Saturday, February 25, 2012

Carrie the Musical: A Review

I went with a good friend to see Carie the Musical (off-off broadway) in NYC today. It was an enthralling production.

Carrie: The Musical is a musical with a book by Lawrence D. Cohen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Michael Gore. Adapted from Stephen King's novel Carrie, it focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother. When she is humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she wreaks havoc on everyone and everything in her path. Francis X. Clines, in The New York Times (March 2, 1988) noted that Carrie is "Mr. King's carmine variation on Cinderella".

It was a superb production. The sound effects, the music, the score and lighting (oh my, the lighting!) all combine to make a story that is riveting. The entire cast was amazing. Every person had a moment to shine, and boy did they all take that opportunity. Vocally I loved the show, the songs were emotional and memorable. The choreography was sharp and very visually interesting. Did I mention how AMAZING the cast was? It's worth mentioning twice.

The set was minimalistic, as was the furnishings. It suggested aptly a time and place without being bulky. Scenes flowed quickly from one to another seamlessly. What was spectacular was the lighting design - a simple white cross projected signified some of the more religious moments in the show. projections of candle flames suggested much more depth to the scene. Very well done.

The highlight of the show was the destruction scene at the prom. First, the dumping of the blood - was all done with lighting effects, projected over the entire stage, then Carrie was hit with a red spotlight - a very effective technique. Then the choreography of the cast was beautifully timed to the music and
Carrie's gestures with these grotesque contortions as Carrie loses control over her talent and takes it out on her tormentors. The fire is also suggested through sound and the lighting projections over the whole stage of flames. It was amazing and breathtaking. Emotionally tragic, of course, as you know what is going to happen and you keep hoping it will turn around.

The final scene Carrie enters drenched in stage blood which provides the continuity from the previous scene and the end - will leave you in tears.

I would go see it again. It was superb, the kind of musical theater theater draws you in at the beginning of the show and doesn't let you go until the last bar of music.


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