Melissa Grassia, Laura Mixon and Chelsea McCarthy in "Ruthless": Photo by Ralph Stewart
Third-grade teacher Myrna Thorn (Melissa Grassia) separates understudy Tina Denmark (Laura Mixon, left) from star Louise Lerman (Chelsea McCarthy) in "Ruthless." Photos by Ralph Stewart

Ruthless talent wins out

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - June 22, 2006

You have three more chances to see the musical "Ruthless" at Outerland before it closes on Sunday, June 25. My advice: get there.

The Island Theatre Workshop is presenting the hilarious musical "Ruthless" under the direction of Kaf Warman, with musical direction by Peter Hutchings. The show can be best described as big, bigger, biggest. Each number tops the previous one, and each character tries strenuously to outdo (or undo) the other.

But don't be misled. It takes a great deal of control to keep this show from spiraling out of control. The six actors do it perfectly, to the great joy of the audience.

The story revolves around young Tina Denmark, played by the uber-talented Laura Mixon. She is a joy to watch. Even as scary and psychopathic as Tina is, the audience just wants to see more.

Jamie Alley in "Ruthless": Photo by Ralph Stewart
Sylvia St. Croix (Jamie Alley) wants to manage young Tina Denmark's career.

Taffy McCarthy plays Tina's mother. Island audiences know how talented Ms. McCarthy is, and she soars in this role. Jamie Alley plays Sylvia St. Croix, in drag, but not like a drag queen. He is just right. His Sylvia is believable, even in a cheap blond wig. His revelation at the end of the play is worth the price of admission.

Chelsea McCarthy goes all out as Louise Lerman, the ill-fated star of her elementary school musical. Poor Louise is in the way of Tina's becoming a star. Chelsea McCarthy also plays Eve in the second act. She really believes it's all about Eve.

Theater critic Lita Encore is very well played by Shelley Brown. She does Lita big, bold, and unafraid. Melissa Grassia plays two roles, Myrna Thorn, the third grade teacher, and Emily Block, a reporter. Ms. Grassia has a wonderful voice, and she did a good job with each role.

Be warned, your hands will hurt from clapping, your sides will hurt from laughing, and you'll judge other musicals by the high standards set by this cast. Enjoy.

"Ruthless" Friday, June 23, 6 pm (note new time), Saturday, June 24, and Sunday, June 25, 7 pm, Outerland, Airport Road, Edgartown. Tickets $20 available at the door. Call 508-693-0950 for more information.