Way back in the mid-late 1980s, someone had the bright idea of turning Stephen King’s seminal anti-bullying horror Carrie into a Broadway musical. The production was a catastrophic flop. Per THR: “While it ran for 16 previews and just five post-opening performances, it became something of an urban legend. If every theater insider who claims to have seen the notorious fiasco had actually been there, the show would have run for a year or more.” A review of the show described “a mix of operatic bombast and ‘80s vulgarity by Terry Hands of the Royal Shakespeare Company”.
Carrie the musical included a “slutty” opening song called In, and a notorious Act II number called Out for Blood that included the chant “Kill the pig, pig, pig,” accompanied by the alarmed oinks of unseen livestock. Keep in mind, the show was not intended to be a comedy.
25 years later, someone had an inclination to resurrect Carrie; a revamped, stripped down version was re-released in 2012. Unfortunately, the reception was much the same. A review of that production stated:
The inescapable impression remains that Carrie was never meant to be a musical – certainly not one with this unmemorable score and literal-minded, on-the-nose lyrics. The Goth-chic black prom corsage bangles available at the merchandise stand suggest some element of subversiveness, but what’s onstage is merely innocuous. In an effort to make the show connect with awkward-age teens, it’s been watered down and robbed of all the distinctive qualities that made it “terrifyingly lyrical” onscreen (in the words of Pauline Kael) and ludicrously lurid on Broadway. It’s prime exploitation material treated as intense psychodrama. (Source)
Even so, the revamped Carrie musical went on to see production runs in Seattle and Los Angeles.
If this sounds like something so-bad-its-good, or if you simply can’t wrap your mind around what a Carrie musical would look/sound like, have a look at the video below, which includes clips from both the 1988 and 2012 renditions (with lyrics). Have a look (and a laugh) below.
In the original film adaptation of Carrie (directed by Brian de Palma): In this chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s horror novel, withdrawn and sensitive teen Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) faces taunting from classmates at school and abuse from her fanatically pious mother (Piper Laurie) at home. When strange occurrences start happening around Carrie, she begins to suspect that she has supernatural powers. Invited to the prom by the empathetic Tommy Ross (William Katt), Carrie tries to let her guard down, but things eventually take a dark and violent turn.
Did you ever see one of the infamous showings of Carrie the musical? Sound off in the Comments section!