Cohen authored the screenplay for the 1976 film adaptation of "Carrie" (based on the novel by Stephen King) and also penned the libretto for the 1988 and revised 2012 musical incarnations. His account of dramatizing the thriller will be released by Applause Books May 21, 2013.
"Fame" songwriters Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford collaborated with Cohen on the musical adaptation which premiered in London at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988. The plagued production, a mix of adventurously dramatic material and broad camp, transferred to Broadway later that year starring Betty Buckley and Linzi Hateley. After being derided by critics and leaving audiences divided, Carrie closed on Broadway after playing only 16 previews and 5 performances.
In recent years Cohen, Gore and Pitchford reunited to re-examine the material for a new 2012 Off-Broadway production that focused the storytelling into a more human tale of school bullying, abuse and parental control. It premiered last season at MCC Theater Off-Broadway.
"Carrie the Musical: What Were They Thinking?" is billed as "an intensely personal chronicle, tracking Lawrence Cohen's four-decade history with Stephen King's classic fable — from reading the manuscript in 1973 while a reader for producer David Susskind, to writing the screenplay for the classic 1976 Brian de Palma film; from deciding to turn it into a musical (1984) to the path that led to the controversial Royal Shakespeare Company and legendary Broadway production that crashed and burned in 1988; to collaborating on its rebirth and resurrection for MCC Theater Off-Broadway in 2012."
The book promises a first-person and insider-based account, where Cohen will be "naming names, telling never-before-told stories, and revealing what its creators were thinking. Passionate and visceral, it provides a highly informative and educational behind-the-scenes look into just how musicals are written and put together." As previously reported by Playbill.com, R&H Theatricals has announced that the company is now accepting licensing applications for productions of Carrie to begin in January 2013. A cast album of the 2012 production will be released digitally Sept. 25 from Ghostlight Records.