BWW Interview: Director BRADY SCHWIND Talks About Changes in CARRIE THE MUSICAL
Producers Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman and The Transfer Group have announced that CARRIE THE MUSICAL will return to Los Angeles at the historic Los Angeles Theatre, the first theatrical musical at that venue. CARRIE THE MUSICAL begins previews on October 1, 2015 and officially opens on October 8, 2015.
Directed by Brady Schwind and choreographed by Lee Martino, this immersive staging of CARRIE takes the legendary musical off the stage and puts the audience right in the middle of the action, back in the rooms and hallways of high school and, of course, with a prime seat at the prom. This production is based on the acclaimed run this past spring at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, with most of the original La Mirada cast.
Director Brady Schwind recently sat down to chat about the changes that have been made to the show since last March.
Has the show changed in any way since March? Have you had to adapt it to the new space in any way?
Yes, indeed it has! Our pilot production at La Mirada this spring was a fantastic chance to test the environmentall-immersive concept I had for the piece, but The Los Angeles Theatre is a whole different play-ground. Quite literally! This old jewel of a downtown movie palace is a vast, fascinating labyrinth of space, with decades of lore and an astonishing architecture. It's also one of L.A.'s best kept secrets. One of the biggest thrills for me on this incarnation, is imagineering how the story of Carrie can work in tandem with the story of this extraordinary building. So while, we are taking the bones (and hopefully the best aspects) of what was done before, we are completely re-imagining the show for our new home. Everything is bigger and better! We have lots of new surprises, and I think for even those who saw it at La Mirada, it will feel like a fresh, new production.
Expand once more on your mission for Carrie. How does the immersion help audiences to understand the issues better?
I love iconic stories. I love stories that have endured for decades. And I love asking 'why' those stories have endured, and to then as a director to ask if I have any new insights into what makes them relevant. The brilliance of Stephen King's work on Carrie is that he took what is, by-and-large, the most universally terrifying time in a person's life -- the American high school experience - and in his own way 'theatricalized' it into a grand, almost operatic horror story. In this immersive approach to Carrie, we are asking the audience to step back into high school -- and to bring their own personal memories with them. The characters in the piece are archetypes -- we know who they are -- we know who we are in relationship to them, and of course -- we all, at some time or another, know what its like to feel like Carrie. The environmental landscape, which takes away any 4th wall separation between between the cast allows audiences the opportunity to get swept up, not only in the experience of the story, but in the experience of how how their own personal story relates.
What are the plans? A Broadway run?
Oh wow! Taking this revival of Carrie to Broadway would be a a personal dream come true for me, but right now we are focusing on other cities where we think the show could be unique and powerful. Certainly, Las Vegas holds the potential for an especially grand staging, and I love the idea of New Orleans, a city with haunted roots that seem a natural fit to the story. But I think this production could also find great success internationally too -- in Europe or Japan. Even if the culture is a little bit different, we have all shared these universal experiences and feelings of growing up. I think Carrie speaks to everyone.
What other shows and directors have you been influenced by? Any shows you dream of directing?
My work on Carrie definitely takes some inspiration from the work of Michael Bennett and Tommy Tune (namely their productions of Follies and Grand Hotel) which were both riveting fantasias on environment and memory. And I'm fascinated by the historical work of theatrical pioneers like Tom O'Horgan and Peter Brook. Of the current crop of directors, I'm endlessly thrilled by the work of Marianne Elliott, Alex Timbers and Sam Gold and this season, like everyone else was knocked out by Thomas Kail's work on Hamilton and Michael Arden's re-imagining of Spring Awakening at DeafWest.
As for shows I'd like to direct -- well, anything by Tennessee Williams and Chekov (what director wouldn't) -- but I also have a secret dream of taking a stab at Lolita My Love (the fabled John Barry / Alan Jay Lerner take on the Nabokov book) which I think, like Carrie has always been a mis-understood musical waiting to be mined for gold.
Any final words about the cast, the space or the production. Look forward to seeing it again.
I adore our cast, who I think have completely redefined these roles. I am thrilled that almost all of them are returning to the production. And I'm honored too with the best creative team in Los Angeles. But most of all, I am blessed to be working with writers (composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford, and book writer Larry Cohen) who are still in love with Carrie -- ever open to new ideas, and firmly committed to making this production the best Prom Night she's ever had.
Los Angeles Theater, 615 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA /Performances begin Thursday, October 1 /Opening Night Thursday, October 8 /Performances on sale through November 22.
Carrie performs Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday evenings at 8pm; Saturdays Oct. 17, Oct. 31 (Halloween); and Nov. 14 at 6:30pm and 11pm; Saturdays Oct. 3, Oct. 10, Oct. 24, Nov. 7 and Nov. 21 at 2pm and 8pm;Sundays at 2pm and 6:30pm
Tix available online at ExperienceCarrie.com or by calling 1-888-596-1027