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Andrew Melendez

8/26/15
Listening Assignment #1 of 12
Carrie: The Musical
Carrie: The Musical is an adaptation of Stephen Kings 1974 horror
novel Carrie. The novel and the musical revolve around the title character,
Carrie White, a misfit girl who is bullied in school and discovers that she has
telekinetic powers. She is eventually driven to use these powers to exact
revenge on the classmates who torment her. Carrie was Kings first published
novel, and has been adapted into several film. In 1981, Lawrence D. Cohen,
the writer of the 1976 film version (starring Sissy Spacek), began working
with American composer Michael Gore and Fame collaborator Dean Pitchford
on a musical version of the novel. After a workshop of the first act went up in
1984, it was announced that a Broadway show would be produced. Funding
was not raised until 1987, and after tryouts in Stratford-upon-Avon, moved to
Broadway in 1988 at an expense of $8 million. The musical was a flop: it
closed after 21 performances to very divided response from both audience
and critics. Rothstein of The New York Times called it the most expensive
quick flop in Broadway history. Gore, Pitchford and Lawrence began revising
the show for a reading in 2009, and in 2012 was revived off-Broadway. The
off-Broadway revival cast released a recording of the show, and even won
the 2012 Off-Broadway Alliance Awards for Best Musical Revival.
Stephen King is one of my most favorite authors, and I actually own
the novel Carrie. Ive read it two or three times, and the first time I finished it
I remember sitting on the curb outside of my house in the summer heat
absorbed in the panic of Carries tortured destruction. I listened to the 2012
off-Broadway revival recording starring Molly Ranson as Carrie, and in
comparison to the novel, I definitely believe that the musical fails to capture
the suffering that Carrie is subjected to, not just by her classmates but also
by her mother Margaret, played by Marin Mazzie. While I can appreciate the
attempt to make Margarets character more sympathetic, especially with her
ballad When Theres No One, I dont think that it contributes any weight to
the show except to draw more attention away from the intense abuse that
Carrie is experiencing. The only time in the recording that I get a sense of
their violent relationship is at the end of And Eve Was Weak as Margaret
cries out for God to Take her/ Cleanse and purify her / With the fire and the
power and the glory.
Structurally, the events in the musical mirror the book, using Sue Snell
to tell the story in place of Kings third-person perspective and the various
print clippings in the novel. The music itself carries a consistent theme
throughout, and of course uses reprises to revisit subjects touched earlier in
the show. My least favorite song in the recording, by far, was Unsuspecting
Hearts, a duet shared between Carrie and her gym teacher, Miss Gardner
(played by Carmen Cusack). It had a very country-pop composition that I
swear I could hear Reba singing, and it actually felt a little out of place.

Carrie is a female-heavy show, and while various male students help fill out
the ensemble I dont see there being anything particularly engaging or
challenging for myself in it.

Sources
Rothstein, Mervyn. "After Seven Years And $7 Million, 'Carrie' Is a Kinetic
Memory." The

New York Times 17 May 1988. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

<http://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/17/theater/after-seven-years-and-7million-

carrie-is-a-kinetic-memory.html>.

Hetrick, Adam. "Carrie Dies Sooner Than Expected; Revival to Close April 8
Off-Broadway."

Playbill. 23 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

<http://www.playbill.com/news/article/carrie-dies-sooner-thanexpected-revival- to-close-april-8-off-broadway-188747>.

"The Vault: Carrie Team Talks Fact and Fiction Of the Infamous Broadway
Production, Part

I."

Playbill.

Web.

<http://www.playbill.com/multimedia/video/the-

26

Aug.

vault-broadways-

original-carrie-team-talks-fact-and-fiction-of-the-famo-223878>.

2015.