Constantine Rousouli and Molly McCookEXPAND
Constantine Rousouli and Molly McCook
Photo by Abel Armas

A Cruel Intentions Musical Celebrates the '90s (and Sarah Michelle Gellar Showed Up)

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.)

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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.

Constantine Rousouli and Katie StevensEXPAND
Constantine Rousouli and Katie Stevens
Photo by Abel Armas

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.

A Cruel Intentions Musical Celebrates the '90s (and Sarah Michelle Gellar Showed Up) (3)

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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