It’s almost inconceivable to come to terms with the fact that 1999 was 20 years ago. It’s been 20 years since we survived Y2K, and the canned goods in our bunkers are now ossified antiques. We’ve had 20 years to process “Mambo No. 5,” but we still don’t know why we so desperately need a little bit of Rita in our lives. It’s been two whole decades since Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar taught us the basics of making out on a blanket in Central Park in Cruel Intentions, and we still haven’t recovered.
But on Saturday, April 20th, Pittsburgh will get to relive the ‘90s and Cruel Intentions in all their strange glory when the historic Byham Theater in downtown Pittsburgh will host the audacious musical theater phenomena, Cruel Intentions: The Musical.
Cruel Intentions (the movie) exists in that odd, multigenre smorgasbord of cult classic ‘90s films that includes the likes of True Romance (1993), Event Horizon (1997), Friday (1995), and Airheads (1994), all of which encompass the displacement, disgruntled, sinister humor, and fatalism of Gen-Xers. Cruel Intentions—which starred baby-faced Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe, Charlie O’Connell, and Joshua Jackson alongside Blair and Gellar—presented another dimension of 90s angst, one dripping with debauched sex, manipulation, and ludicrous privilege (all involving teens, or 20-somethings closely resembling teens).
A musical reboot of a cult classic film
In the tradition of sublimely absurd musical reboots of cult classics (think Carrie: The Musical, or Heathers: The Musical, which have been mainstays on PGH stages as of late), Cruel Intentions: The Musical was brought to life in 2015 as a “jukebox musical.” The original story remained intact—two ruthless high school stepsiblings devise a bet over the prized virginity of their pristine classmate that will also destroy the lives of the innocent daughter of their school’s head—and was garnished with the most memorable hits of the ‘90s by the likes of Counting Crows, Garbage, and The Verve. The result is pure nostalgic euphoria, a nonstop feast of teens behaving atrociously, using sex as social currency, while they passionately belt beloved ‘90s classics that perfectly match each scene. Do you love sobbing alone in your car at 7 AM to Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn,” but want to cry to it surrounded by hundreds of strangers watching teenagers use bodily wagers to ruin each other’s lives? Head to the Byham on April 20th! Do you miss hearing Boyz 2 Men’s classic “I’ll Make Love to You” inappropriately played in churches at weddings, and you’re dying to hear conniving prep school kids croon it to one another? Well, you’d better get your tickets for Saturday night!
One Night Only! Tickets are still available
Cruel Intentions: The Musical has enjoyed sold-out runs in New York and Los Angeles, and is making a one-night-only stop in Pittsburgh on an impressive national tour. A show as diabolically funny as it is ingeniously written, Cruel Intentions is tailor-made for Pittsburgh audiences, deftly combining raunchy humor, impassioned musicianship, delectable scandals, and incomparable ‘90s flare. Whether or not you’re a lover of the film, the sensational cast — including Taylor Pearlstein (Flashdance) as Kathryn Merteuil, Richard Crandle (Hairspray) as Ronald Clifford, Jeffrey Kringer as Sebastian, Brooke Singer as Cecille Caldwell, and more — and uproarious writing of Cruel Intentions: The Musical will undoubtedly dazzle any audience member (plus you can make a night of it but tying one off at one of the myriad, top-notch bars in walking distance of the Byham).
Be sure to not miss out on this raucously fun hit, and nab your tickets before they sell out through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, starting at $49. (Show runs 8 pm-10 pm with one intermission).
Cruel Intentions: The Musical
- Saturday, April 20, 2019
- 8 pm – 10 pm
- The Byham Theater
- Tickets: $49 – $69
Can’t make it to The Byham on Saturday? Check out our guide to all of the other theater performances to see in Pittsburgh this year.