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'Round & About Carmel: A Good Day Carmel review of Ruthless The Musical

Welcome to a new feature at Good Day Carmel - 'Round & About Carmel, where our staff of writers and editors will be reviewing and writing about performances, exhibits and events in an effort to encourage all to get out and enjoy our wonderful city.

On a cold winter’s night, what could be better than to spend a few hours tapping your toes, bursting out in laughter and watching with awe the final 20 minutes of a play? That pretty much describes our night as we attended the new Actors Theatre of Indiana production of Ruthless The Musical, now playing at the Studio Theater in Carmel. Based on a creepy old black and white movie, The Bad Seed, from 1956, Ruthless tells the story of Tina Denmark, a “delightful” young girl who wants to be a star … even if it means she would “kill” for the part. Performed by Fishers 4th grader Nya Beck, she nearly steals the show with her big voice and her spot-on facial expressions that capture the conflicted innocence of a little girl and the evil essence of a bad seed. But this musical goes far beyond that story line. There is her mother (Judy Fitzgerald), a sweet suburban housewife with a secret past and a surprising future; her frustrated 3rd grade teacher (Cynthia Collins) who directs the school play and draws one of the biggest laughs of the night with a single, shall we say, inappropriate posture; and then there is the voice coach/talent agent Sylvia St. Croix, performed by John Vessels in a dress (and a magnificent makeup job) who kept us rolling with his/her quick-witted delivery of lines and awesome stage presence. The first half of this nearly 2-hour production (which is rated PG-13) is entertaining enough, but truly, one must not even consider an early departure. The second half kicks this production up to a much higher level of intrigue as pasts are revealed and fates are determined. Ruthless left us all breathless – and standing on our feet in ovation and adoration of the excellent performances. This production is well worth the price of a ticket and a few warm hours on a cold winter’s night. Now playing through February 17. Click here for show times and to purchase tickets.

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