FLASHBACK FRIDAY: In previous posts, we have mentioned that there have been Musicals on Broadway that flopped, had cult followings, and even eventually got revamped. One those shows was Carrie: The Musical. It featured a score by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (who also did the screenplay for the famous 1977 film). It’s based on the acclaimed Stephen King horror novel about an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers, bullied by her classmates, and lives a life with a psycho religious mother.
CARRIE THE MUSICAL was one of the biggest Broadway Musical flops of the 1980’s. Before it head to Broadway, the show embarked on an out of town tryout in Stanford, CT in Februrary 1988. The World Premiere cast starred West End star Linzi Hately as “Carrie White”, Sally Ann Triplett as “Sue Snell”, legendary singer Darlene Love as “Ms. Gardner”, Paul Gygnell as “Tommy Ross”, Charlotte d’Amboise as “Chris Hargensen”, Gene Anthony Way as “Billy Nolan”, and the recently deceased Barbara Cook Official as “Margret White”, During the whole run, the show faced numerous technical problems including the crew not able dump the fake pig blood at Hately during the famous climax scene at the prom (so her mic wouldn’t have problems), majority of the book and score kept going through rewrites, and even there were reports of jeers and boos from the audience following the opening number. In addition, Barbara Cook dropped out from the production following an onstage accident and almost being hit by a major set piece. She stayed with the show till a replacement came in.
When CARRIE THE MUSICAL finally did hit Broadway, the whole cast from Stanford continued with Betty Buckley (who played the Gym coach in the 1977 film version) replacing Barbara Cook Official as “Margret White”. For it’s Broadway run, the musical played the Virginia Theatre (now the August Wilson Theatre) for only 16 previews and 5 regular performances. On Opening night, the audience and critics were not pleased booing at the whole Ensemble. However, only Linzi Hately and Betty Buckley were the only ones to recieve loud applause and standing ovations. Following horrible reviews, the show closed within a week and the producers lost more than $7 million on the production.
24 years later since the horrific times of the original production, MCC Theatre company presented a revamped version of CARRIE THE MUSICAL for today’s audience. The revival reunited Gore, Pitchford, and Cohen to write 7 new songs for the show replacing 7 songs from the original production. This revamped revival was set present day and was inspired by stories happening in the news of people being bullied in the world. The revamped version at MCC played the Lucille Lortel Theatre Off Broadway for a limited run of 34 previews and 46 performances. The Off Broadway revival cast starred Molly Ranson as “Carrie”, Christy Altomare as “Sue Snell”, future Tony nominee Carmen Cusack as “Ms. Gardner”, Derek Klena as “Tommy Ross”, Broadway and West End star Jeanna de Waal as “Chris Hargensen” , Ben Thompson as “Billy Nolan”, and Tony nominee Marin Mazzie as “Margaret White”.
Today, that revamped version of CARRIE THE MUSICAL is now being performed in schools, community, and regional theatres everywhere.
Check out this amazing montage of B-Roll and press stuff from the original 1988 production.
Act 1 only exists. Quality isn’t that great.
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