North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre to Present CARRIE: THE MUSICAL, 10/18-11/3
The North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre (NRACT) will present the southern regional premiere of "Carrie: The Musical," based on the 1974 horror novel by Stephen King, for ten performances, Oct. 18-Nov. 3.
"Carrie" was a notable flop when it premiered on Broadway 25 years ago, but has since been rewritten, streamlined and polished. The musical tells the extraordinary story of a tormented girl with telekenetic powers who destroys her high school and kills her classmates, while grappling with relatable personal issues like bullying that are faced by nearly every student.
"I began working on this show in the mid-90s as a college thesis," said James Ilsley, the show's director and NRACT board president. "It's humbling for NRACT to be the first theater in the region to perform this brilliant piece. We have assembled a stellar cast and expect this production to make its mark on the Triangle theater scene."
When "Carrie" was originally staged on Broadway, it was the most expensive production ever mounted and was expected by many to be the next "Les Miserables". However, creative problems and technical disasters caused the show to fail spectacularly, losing all of its investors and closing after only five performances. The production lurched jarringly between intensely violent scenes and campy 1980s dance numbers.
"Something interesting happened though; people could see that inside a very flawed production was a brilliant and compelling piece of theater that was simply mishandled," said Ilsley. "Bootleg copies began to circulate around the world. A book was written on what went wrong. Anyone versed in theater history knows about 'Carrie'.
"But all requests to perform 'Carrie' were denied. This show became the Holy Grail of the musical theater world; everyone wanted to fix the diamond in the rough, but no one was allowed to."
Then in 2009, the original authors began reworking the show through a series of readings, culminating in a 2012 limited New York run. This new, streamlined version retains the original stand-out material for Carrie and her mother Margaret, but much of the show has been rewritten with new songs and a renewed dramatic focus around school politics and the ravages of high school bullying. "Carrie" features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the 1976 film version), music by Academy Award winner Michael Gore ("Fame", "Terms of Endearment"), and lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford ("Fame", "Footloose").
NRACT's production of "Carrie" will open Oct. 18 - the same weekend as the release of the new film version starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore - and will run through Nov.3. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. There will be a special Halloween performance Oct. 31 at 8pm. Evening tickets are $17 for adults and $14 for students and seniors; matinee tickets are $12.
NRACT is located in the Greystone Village Shopping Center at 7713-51 Lead Mine Rd. in Raleigh, NC.
The cast of "Carrie" includes Brent Blakesley (George), Ann Davis (Carrie White), Phil Denny (Denny), Sidney Edwards (Miss Gardner), Mary Fuller (Helen), Jess Hill (Shelly), Michelle Johnson (Roxanne), Josh Kellum (Freddy), Lauren Knott (Freida), Ali LaRue (Principal Stephens/Rev. Bliss), David Oberst (Stokes), Peter O'Neal (Tommy Ross), Mary Reilly (Sue Snell), Sandi Sullivan (Margaret White), Lori Ingle Taylor (Chris Hargensen), Tyanna West (Norma), Brian Westbrook (Billy Nolan) and Sarah Zimmer (Beth).
The crew includes James Ilsley (director and choreographer), Phil Denny and Craig Johnson (music directors), Tim Locklear (stage manager) and Ann Haigler (costumes).
North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theatre is a volunteer-based, nonprofit community theater that serves North Raleigh and the surrounding communities. It seeks to engage all members of the community by offering affordable, high-quality entertainment and education in a fun and friendly setting. As a teaching theater, it educates in a safe, nurturing environment, and encourages the development of life skills while providing a gateway to a lifelong passion for theater.