BWW Review: CARRIE: THE MUSICAL at Acting Against Cancer
Olivia Duff as Carrie White. Photo courtesy of Acting Against Cancer.
CARRIE: THE MUSICAL
Music by Michael Gore
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Directed by Charlie Merideth
Review by Taylor Clemons
Entire contents copyright © 2018 Taylor Clemons. All rights reserved.
Carrie, the original 1978 movie and Stephen King book are loved by horror buffs everywhere. Since it's release, the mistreated quiet girl with a taste for revenge has enraptured us all, with its various remakes and sequels being made over the years. However in 1988 she took on a new form. This time she would be singing in a musical. The show originally played London before coming to the United States. Many saw the show as a mess, and on Broadway the production closed after 16 previews and 5 performances, at the time making it the biggest flop in Broadway history (losing about 8 million dollars). The show was gone but not forgotten. Through bootlegs the show gained a massive cult following over the years, and in 2012 the writers decided to give it another look. They revised, replaced, and added many aspects to create the version that played off Broadway and is now licensed.
Acting Against Cancer is only the Second Company in Louisville's history to attempt the show (the first being Wayward Actors in 2014), and for the most part, they did a fine job. The show has tone issues that are unavoidable, but this production managed to pull out the shows better qualities and make bring them into the light.
The cast is lead by Olivia as Carrie White. From the moment we meet her she embodies Carrie's shy and weak nature. However, she really shines in the moments she gets to showcase her vocal talents. For Carrie, this show is vocally demanding, and she was definitely up for the task. Julie Riehm McGuffey as Carrie's mother Margaret, matched her note for note, bringing depth and intensity to the stage. In my option, the most enjoyable part of the show are the scenes and songs between Carrie and her mother, and this pairing certainly didn't disappoint.
Supporting members of the cast come off well. Joy Beth DeWitt does a fine job as Carrie's gym teacher Ms. Gardener. The harmonies she and Duff, share during Unsuspecting Hearts are chill inducing, as their voices blend flawlessly. Clara Wilson as Sue does a fine job with somewhat of a vanilla character. Sara Troxel is very successful is mean girl Chris, easily belting out the rock and roll score. Remy Sisk as Chris' bad boy lover, Billy, sings the role well, but I couldn't help but feel that he was miscast, especially during book scenes.
The ensemble dances and sings the score with ease, but I couldn't help but feel they could've used more direction in regards to character. Most of the time I felt like they were around without much to do.
The direction came off well for the most part. It was a very daring move to put the show in such and interesting space, but it ultimately paid off. There were a couple of numbers I didn't particularly care for, but on the whole Charlie should be extremely proud of his directorial debut. In particular, his staging of "The Destruction" was thrilling.
In the end, Carrie is a well spent night at the theatre. Not exactly scary, but I wonderful cautionary tale for the times in which we are living. If there's anything you should take away with you from this show, it's the simple question "What does it cost to be kind?"
CARRIE: THE MUSICAL
Now - June 17, 2018