MCC Theater Plans Exploratory Workshop of Carrie Prior to Off-Broadway Arrival

News   MCC Theater Plans Exploratory Workshop of Carrie Prior to Off-Broadway Arrival
The pop cult musical Carrie, about a high-school outcast with telekinetic powers, will receive a developmental lab beginning in late May under the aegis of MCC Theater, according to an Equity casting notice.

Director Stafford Arima
Director Stafford Arima Photo by Aubrey Reuben

As previously reported, MCC Theater will stage the musical based on the Stephen King novel as part of its 2011-2012 season under the direction of Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz, Tin Pan Alley Rag, Somewhere in Time, London's Ragtime). MCC has not announced dates of productions for its full season.

The exploratory lab will run May 25-June 7 with Arima at the helm. Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Company, The Addams Family) will musical direct with choreography by Matt Williams.

Casting has not been announced, but MCC is only seeking the roles of Tommy Ross, Chris Hargensen, Billy Nolan and gym teacher Miss Gardner.

A series of readings were presented in late 2010 with Tony Award nominee Marin Mazzie (Next to Normal, Ragtime, Passion) and Molly Ranson (Jerusalem, August: Osage County) in the roles of Margaret and Carrie White, respectively.

Composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and book writer Lawrence D. Cohen have reworked the musical since its 1988 Broadway debut, with significant changes to the score. *

"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 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.

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

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