PLAYBILL VIP SPOTLIGHT: Twenty-Five Years After Broadway, Carrie the Musical Makes High School Debut

By Adam Hetrick
28 Feb 2013

Only a small number of parents expressed concern over Carrie's suitability for a high school production, McNamara said, and the school also offers the disclaimer that the production is not suited for most middle school students. The school also presented The Laramie Project in previous years.

"Shock and disbelief" is how McNamara described students' reaction to audition notices. However, once they read the newly-imagined script by Lawrence D. Cohen and heard the score by composer Michael Gore and lyricist Pitchford, he said they were immediately captivated by the material.

Subject matter aside, Carrie is one of a handful of musicals that actually allows student performers to play age-appropriate roles. This was a deciding factor for Sandia Prep. "In the world of educational theatre, we are most often faced with casting our teenagers as characters much older than they are in real life. It is nice to let students develop characters who are their own age," McNamara said.

Students Mackenzee Donham and Lyric Urzetta portray Carrie White and her mother, Margaret, respectively. McNamara describes the energy in the rehearsal room as "very intense." Much of the cast has been gathering backstage to watch the final moments of the musical play out as Carrie and her mother share their final, deadly scene.

Students working on the production team are also testing new ground, creating the various special effects for Carrie, which include the levitation of several objects as well as the fiery destruction scene. Akin to the Off-Broadway production, the dramatic prom scene in which Carrie is doused with blood, will incorporate lighting and projection effects. Carrie will also vaporize a few of her classmates with the help of some additional stage effects.

"We enjoy challenging our students as well as our audiences," McNamara said. "Anytime that we can motivate our students to discuss current issues we grab that opportunity. This is one such opportunity for us. As the director of this production, I also feel that the piece is very worthwhile artistically. Michael Gore's music is moving and exciting as it builds the audience's anticipation of the arrival at the prom. Lawrence Cohen's book is intense, realistic and very believable. The dialogue flows naturally and was very easy for our students to grasp. Dean Pitchford's lyrics are concise and inspired while capturing the spirit of today’s young people. It is simply a great piece of theatre. It is also exciting to be the first authorized [high school] production of this incredible work!"

Adding to the excitement, Sandia Prep students are among the first to be featured in a Playbill VIP, the Virtual Internet Playbill, which allows amateur organizations to create an authentic Playbill for their own production. Read more about here.

Carrie runs through March 3 at Sandia Prep. You can check out Sandia Prep's Playbill VIP here. Just like the Playbills found on and Off-Broadway and in numerous theatres across the country, the Playbill VIP contains billing features identical to those used by award-winning theatre professionals for decades.

Visit to explore more exciting productions across the U.S. and to build one of your own.