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Review

Carrie: The Musical
by Musical Theatre of Anthem
 

THE SHOW:  

Music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and book by Lawrence D. Cohen. Based on the book by Stephen King.  

Stephen King’s book and subsequent film starring Sissy Spacek were huge hits – an emotionally powerful horror story about the socially awkward teenage girl Carrie White. Teased and bullied in high school for her shyness, lack of knowledge about her own body due to her strict religious upbringing, and because much of the student body knows of her fanatically self-righteous mother, Carrie has spent her school years alone. The embarrassment of Carrie fearfully experiencing her first menstrual cycle in the girls’ shower leads to Sue Snell feeling regretful of her bullying, leading her to talk her boyfriend Tommy Ross into asking Carrie to the prom. But along with her first menstruation also comes Carrie’s power of telekinesis.  

The expensive 1988 Broadway production of the musical became infamous as the biggest flop in musical theatre history. But it also played to sold-out audiences throughout its short run. With the revisions made for the 2012 revival, Carrie: The Musical has earned a renewed cult following.  

THE PRODUCTION:  

Musical Theatre of Anthem brought Carrie: The Musical to Arizona with what was clearly a serious and sensitive undertaking by co-directors Adam Vargas and Shawna Weitekamp, their production team, and their cast, creating a powerful and compelling night of theatre.  

That cast is led by Julia Davis as Carrie, and she does a beautiful job as the outcast girl who begins to slowly emerge from her shell and believe she may, for the first time in her life, be making friends. She also delivers some lovely vocals, and a few nuggets of humor such as when straight-laced and soft-spoken Carrie awkwardly repeats a classmate’s “No s**t” to the bemusement of her newfound companions. Adult performers take on the adult roles in this show, and Terri Scullin is fantastic as Margaret White, absolutely secure in her beliefs about the evils in the world that once seduced her (I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance), and determined to keep her daughter from them and with her. The two share some great scenes together as Carrie begins to demand some independence with her newfound powers, and as she returns to her mother for comfort after her prom.  

Leigh Treat is touchingly sincere as Sue Snell, remorseful for her treatment of Carrie and eager to help her (Once You See). Her boyfriend Tommy (Keegan Hughes) is also very real and genuine, and together they share a charming, nicely staged pre-prom dance in You Shine. Not so charming but perfectly performed are the vindictive Chris (Maddison Lopez) and her boyfriend Billy (Maxx Carlisle-King). Maddison leads The World According to Chris with terrific rock vocals and style as she reveals the possible root of her attitude with lines like, “It’s better to whip than get whipped,” and Maxx adds much to his role throughout as the cocky school bully who lets his libido take him a little further down the road of vengeance with Chris than even he is comfortable with.  

The rest of the cast is a fantastic collection of talent, both the adult teachers and Carrie’s fellow students, with the students shining in the opening number, the second act opener A Night We’ll Never Forget, and the last prom scene. There’s no blood and the bucket is an animated projection, but Wesley Sullivan’s lighting, the sound of the doors slamming shut, and the terror of the students all create plenty of fear in the building for their final dance. The mood of tragedy is sustained as the cast does not reappear for final bows.

Performed September 5 - 8, 2013

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 


  Add Artist Page
Carrie White: Julia Davis
Margaret White: Terri Scullin
Sue Snell: Leigh Treat
Tommy Ross: Keegan Hughes
Chris Hargensen: Maddison Lopez
Billy Nolan: Maxx Carlisle-King
Miss Gardner and Female Voice: Tina Khalil
Mr. Stephens: Tim Shawver
Norma: Brielle Amrein
Frieda: Angel Morris
Helen and Dance Captain: Taylor Ellsworth
George: James McKeag
Stokes: Elijah Stanley
Freddy: Tyler Adams
Ensemble:
Alessandra Brown
 Maggie Eley
Olivia Freeman
Nadia Hamilton
Dominique Hinnen
Brienna Horacek
Tanner Johnson
Jessica Kelly
Jessica Kishbaugh
Nathaniel Lutz
Caitlin McAndrew
Samantha Pear
KT Potter
Daphne Sietz
Kaylie Stone
Ann Emilie Tjorhom
Kailyn Toussaint

Co-Directors: Adam Vargas and Shawna Weitekamp
Choreographer: Shawna Weitekamp
Producer: Jackie Hammond
Vocal Director: Cris Wo
Lighting Designer: Wesley Sullivan
Light Technician: Sonia Tomaso
Sound Technician/Spot Op/Projector: Alex Tomaso



   

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