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“Carrie” Returns from the Grave

June 2nd, 2011

Image via Google.

Welcome to the Carrie Nation! No, not the hatchet wielding temperance activist. We’re talking about that infamous all-singing, all-dancing, all-telekinetic, Prom-destroying musical.

New York’s MCC Theater announced that they will be mounting the long-rumored return of Stephen King’s Carrie, the first production since the musical flopped on Broadway in 1988. Featuring significant rewrites by the original writing team, the show will make its “reimagined” premiere January 31, 2012.

Personally, I’m so excited I could flip a car with my mind. Over the next few months, we will count down to the resurrection with inside looks at the cast (Marin Mazzie!), the director (Altar Boys‘ Stafford Arima) and much, much more. And to kick off our coverage, let’s take a quick look at what we hope they keep and what we hope is left to burn in the ruins of the gym.  Cue the video…

For years, bootleg audio recordings of Carrie have been passed from music theater geek to music theater geek like holy relics. After even one listen, it’s clear why this show deserves another shot. The mother/daughter story is grand, scary, dramatic fun. Listen to this soundboard recording of Betty Buckley and Linzi Hateley tearing into “And Eve Was Weak”:

The other half of the show…well, it was misconceived. Whether in the writing, casting, choreography, direction or some unholy combination of all of the above, the high school portion of the original production feels tonally off the mark. It’s just hard to take as anything other than camp. And I don’t mean the kind with counselors, crafts and hot boys across the lake. Watch this clip of the opening number “In”, featuring pop icon Darlene Love and a squad of high school girls in toga-inspired gym class togs:

Rise up, “Carrie” Nation. Your time has come.

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