Kim Maresca interview - 'Ruthless is the script of my dreams'
Marvin Laird and Joel Paley’s musical Ruthless started life off-Broadway in 1992 and gained a reputation among fans for spoofing big Broadway musicals like Gypsy and Mame as it tells the story of an eight-year-old girl who would do just about anything for a taste of fame.
It received an off-Broadway revival in 2014, which saw actress Kim Maresca play the girl’s mother, Judy Denmark. She now reprises her role for the London premiere of the show, which is currently in previews at the Arts Theatre.
Maresca has also appeared in productions of Rent, Hair and Little Shop of Horrors, and makes her London theatre debut in the upcoming production alongside Harriet Thorpe, Tracie Bennett and Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner.
Maresca took some time out of rehearsals to tell us about the show and what to expect.
How did your journey with Ruthless begin?
I actually first appeared in the show in 2014 with a quick three-week production for charity. It was really well received so it was extended for a month, and from there a producer picked it up and brought it off-Broadway. I’ve been doing it since then.
What is it about Ruthless that’s made you stick around?
It’s zany and silly, but there’ so much to peel away at my character. Even after all these years I’m learning more and more. That’s why this London production has been such a treat for me, because the new people I’m working with are bringing out more in me too.
What is Ruthless about?
In a nutshell, it’s about an eight-year-old girl who will do just about anything to get what she wants, and what she wants is to be a star. It’s about the events that unfold because of her wild narcissistic ambition and how it affects her relationships with those around her. Particularly her mother.
That makes it sound quite dark, but it’s very funny isn’t it?
It’s primarily a fun, funny musical, but there are dark themes, like this obsession with being famous. I feel like the culture has shifted in this fame-hungry direction, and it’s incredibly relevant today.
And it spoofs other musicals too?
It’s the script of my dreams. There’s tonnes of Gypsy, there’s loads of Mame, All About Eve, all the classics. If you have your Broadway knowledge you’ll get a good chuckle out of it, but if you’re not it will just go over your head. It’s just a fun bonus for musical theatre geeks like myself.
Has anything changed for the British audience?
The comedy and the heart of the show have remained the same which as very important, but each actor is finding something different about their character. I’m finding new things about my character, too. It’s a real treat to get to dig in a little more. It’s been a real education for me because it’s my first time spending a lot of time in London. It’s a dream come true, I love this city. I’m a little overwhelmed, actually.
What have you been up to since you arrived?
I’ve tried to catch theatre whenever I can. I caught Comedy About A Bank Robbery, I saw Beginning, Girl from the North Country, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. I’m trying to squeeze all the London exclusives in. Also, the bus! The bus is amazing!
Yes! They’re organised, clean, spacious, on time. And if you go on the top level, it’s like you’re on a tour bus.
And how have the new cast been settling into the show?
Wonderfully. They’re extremely brilliant performers. I hear Jason Gardiner’s got a reputation for being the Simon Cowell of Dancing on Ice, but it’s like he never took a day off the stage. His voice is magnificent and he has that choreographer technique so every move he does is just gorgeous to look at.
Ruthless Tickets are available now.
Photo credit: Alastair Muir