Theater in Sketch: CRUEL INTENTIONS (Kimmel Center)

Cruel_Intentions_opening_sceneThe 90s Musical CRUEL INTENTIONS appropriated pop songs that most millennials listened to and play back to in their head a version of their former self. Some of us remember the movie about rich white kids, the ugliness of a privileged group of students, and it did not end well for one of them. The songs inform us about the ambitions of Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil. They were perceived as mature, and the sex talk was funny, but there was a certain dungeon atmosphere behind the sense of humor in the play. Laughable broken hearts and innocence of preadolescent teens being exposed to sex was ironic. Pop music from artists like, Nsync, Meredith Brooks, Counting Crows, and Christina Aguilera were performed in the context of influential music of the 90’s. It speaks to a poetic lyrical pop music that fueled our emotions during that time.

Cruel_Intentions_ sebastian_Kathryn_trickeryThe music supplemented the dark thriller. In the stage set, designed by Jason Sherwood, it was a cross between a strip club and a psychiatric ward. Dracula’s mansion in some ways directs the plot of rich white kids feeding off the innocence of their naive victims. In the musical, Jeffrey Kringer as Sebastian calls annette Hargrove, played by Betsy Stewart, and in a telephone call Sebastian preys on the christian virgin. The relationship sprung out of conniving bet with his half sister that he could sleep with her. And his half sister, played by Taylor Pearlstein, teased Cecile Caldwell, played by Betsy Stewart, about her sexuality. A song about love and sex with consequences of a faux intimacy scripted through singing, Bye Bye Bye, by Nsync was a clever twist in the performance by John Battagleise and David Wright. The musical adaptation tailored a historical music critique side-by-side with the pictorial narrative by Roger Kumble. The indication of a deep sentiment pointed with classical pop music proposed an American opera. The fascination I am asking for in these sketches is the way in which these popular songs about love and life form a nostalgic interest. The sabotaged relationship in the musical replicated a tone that seemed to tack on a background of music the audience knew and felt something for at one point or another.

Cruel_Intentions_sexyThe language and intersexual involvement between the players was committed to specific time in music history. Taking place in Manhattan’s Upper East Side around 1999, the film’s perspective denotes the callus person by drawing attention to the sounds. It is as if this 90’s musical marked the beginning of a binary gender specific society. Looking at adaptation of the film into a play amused by a list of songs that ushered in ancillary such sexually anguished and psychologically gendered effects.I remember listening to the BackStreet Boys and thinking, “is this for boys or girls?”

Cruel_Intentions_rose_pedalsThis American opera is so distinct to capitalism that I found these two sources, pop music and horror film, to coexist perfectly before my eyes. The perelman theater hosts an outstanding play at least once a year in the month of May. Last year, Kimmel Center Presents invited the Bucks County Playhouse’s production of the Buddy Holly Show. It’s controversy of country music clashed with the beginning of rock and roll in the story of Buddy Holly was a historically progressive. At the end of the tour of CRUEL INTENTIONS: THE 90’s MUSICAL at the last stop in Philadelphia, we reimagined the epitome of pop music by following the alter ego that it created in the film by Roger Krumble. The musical numbers in the 90’s musical CRUEL INTENTIONS mainly plotted the movement of billboard hot 100 albums and the perversion of American youth.

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