Last night, I was invited to attend Carrie the Musical, which is playing at the New Century Theatre through October 27th.
Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, Carrie The Musical tells the tale of Carrie White, a misfit bullied at school by the popular crowd and at the mercy of her loving, but cruelly over-protective mother. But Carrie’s just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it.
Carrie the Musical could be best described as a combination of Carrie the movie + Glee + an anti-bullying PSA. The promotional picture to the right suggests that Carrie the Musical is a horrific thriller but I wouldn’t describe it as such. Carrie the Musical does not offer the intense and disturbing moments that one normally associates with Stephen King. With the exception of the end, the musical stays pretty true to the movie, but dissipates most of its intensity through the choreographed song and dance numbers. I found that the character of the mother suffered greatly in this respect. The mother came off as overbearing and religious, but more like a slightly twisted Mother Superior from The Sound of Music; hardly the scary, psychotic and abusive nutcase from the movie. This is partly because of the songs she’s required to sing. It’s hard to act crazy and terrifying when you’re singing gentle melodies. I just didn’t have the same visceral reaction to her character as the mother in the movie.
The climactic scene you are expecting will probably leave you disappointed. Although the acting was pretty good, the audience wants to see a cascade of blood pouring onto a bewildered Carrie, and no amount of red lighting will suffice as a stand in. I know it’s logistically challenging and expensive to pull off, but you have to give the audience what they want! I also found it somewhat puzzling that the end seemed to represent that the audience should feel some pity for Carrie. Sure Carrie had it rough, but in this day and age, we don’t typically sympathize with people who burn down an entire gymnasium full of prom-goers.
I left the theater a bit confused and wondering how the director was hoping I would feel. Should I feel happy? Should I feel sad? Should I feel freaked out? Perhaps I was thinking too deeply about it and should view it the way it is. It is entertainment that’s light and a new twist on an old classic. It’s just not much more than that.