PHOTO ARCHIVE: Carrie Musical, Original Photos and Playbill
By Matthew Blank
As the infamous musical Carrie — based on the Stephen King novel — prepares for its first-ever New York revival at MCC Theater, we look back at the original UK and NYC productions and offer a glance through the pages of the Broadway Playbill.
"Fame" songwriters Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford collaborated with "Carrie" screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen on the musical adaptation which premiered in London at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988 starring Linzi Hateley as Carrie, with Tony winner Barbara Cook as her mother. The cast also featured Tony nominee Charlotte d'Amboise, Gene Anthony Ray and Darlene Love.
Carrie arrived on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre in April 1988 with Betty Buckley (a veteran of the 1976 film) replacing Cook in the role of Margaret White. Much of the original London principal cast, including Hateley, d'Amboise, Ray and Love, reprised their performances. Capitalized at over $7 million, Carrie gained cult status for being such an expensive and short-lived Broadway venture. Carrie closed on Broadway after playing only 16 previews and 5 performances.
Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz, Tin Pan Alley Rag, Somewhere in Time, London's Ragtime) helms the latest incarnation of the pop musical that has been retooled by the original writers, who have refined the focus of the story, including lyric rewrites and several new songs.
Carrie has a score by Academy Award winner Michael Gore ("Fame," "Terms of Endearment") and Academy Award-winning lyricist Dean Pitchford ("Fame," "Footloose") and a book by original film screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen. Carrie will officially open March 1 for a run through March 25.
The cast is led by Molly Ranson (Jerusalem, August: Osage County) in the title role, opposite Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal, Passion, Ragtime) as her religiously fanatical mother, Margaret White.
Arrima told Playbill.com, "It was really important for us, when we approached coming back to Carrie and reinventing it for 2012, that we took a very hard look at making sure that we were making this presentation, making this story, making this narrative, its unique own self – we weren't putting the novel on the stage, or putting the movie on the stage – that we were bringing to life Carrie in a theatrical way."
Mazzie added that fans of the original Broadway production, who are familiar with rare live audio recordings, will hear the songs in a whole new way. Much of the material originally written for the characters Carrie and Margaret remains intact.
Ranson also pointed out the timeliness of the story. "It's especially releveant now, more than ever, with all of the bullying that's coming to the forefront of our consciousness in our nation," she said. "We're hearing this in the media all the time about these kids taking drastic measures. Now I think it's a really great time to be doing it."
The cast also features Christy Altomare as Sue Snell, Carmen Cusack as gym teacher Lynn Gardner, Jeanna de Waal as Chris Hargensen, Derek Klena as Tommy Ross, Ben Thompson as Billy Nolan, Wayne Wilcox as Mr. Stephens, Corey Boardman as George, Blair Goldberg as Norma, F. Michael Haynie as Freddie, Andy Mientus as Stokes, Elly Noble as Helen, Jen Sese as Frieda, Mackenzie Bell, Jake Boyd and Anne Tolpegin.
The creative team includes Matt Williams (choreography), Mary-Mitchell Campbell (music direction and arrangements), David Zinn (set design), Emily Rebholz (costume design), Kevin Adams (lighting design), Sven Ortel (projections design), Jonathan Deans (sound design), Doug Besterman (orchestrations), AnnMarie Milazzo (vocal design), Leah J. Loukas (wig and hair design) and Rick Sordelet (fight director).
Tickets for Carrie begin at $89. Visit mcctheater.org. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street.
"Carrie" (1974) was Stephen King's first published novel. The book follows a shy teenage girl who is raised by a fanatic Christian fundamentalist mother in a small Maine town. Carrie soon discovers she has telekinetic powers and ultimately uses them to take revenge on the classmates who taunt and humiliate her throughout the novel. "Carrie" was later adapted into a 1976 film starring Sissy Spacek in the title role, with Piper Laurie as her mother and Betty Buckley in a featured role as the gym teacher.
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