Carrie The Musical

 

Music by Michael Gorebailiwick chicago

Lyrics by Dean Pitchford

Book by Lawrence D. Cohen

Based on the novel by Stephen King

Directed by Michael Driscoll

Musical Direction by Aaron Benham

Choreography by Brigitte Ditmars

Produced by Bailiwick Chicago

At the Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theatre

Energetic musical adaptation of the cult novel and film sags under a forgettable score of pop/rock tunes

Bailiwick Chicago’s selection of the often failed musical version of Stephen King’s novel, Carrie was a curious choice.  While I am probably the only one in the audience who didn’t see the film or read the novel, I had little expectations for this show. I was immediately turned off by the Broadway pop/rock singling style that rendered the girls sounding alike and the boys singing in high pitch. That and the tendency for most of the players to project so softly that they could hardly be heard, made for a long evening for me. I guess I’m spoiled by legitimate singing?

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Carrie is set in a high school in Maine that finds the popular kids bullying  the misfit Carrie White (Callie Johnson) since she is a shy nerdy type henpecked by a religious fanatical cruel mother (Katherine L. Condit).

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The popular kids, lead by Chris (Samantha Dubina) and her obnoxious boyfriend Billy (Sawyer Smith) are particularly cruel toward Carrie. When Carrie has her first period at school in the gym shower the girls laugh at her while teacher Ms. Garnder (Kate Garassino) tries to help the shy Carrie. With prom coming soon, Sue (Rochelle Therrien) is sympathetic toward Carrie as she gets her loving bookend, Tommy (Henry McGinniss), himself a mensch to take Carrie to the prom as a gesture of kindness. Carrie accepts despite the nasty reaction by her fanatical mother.

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By when Carrie discovers she has special powers, she loses all her fears of mother and others. Pushed too far and Carrie isn’t afraid to use her power for vengeance.

The staging of the final scene surprisingly worked on the intimate stage.

My problems with Carrie come mostly from the singing style that renders most voices to sound alike. Add the screaming that Katherine L. Condit used in her numbers and Carrie sound vocally challenged. Those who either like or can tolerate Broadway pop/rock singing style  will enjoy this energetic musical. Callie Johnson’s acting was fine but her singing was barely adequate. I believe that Carrie could be better as a drama especially with the forgettable score by Michael Gore.

But, I must say that the production worked nicely given is was a musical filled with teenage hyperactivity. Fans of the movie and fans of Broadway pop will find much to like here.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: June 1, 2014

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the Carrie The Musical page at theatreinchicago.com

At Victory Gardens Christiansen Theatre,  2433 N. Lincoln, chicago, IL, call 773-871-3000, www.victorygardens.org, tickets $40, Thursdays, Fridays 7 Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 6 pm, Special Industry performances on Tuesday June 10 & 17 at 7:30 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through July 12, 2014