Carrie: The Musical
July 28, 2003 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Fifteen years ago, the venerable Royal Shakespeare Company staged a musical adaptation of Stephen King's novel Carrie. Wackiness ensued, to the tune of $5 million.
posted by pxe2000 (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Broadway musical version of "Carrie" is legendary. It's The Flop to End All Flops, or the Best Worst Show Ever, or however you want to put it. It's also the basis for a great book by long-time theatre reviewer Ken Mandelbaum, who now writes for Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops. I bought and read the book for a class I took in college, and it's a very comprehensive, slightly snarky, fun-for-theatre-geeks read. There's lots of backstage gossip and photos of playbills and scenes from famous flops. It's amazing how many well-known stars got stuck in such turkeys, and sad how many promising careers never got off the ground because the actors/actresses kept getting cast in stinker after stinker.

As for "Carrie" itself, I have MP3's (thank you, Napster, RIP) that someone made of a recording taped off of the soundboard on one of the show's last nights. Amazing singing from a very strong cast (Betty Buckley! and then-newcomer Linzi Hately, who is now in "Chicago") with some really great angsty melodic songs. The score is actually pretty great as long as it concentrates on the mother-daughter stuff between Carrie and Mrs. White, but it's mostly awful when it focuses on the teenager and high school stuff, which I think I remember Mandelbaum comparing to "Bye Bye Birdie" meets S&M.

Apparently, the show had really horrible, horrible direction and costumes and choreography and implementation and lighting and special effects--basically, the overall vision for the show sucked bigtime--which is what sank it. Well, that and the chorus girls' kickline during the pig-killing scene. And the changing (somewhat) of Carrie's powers from telekinesis to pyrokinesis. And the climactic prom scene being changed to someone just running up to Carrie and literally dumping a bucket of red goo on her head.

It would be neat if someone revived the show someday, since it seems like those are things that can mostly be fixed. Could be a real guilty pleasure.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:17 PM on July 28, 2003

There's big money to be made in Broadway flops...
And really corny films to be made about big money to be made in Broadway flops...
posted by Shane at 7:54 PM on July 28, 2003

asparagirl: there have been a few semi-legit re-stagings of carrie based on dialouge cribbed from bootlegs of the show. one of the show's authors refuses to release the performance rights, due to his own embarrassment at its notorious reputation. the only authorized post-broadway production of the show happened a few years ago at stagedoor manor, a showbiz summer camp which will be immortalized in a movie called camp (coming soon to a theatre near you). not only did the kids allegedly love performing it, but carrie fans love the kids a scary extent.

and then, of course, there are the drag productions. (not of this carrie, but of original musicals from the same subject matter.)
posted by pxe2000 at 9:37 PM on July 28, 2003

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