Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Is this truly Carrie:The Musical's swan song?

With the announcement of a new production of the infamously awful musical Carrie(based on Stephen King's original novel more than the 1976 film incarnation),many horror and Broadway fans were excited yet anxious about how well this show would do. Well,the verdict is in,folks. The musical is closing two weeks early,due to poor reception from audiences and critics alike.

The major flaws in this version of the show included placing the story in the modern internet age(Carrie was written in the seventies and some of it's plot points work best there)and the lack of camp that rendered the play blander than cafeteria food. To their credit,the producers and cast wanted to make the show more in touch with the issues of bullying that are part of the national dialogue these days but something like Carrie:The Musical wasn't quite the right place to do that:

As bad as the original 1988 Broadway version was,theater fans,especially those who love the best of the worst,found much to love about it.

Not enough to keep the show going for long,granted,but the level of twisted nostalgia that it retained was high enough to maintain even higher levels of expectation for the revival.

Some of that love comes from the actual songs,a good number of which were performed by Broadway baby Betty Buckley. Her performance as Margaret White,the religiously demented mother of the beleaguered heroine,was said to be the highlight of that run and makes someone like me who never saw the show back then wish so much that she had:

I was worried about the serious tone that this revival was intending to take since genre material,particularly horror, in a musical setting can be pulled off in only one of two ways,high opera(such as Phantom of the Opera)or camp. After all,the ending of the story is not a happy one and if you really want to add music to such gruesome proceedings,you better be able to pump up the theatrical flair.

Considering the rising prices at box offices these days,folks are prepared to get their money's worth and then some. People still kept coming to Spiderman:Turn off the Dark,despite it's insane staging,confusing numbers and actor injuries because while it wasn't good,it wasn't boring either. A good campy take on Carrie,plus some creative casting,might have turned the tide here:

Although this looks like the end for Carrie on Broadway or Off Broadway,I suspect that this strange little show will go on. Left in the hands of the musical geeks,who love it unconditionally and with tongue firmly in cheek,Carrie:The Musical will find the audience it deserves. That may sound sad but look on the bright side,people;it's not as if there's a major trend out there of reenactments of The Moose Murders(never heard of it? That's the point!):

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