It’s hard to believe but the cult classic film “Cruel Intentions” starring Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillipe and Sarah Michelle Geller opened in theaters 20 years ago. Now the movie and it’s amazing 90’s soundtrack are coming to life on stage. Following sold-out runs in Los Angeles and a critically acclaimed, sold-out run in New York City, Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical launched its first national tour this past March and will make a stop at DPAC for a one night only performance next Wednesday, April 24th!
Based on the French novel, Les Liasions Dangereuses, this production tells the a tale of manipulation, seduction and revenge set among wealthy teenagers attending high school in New York City. Seduced by revenge and fueled by passion, the two diabolically charming step-siblings place a bet and set out to destroy and innocent girl and anyone who gets in their way. As their plan unfolds they find themselves entangled in a web of secrets, temptation, and the cruelest game of all: love.
Featuring your favorite throwback hits by artists like Boyz II Men, Christina Aguilera, REM, *NSYNC, and, of course, Britney Spears, this intoxicating new musical is “the ultimate night out” for any 90’s fan!
In anticipation of the show next week I spoke with Dara Orland who plays Mrs. Bunny Caldwell in the production. Dara graduated with a BFA in Drama from the acclaimed NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has performed around the country and in multiple NYC productions and has had her choreography performed internationally and Off-Broadway.
When did you realize theater would be your life?
Basically as soon as I was walking and talking I was signing and dancing. My parents recognized my desire to perform for whoever would watch at an early age and enrolled me in singing and dancing classes early on. Then when I was in high school I performed in all the school musicals. My love for performance just never stopped and I went on to study theater at NYU.
What’s it like to be both a choreographer and actor in Theater?
Oh it definitely presents some unique challenges when you are involved in the choreography of a show you are also acting in. While I am not doing both for this show I have played both roles in the past and you have to be mindful of what you are supposed to be doing on stage and try to block out all the other direction you have given to the other actors on where they need to be in each scene and the choreography cues. It is a lot of information swimming in your head and you have the be on top of your part!
What is it like to play the role of Mrs. Bunny Caldwell?
Well it is kind of funny to be playing in a role of an older woman. I’m actually 27 and my character is a mom with a high school aged daughter so she is older. But the hair and makeup and wardrobe really do transform me into the role of an older woman. It also work great for me to play this role as we are a small cast and when I don’t have a scene as Mrs. Bunny Caldwell I can perform as part of the ensemble cast in the high school scenes portraying a younger character.
Is the musical different from the movie in many ways?
The plot and the dialogue are the same as the movie, but the production is not as dramatic and dark as the movie. The theatrical production adds a more flair and humor. Most importantly cast that plays the characters bring their own personality to the role. While each character represents the likeness of the character from the movie, we aren’t imitating the movie. We use the movie as inspiration but each actor brings a different personality to the roles to make it their own.
How is Cruel intentions different from other Musicals?
This musical has a killer set list. It’s part musical part rock concert with the period music from the 90’s playing a large part of the show. When you look at the playbill it reads more like a set list than a scene list.
What do you like to do when you visit a city on tour?
I love a good sunset! Whenever I visit a new city I search out the best peaceful place to catch the sun go down. I also love exploring the food scene. I’m in Chicago right now and have tried the deep dish pizza. When I get to North Carolina I am looking forward to finding some excellent barbecue!
“Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical” will be at DPAC on Wednesday, April 24th. For tickets visit: https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/cruel-intentions-the-90s-musical.