Community Theatre group stages the musical version of Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’

Does Stephen King’s Carrie work as a musical?

We’re not sure, but the question will be answered when Dark Psychic Productions present the musical version of King’s classic work at the Phoenix Theatre in October.

Directed by Ryan S. McNally, the story follows town misfit Carrie White, bullied by the popular crowd while remaining virtually invisible to everyone else.

At home, she is at the mercy of her over-protective and abusive mother – but Carrie soon discovers with her coming-of-age that she has telekinetic powers.

So when humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she wreaks havoc on everyone and everything in her path.

The musical version of the story was written by Lawrence D Cohen, who wrote the screenplay for the 1976 film, he collaborated with the team had created the successful film musical Fame. 

When the original production was first staged in included some of the team from Fame including choreographer Debbie Allen and actor Gene Anthony Ray.

When the multi-million dollar show opened on Broadway it was loved by audiences, but got scathing reviews from critics. The show closed after 16 previews and just five performances, making it one of the most expensive flops in Broadway history.

In 2012 an off-Broadway production of the show found success, and in 2015 it had a successful run in London’s West End.

The director of this new local production, Ryan McNally, said it is a challenging show to stage.

“Adapting telekinetic abilities on stage is one of the biggest challenges the show faces,” McNally said.

“Tricking the audience is a lot harder when you don’t have a cutaway shot you can set up like in a film.

“We are really excited for the audience to see some of the ways we execute some of Carrie’s powers.

“The show is very stylised with it all being told through memory – it’s also very character-driven and my cast are really something else.” McNally said.

“Vocally, it’s one of the hardest shows we’ve done and I’m lucky to have Krispin Maesalu on board as my musical director.”

McNally said the songs in Carrie remain upbeat, considering the show’s dark content.

“I feel the writers Michael Gore on music and Dean Pitchford on lyrics have done a brilliant job in allowing the songs to really drive the narrative,” he said.

“There are quite a few changes between the book, film and stage formats, mainly due to the logistics behind a few scenes.

“But the show is closer to the book than the movies.”

Acting from age 13, McNally created Dark Psychic Productions in 2012, producing numerous shows and showcases over the past five years with many staged at Phoenix Theatre.

Carrie appealed because of the music,” he said. “I tend to listen to soundtracks and, if the music is able to move me, it piques my interest and I then further investigate the show.

“I have always been a fan of the Carrie movies and the stage musical adaptation sat really well with me. “

Carrie plays at 8pm October 6, 7, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 with a 2pm matinee October 15. Book tickets at at Phoenix Theatre is located at 435 Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill, within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall.

OIP Staff, images: Olivia Rose as Carrie, by Jarrad Sharman. 

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