By George Basler

The Chenango River Theatre is continuing its season with a parody of Broadway musicals featuring a character who will do anything — and I do mean anything — to land the lead in her school play.

Ruthless! The Musical will open Friday (July 5) for a four-weekend run at CRT’s playhouse, 991 NY-12, Greene.

“It’s a wickedly funny show,” said Zach Curtis, CRT’s producing artistic director. It takes satirical potshots at classic Broadway shows, stage mothers, child actors and mother/daughter melodramas, such as The Bad Seed, he added.

The musical, with a score by Marvin Laird and book and lyrics by Joel Paley, features an all-female cast of six. The character at the center of the show is eight-year-old Tina Denmark, being played by an adult in the CRT production. Tina, who has stars in her eyes, hatches some diabolical maneuvers to get the role of Pippi Longstocking in her school play when another girl is chosen ahead of her.

Ruthless! The Musical was a success Off-Broadway when it opened in 1992, but it’s not as well-known as some other shows, Curtis acknowledged. He didn’t know much about it until he watched a recording of the London West End production and found himself reveling in the show’s over-the-top tone. “Fifteen minutes into the show, I thought, ‘We have to do it,’” he said.

The musical gives cast members the chance “to show their singing chops” in big Broadway-style ballads and dance numbers, Curtis said. They also get to be outrageous and “very, very funny,” he added.

The CRT production is being directed by Kory Yamada, a Minneapolis native who has directed two previous CRT productions, SHOUT! and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Kimberly Wilpon is doing the choreography.

CRT newcomer Vivian Waye will play Tina. Also making their CRT debuts are Bex Odorisio, Kennedy Bastow and Mary Lauren. Rounding out the cast are CRT veterans Alondra Hughes (Boeing Boeing and SHOUT!) and Lina Marie (SHOUT!).

Ruthless! The Musical is a campy, tongue-in-cheek show that aims to provide escapist entertainment, Curtis said. “It’s very dark, but in a good way,” he noted.

On Friday, July 12, there will be a post-show talkback with Curtis and members of the company.

 IF YOU GO: The Chenango River Theatre will present Ruthless! The Musical July 5-28. Performances are Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $33 for all performances. The recommended way to buy tickets is at Tickets can also be purchased by calling the 24-hour box office line: 607-656-8499.

Free tickets for high school and college students are available at all evening performances. Email tickets@chenangorivertheatre for reservations, which are required for the free ticket program.