Carrie The Musical Is Back: My Review

Categories: Theater

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Every living being claims to have seen Carrie, the legendary 1988 Broadway flop musical based on the Stephen King novel about the small-town girl who gets revenge on the bullies via bloodying up the prom.

It was the original "It Gets Better" video.

Well, I really saw it and I have the Playbill to prove it!

And it wasn't all terrible.

In fact, the early sequences featuring some angsty mother-daughter duetting were pretty explosive -- until the show focused on the cheesy high school silliness and lyrics like "Chop! Kill the pig! Pig, pig! Kill, kill!"

And that's when it became legendary.

Well, the musical's creators have rethought this thing all these years later to come up with a new Off-Broadway version that aims to strip it of its risibility and go for more earnest interaction and developed characters.

This time, the beleaguered Carrie (baby-faced Molly Ranson) seems a little less outwardly freaky, and her damnation-fearing mom (the reliably good Marin Mazzie) is not quite as externally looney.

What's more, the prom scene is done via suggestive visual and sound cues, without any real liquid going on.

Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford have added to and subtracted from their score, coming up with songs that actually advance the plot and characters, which is not the case in way too many musicals.

Alas, Carrie's two big musical outbursts are not inspired enough to make the character come to full life.

And Act Two -- leading up to the bloody climax -- isn't as enjoyable as the first half, when Carrie goes from a put-upon girl with a period to a kick-ass Mary Poppins who can move furniture at will and even land a date for the prom.

But while the high school high jinks are still not persuasively pulled off, there's enough workable stuff in this horror musical to make it a non-horror.

It's never going to be a classic, but those who wished they'd gone the Xanadu route and camped up the material might be pleasantly (or rather, unpleasantly) surprised.


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Andyjy
Andyjy

Wow?! A fair critic?  A critic doing his job right? How refreshing

I must thank you Michael.  While I don't agree with everything you critiqued, at least you gave this show a fair review, unlike a majority of the critics who seemed to only take pleasure in telling everyone 'CARRIE STILL SUCKS'

MJT
MJT

Reviews are opinions........saw the show:  timely w/ bullying these days (L Gaga) and hope it helps the cause.  Oh yeah........enjoyable music, acting and nice effort for off-Bway.  A -

Ynnocence
Ynnocence

"It was the original 'It Gets Better' video" - The movie came out just as I was enduring the peak of unmitigatedly violent high-school bullying. I partook total satisfaction in watching it, re-viewed it several times, and still feel pleasure when I chance upon it today. Told no one about my response (or how bitterly I hated the bullying), of course. And once more Musto reads into the core of what I thought should be left buried under a pile of guilt and shame.

Muscato
Muscato

Ah, memory.  May 15, 1988: I could have seen the original Carrie, but we went to TKTS and got into Macbeth with Christopher Plulmmer and Glenda Jackson instead (pretty dreary actually).  Only discovered later (much later) that night that we'd missed closing night!

Stephen Dixon
Stephen Dixon

It was a bit like Mean Girls, the musical with a bit of Hocus Pocus towards the end, but I didn't have a problem with that. Not scary enough but it's not like the ending is ever going to surprise. The two female leads had a lot of presence. The scenes between them packed dramatic punch.

Bwaybill
Bwaybill

You saw the original Carrie???? Fab!!!!!

Peterpiper
Peterpiper

Fair review. Thank you for this. I will check it out.

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