The crowd at opening night of Rockwell’s Cruel Intentions: The Completely Unauthorized Musical Parody partied like it was 1999.
Before curtain, a girl in twin Björk buns bopped to Sixpence None the Richer, and everyone tried to stay calm with original star Sarah Michelle Gellar seated in the front row in a sharp-shouldered black blazer, looking like her wicked character, Kathryn, who paired it with a bustier and a cocaine-filled crucifix. (Gellar took Instagram video from the show.)
In the era of trigger warnings, Cruel Intentions’ bed-hopping, double-crossing script feels even more deliciously vile. Director Lindsey Rosin doesn’t soften the edges, not even lead cad Sebastian’s (Constantine Rousouli) casual homophobic slurs.
Rosin assumes — correctly — that the packed room knows every line, and speeds through the plot in shorthand, having the cast spout a few memorable lines and then burst into a relevant-enough hit ’90s song. Kathryn (a knockout Katie Stevens) belts “You Oughta Know” at her ex, and coos “Genie in a Bottle” to cocktease. As the set is merely a bare strip, the effect is a combo of karaoke, runway show and spin-the-bottle.
Spencer Strong Smith and Shelley Regner are hilarious as, respectively, the closeted jock and gawky Cecile, and when Regner leaned into Stevens for that MTV Movie Award–winning girl-on-girl kiss, Gellar pulled out her phone and spun around for a grinning selfie.
Rockwell, 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz; through April 25. (323) 669-1550, rockwell-la.com.
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