Ok. Maybe you have heard of Carrie The Musical, adapted from the Stephen King novel (1974) and subsequently the film by Brian De Palma (1976). This infamous Broadway flop of 1988, according to Wikipedia: Hampered by scathing reviews, and despite the fact that the theatre was sold out every night, the financial backers pulled their money out of the show, and it closed on May 15 after only 16 previews and 5 performances, guaranteeing its place in theatre history as one of the most expensive disasters of all time. According to The New York Times, the “more-than-$7 million show…was the most expensive quick flop in Broadway history.”
However, there is now more to this story. In 2012 there was a revival that’s goal was to bring new life to the show. Reworked book and score. The run was decent, but it was not a smash success. The tide was changing for this most notorious flop of a show.
Cut to now at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and somehow they have turned this show into a stunner, a complete shocker of a show. It is one of the more memorable stagings of a musical I have ever seen. Set in an intimate recreation of a high school gym, the show happens all around you. In fact, parts of the audience moves throughout the production, changing perspectives, opening pathways, dynamic and audacious.
And yet the surprises continued. The voices in the production are stellar. The acting more naturalistic. The dancing organic and meaningful to the story. Some of the theatrical tricks were just enough to wow, and some reveals were big enough to produce gasps. In fact, a day later and I am still seeing images from the show in my mind. So surprised.
And here’s another thing that happened, thoughts of relevance of current social topics kept popping up including; bullying, religion, sexuality, regret, self-acceptance.
Somehow this production of Carrie The Musical gets it right. The biggest flop in Broadway history has new life. This may very well be the definitive production.
Playing through this weekend. Run, don’t walk.
Oh, and we are seeing it again tonight. BTW.