The newly reworked and fully re-imagined production of Carrie, the musical, had its first preview on January 31, 2012 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and officially opened tonight, March 1, 2012 Off-Broadway!
Based on Stephen King's bestselling novel, the musical of Carrie hasn't been seen since its legendary 1988 Broadway production. Now, the show's original authors have joined with director Stafford Arima and MCC Theater for a newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of this gripping tale. Set today, in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen, music by Academy Award winning composer Michael Gore, and lyrics by Academy Award winning lyricist Dean Pitchford.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Ben Brantley, The New York Times: Perhaps because of the prevalence of such shock fests, the revamped musical “Carrie” has taken a counterintuitive approach, scaling down the gothic while scaling up the commonplace. Yes, there’s a bit of thunder along the way, and some shadowy lighting effects (by Kevin Adams). But metaphorically and literally, screams have mostly been replaced by a conversational drone. Only a few minutes into the show — which is presented, rather lazily, in flashback from a police station interrogation room — a survivor of the prom night from hell explains, “What you need to understand is that we were just kids.”
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: The MCC Theater's re-imagined production of "Carrie" that opened Thursday at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on Christopher Street is an attempt to reclaim what must be assumed is a stirring work evidently lost in the 1988 original, one of Broadway's most notorious failures. The result may be better, but it's nowhere near good. Some lovely music is marred by a patronizing, out-of-touch book, an overwrought tone and characters that seem as light and insubstantial as an after-school TV special. How bad is it? The new version directed by Stafford Arima produced quite a few titters during a recent preview. That's not good news: It's not a comedy. While it's not clear what "Carrie" is trying to be, it's not supposed to be funny.
Elisabeth Vincentelli, NY Post: Desperately trying to avoid any suggestion of camp, Arima goes for the opposite extreme and steers clear from anything that could suggest flamboyance. There are blood-red projections rather than gore, and we don’t see enough of Carrie’s psychic powers. So she moves a chair without touching it — big deal. But this is a larger-than-life tale where the supernatural plays a big part. Depriving it of visual and sonic extravagance completely misses the point. Poor Carrie: First she’s the victim of bullies, then she falls to well-intentioned advocates.
Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Daily News: In 1988 “Carrie” opened on Broadway and died in three days. It was overblown. Reviled. It became a legend. That was then. Now, director Stafford Arima’s modest and economical projection-heavy staging doesn’t inspire extreme reactions. It’s just another so-so musical adaptation of a popular novel that fails to expand upon its source. It’s not bad enough to be campy fun or stirring enough to really embrace.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg: Now she’s back (I suppose ‘baack!’ is more apt), in a scaled-down, more thematically persuasive revision of the musical whose heroine is the ultimate victim of bullying as well as child abuse. No red goop drenches her in the climactic scene, which is symptomatic of the entire enterprise. It’s earnest and underpopulated, and it’s bloodless.