Most people will know of the Stephen King horror film Carrie (or the book from which it derives) from one of the three versions that have been release over the years 1976, 2002, 2013. But only musical theatre buffs might be familiar with the disastrous story of the 1988 musical adaptation which opened on Broadway and closed just five days later when financial investors pulled out after the critical bloodbath it received in the press.
Now, 27 years later, a brand new version of this musical is having its UK premiere at the Southwark Playhouse from next week 1 May 2015.
At yesterday’s rehearsal in East London, press were invited to watch scenes from the show and speak to some of the cast. The legendary Kim Criswell (who plays Carries fanatically religious mother) remembers being one of the lucky (or unlucky) few to have seen the original Broadway production all those years ago and how hilarious parts of the production were. Despite being written by the same person who wrote the film and with music by the same people who wrote Fame, the production values were so low that the press deemed it laughable.
Despite a four-week run by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon, England, the Broadway musical’s life was short lived. Disaster struck during the Stratford run when Barbara Cook (who played Margaret White) was almost decapitated by a piece of the set. She withdrew from the show but saw the rest of the run out as no replacement could be found for her. Betty Buckley ended up replacing her for the Broadway run.
In 2009 work began to rework Carrie for an off-Broadway production (which eventually opened in 2012) which involved replacing several songs and revising the music and book. The show played for just over a month and the first ever cast recording of Carrie was released.
Now, under the direction of Gary Lloyd, a fresh young cast are about to create history (one way or another) with their new version and UK premiere of Carrie the Musical at the Southwark Playhouse. Evelyn Hoskins will play Carrie and eerily was born on the same day and year as the original Broadway show opened. One thing is for sure, I certainly won’t be getting on the wrong side of her, no matter how sweet and innocent she might look!
West End Wilma
Carrie is playing at the Southwark Playhouse from 1-30 May 2015. Click here for tickets, if you dare!
Photos: Garry Lake