Meanwhile, you too might just find yourself laughing so hard that you forget the horrors unfolding.

Full of campy fun and standout vocalists, Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical makes for a night to remember.

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CAST:

Maddison Denault as Kathryn Merteuil
Niki-Charisse Franco, ensemble
Lucas Looch Johnson as Ronald Clifford
Elizabeth Lesinski as Bunny
Justin Grey McPike, ensemble
David Moreland as Sebastian Valmont
Anabella Oddo as Cecile Caldwell
Jimmy Romano as Greg McConnell
Jaxson Smith, ensemble
Josh Pablo Szabo as Blaine Tuttle
TJ Tapp, ensemble, dance captain
Kelcy Taylor as Annette Hardgrove

CREATIVE TEAM:

Created by Jordan Ross, Lindsey Rosin & Roger Kumble
Based on the film by Roger Kumble
Directed by Artistic Associate Adrian Abel Azevedo
Music Direction by Isabella Isherwood
Choreography by Laura Savage

WHEN:

June 9 – August 7, 2022

Sundays - 5pm
Thursdays - 7pm
Fridays - 7pm
Saturdays - 7pm

WHERE:

The Chopin Theatre (Studio)
1543 W. Division St.
Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood

TICKETS:

$40

For more information and tickets visit the Kokandy Productions website.

Photos: Evan Hanover

Note: Picture This Post reviews are excerpted by Theatre in Chicago.

Lauren Katz

About the Author: Lauren Katz

Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.

Click here to read more Picture this Post stories by Lauren Katz.

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