The Curse of Blood: Carrie, With Molly Ranson and Marin Mazzie, Ends Off-Broadway Run April 8

By Adam Hetrick
April 8, 2012

The revised Off-Broadway production of the short-lived 1988 Broadway musical Carrie, starring Molly Ranson as a tortured teen and Tony nominee Marin Mazzie as her fanatic mother, ends its run April 8 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.



The original 1988 writing team of Academy Award-winning composer Michael Gore ("Fame," "Terms of Endearment"), Academy Award-winning lyricist Dean Pitchford ("Fame," "Footloose") and "Carrie" film screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen returned to work on Carrie,  which was shaped by director Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz, Tin Pan Alley Rag, London's Ragtime) as a more intimate tale of parental control, bullying and school politics.

Carrie began Off-Broadway previews Jan. 31 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and officially opened March 1. A four-week extension through April 22 was announced in late February, but MCC Theater cut the extension short to April 8.

Less so than the 1988 Broadway outing, the Off-Broadway revival of Carrie also left critics divided on the new, more palatable take on the musical, which took the gore and spectacle out of the tale of a bullied telekinetic teen who destroys her prom. The press singled out Tony Award nominee Mazzie (Next to Normal, Passion, Ragtime) and Ranson (Jerusalem, August: Osage County) for their performances as Margaret and Carrie, respectively.

Click here to see the Playbill Vault feature on the original production of Carrie.

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).

Visit mcctheater.org. The Lucille Lortel Theatre is located at 121 Christopher Street.

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Molly Ranson
photo by Joan Marcus

"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.

"Fame" songwriters Gore and Pitchford collaborated with "Carrie" screenwriter 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.

Terry Hands directed the production that featured choreography by Debbie Allen, both of whom repeated their work for Broadway. The musical proved challenging to mount, with numerous special effects and the crucial plot point of dousing its leading lady with buckets of fake blood.

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. 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. After being derided by critics and leaving audiences divided, Carrie closed on Broadway after playing only 16 previews and 5 performances.