We love a good nostalgia fix, and Cruel Intentions: The Musical does just that. The production, which is now playing at (le) Poisson Rouge in New York City’s West Village, has everything you could ask for in a show highlighting the best of the ’90s—including a steady stream of your favorite pre-Millenium hits. In between listening to the Cruel Intentions characters—made iconic by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Philippe, Reese Witherspoon, and Selma Blair in 1999—manipulate and seduce each other using the movie’s exact dialogue, you get to hear them belt out everything from “I Want It That Way” to “I Don’t Wanna Wait.” It’s magical, and not just because the supremely talented cast nail their respective roles (which they do) or because it’s fun to hear your favorite old school jams belted out by some of your all-time favorite characters (which it is).
No, what’s truly magical about Cruel Intentions: The Musical is that it reminds us of a simpler time. A time when you had to navigate love triangles in person. A time before sexting. A time when there was no such thing as swiping right or sliding into someone’s DMs. That’s not to say it was an age of innocence, obviously, as Kathryn Merteuil and Sebastian Valmont very well remind us both onscreen in the film and onstage in its latest incarnation. There was plenty of scandal, drugs, and sex to go around the Upper East Side, and our beloved characters managed to ruin lives just with one call from a flip phone.
Courtesy Jenny Anderson
Of course, in a world of such excess, nothing was ever enough to satisfy Kathryn and Sebastian as they tortured their playthings, Cecile Caldwell and Annette Hargrove. And while the pre-Gossip Girl look at Manhattan’s teenaged elite was chock full of darkness and narcissism, we can't help but wish we were a part of it all every time we re-watch Cruel Intentions. Luckily, Cruel Intentions: The Musical hits all of the same notes.
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Seriously, it’s 110 minutes of pure ‘90s nostalgia bliss. After two previous sold-out runs in Los Angeles and a brief pop-up stint in New York last February, the musical officially opened last night. It’s been building buzz for weeks now, thanks to Broadway stars like Ben Platt and Jonathan Groff checking out the production during previews. We caught a performance over the weekend ourselves and can confirm with certainty: this is one production that you do not want to miss. Luckily, you have plenty of chances as the anticipated run has already been extended through Feb. 19. Scroll down for 9 things any Cruel Intentions fan will love about the show, and for tickets, go to cruelmusical.com.