The May 2015 staging of Lindsey Rosin and Jordan Ross’ Unauthorized Musical Parody Of Cruel Intentions at Los Angeles’ Rockwell Table & Stage was the impetus for a series reboot of the cult 1999 movie that was ordered to pilot at NBC and remains in contention for a series pickup. While its fate at the network remains in limbo and its prospects becomes dimmer with each passing month, Rosin and Ross are bringing Cruel Intentions: The Musical back to the Los Angeles stage with four shows at Prospect Theater on November 11-12 and November 18-19.
Will the new staging again give the TV adaptation a boost, this time helping it clinch a series order? NBC had been considering the Sony TV-produced Cruel Intentions for a summer run on the linear network as well as a possible original series for the long-in-the-works NBCUniversal OTT service. But with the latter nowhere near reality, a summer run appears to be the sole viable scenario as the options on the cast, extended in June, are set to expire in December. (There had been some interest elsewhere but sources are not optimistic about opportunities outside of NBC.) So the timing of the musical is good, especially if it generates buzz like the 2015 staging.
Last year, the film’s writer-director Roger Kumble attended the Cruel Intentions performances, along with stars Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar and co-star Selma Blair. Kumble gave Rosin and Ross his blessing for the musical and later teamed with the duo to co-write the TV series adaptation, which was able to get Gellar to reprise her role.
It is unclear whether any of the cast members from the pilot would appear in the musical, produced by Rosin and Ross and directed by Rosin. Katie Stevens, who played Kathryn in the previous staging, is set to reprise her role.
At the May upfronts, NBC topper Bob Greenblatt called the soapy Cruel Intentions “a bit of an outlier for us, because there’s no other show like it in our list of genres.” Still, “we like it, and we’re still discussing it and trying to figure it out,” he said. Talks had been going on- and off- since, though chances for a pickup appear 50-50 at best.
Based on the cult movie, Cruel Intentions is set in present day and picks up more than 15 years after the movie left off. Kathryn Merteuil (Gellar) vies for control of Valmont International as well as the soul of Bash Casey, the son of her brother, the late Sebastian Valmont, and Annette Hargrove. Upon discovering his late father’s legacy in a hidden journal, Bash is introduced to a world of sex, money, power and corruption he never could have imagined.
Gellar stars alongside Taylor John Smith, Kate Levering, Samantha Logan, Sophina Brown, Coby Bell and Bryce Cass.
Kumble executive produces the NBC/Sony adaptation with the film’s producer Neal H. Moritz and Pavun Shetty of Original Film; Rosin and Ross co-executive produce.