on September 25, 2012
The cast recording is finally here...a vibrant and accurate representation of the off-Broadway revival production, which I was fortunate enough to see on opening night in March 2012. A lot of questionable material from the original has been updated or jettisoned altogether ("Don't Waste The Moon" anyone? Didn't think so). The real highlights here, largely unchanged from the original 1988 Broadway production, are the sections between Carrie and her mother Margaret, sung to perfection by Molly Ranson and Marin Mazzie, respectively. I have seen complaints that Mazzie does not reach the dizzying heights of Betty Buckley's original performance, but what she does bring is a fiery intensity that, while perhaps more subdued vocally, is far more heartfelt and nuanced. Molly Ranson is spot-on as Carrie, and the recording showcases her formidable vocal and acting talents. The remainder of the cast acquit themselves just as well...not a clunker in the bunch(although poor Christy Altomare as Sue has an uphill battle, saddled with the blander melodies and eye-rolling dialogue moments).
New songs written for the revival may be mostly forgettable, but are pleasant nonetheless...no tracks that I plan to fast forward through.
Carrie devotees should be well satisfied, along with newer fans. The new recording is definitely worth the wait, and will no doubt fuel interest in local productions which are sure to start cropping up sooner rather than later.
on September 28, 2012
I am one of the lucky few who have seen both the original camp classic musical version of CARRIE and the recent off -Broadway revised version - each more than once. An ardent fan of the still -shocking story and film, I came to this revision with real curiosity. How will they handle the clunky moments in the original musical - like those where leather - clad disco boys jumped in and out of a trough, apparently bludgeoning pigs? Surprise surprise - the creative team led by director Stafford Arima have come up with a sad, effective, much more realistic take on the material. While it does not reach the haunting power of the film, this musical stays with you. Further it features some of the most memorable and tuneful new music written for the stage in eons. You simply can't dismiss this CARRIE. The performances are universally superb and the vocal arrangements, orchestrations and edits for the recording bring the story and characters to vivid life. Who knew CARRIE would come back from the dead...again? Check it out! And next up for all of us CARRIE fans...the latest film incarnation due in March 2013!
on October 9, 2012
In Ken Mandelbaums book Not Since Carrie, a wonderful informative and witty disection of what makes Broadway flops the way they were, he describes Carrie on Broadway: "What makes Carrie so unique is its combination of soaring, often heartbreaking sequences and some of the most appalling and ridiculous scenes ever in a musical." Judging from the reworking and the score of the CD, some of the same problems seem to be evident. While the "appalling and ridiculous scenes" seem to have been omitted (teens in leather chanting "pig, pig, pig...blood, blood,blood!!!") , the basic problem is still there.
The music and scenes between Carrie and her mother are stunning, operatic, and gorgeous, and Marin Mazzie as mother, Margret White, delivers an incredible ballad, When There Is No One that would do Sondheim or Lloyd Weber proud. However the songs for the teenagers, and these are almost half the show, with a couple of exceptions, are rather inane, and completely forgettable. It as if its High School Musical meets Puccini.
Molly Ranson as Carrie, and Mazzie are incredible and make the Carrie/Mrs White material highly listenable, check out the other numbers, and for the most part, skip over them.
A worthy curiosity to add to any collection, with some standout sequences, and a truly unforgettable ballad. Barbara Cook created the original mother in the musical in England, but wisely walked out (after nearly being decapitated by a piece of falling scenery) before the show came to NY. A shame because her rendition of When There Is No One must have been a masterpiece, not to take a thing away from Mazzie, or Betty Buckley on Broadway for that matter.
Have some friends who actually did see one of the few performaces on Broadway. One insists it was a great musical, and will argue with anyone that says otherwise, the others all agree it was the most bizarre, unusual, sometimes stunning, and sometimes insane show they had ever seen. Judging from this CD it's been made more workable, but some of the inherent weaknesses are still there.
on November 10, 2013
With the new adaptation of CARRIE in theatres, now is the perfect time to rediscover this amazing classic in all its forms, and this musical adaptation is quite good. Although I love the original film version, Carrie White is shown to be little more than a victim; in the musical, similar to the new film version, Carrie is a much more complex character and the musical does a good job of highlighting the real issue at the core of King's original novel: the book/films/musical aren't really about a girl with telekinesis at all, but really are about bullying and the terrible pains that we humans are capable of inflicting on each other. That the target of this bullying is gifted with special abilities is just what explodes the story into its terrible climax. King was truly visionary in depicting the everyday horrors of high school and created a tragic hero in Carrie White who tests her new powers and imagines what revenge might feel and look like, finally taking that revenge when she is pushed too far at what should have been a special night.
The musical in particualr does a good job of creating the supporting cast: Chris, Sue, and Tommy all emerge as fully developed characters, and the ensemble numbers reveal the insecurities that all high schoolers feel, the desire to fit in and be accepted (or at least fly under the radar of those who would abuse them) causing them to make terrible choices and victimize others like Carrie White.
The music is strong throughout, but here are my favorite songs:
1. The World According To Chris - Chris is obviously the villain of this story, and her solo makes no apologies and doesn't try to explain away her behavior. She's a mean girl, and she tells us exactly why. This song is honest and brutal, and helps set up the findamental differences between popular girls Chris and Sue.
2. Once You See - Sue finally begins to see that her actions have repercussions and she has a real growing up moment when she finally understands that you can't just do whatever you feel like doing and expect a simple "I'm sorry" to make everything right.
3. A Night We'll Never Forget - We all know how this story ends. Hearing all of the students getting ready for the prom, singing about their future plans, their hopes and dreams, is just heart-breaking.
If you like CARRIE in any of its forms, I definitely recommend checking out this album. The music is well done, the performances are excellent, and the whole album is a great experience.
on October 1, 2012
After spending the last 20 years listening to the "unofficial" cast recording of the Broadway cast, this one is a pleasant surprise to finally have as a professionally recorded version. The vocals are good, Marin Mazzie is awesome as Mrs. White, and the orchestrations are good and strong. I do miss the soaring orchestrations of the original Broadway version, but it is understandable with an off-Broadway production not to have the full orchestra. I like the changes of some of the songs, and the lyric changes are for the better. I do miss the "Heaven" sequence and the sextet during the prom sequence, as well as the full "Destruction" that the original version had; but overall, this recording is a welcome guest in my collection!
on November 24, 2015
Finally, several decades after the original production flopped on Broadway, I got to see the musical Carrie in Los Angeles in November 2015. Seeing this has always been a kind of Holy Grail of musicals for me and I was thrilled to discover it not only lived up to my expectations but surpassed them. I feel the same way about the Premiere Cast Recording. It's wonderful and I can't...won't....stop playing it. The feeling I got when watching the show
translated perfectly to the recording and now I can relive it as often as I want.
on May 1, 2015
I saw the play on Broadway show in 1988 and really liked it. The cheesy, sexy, costumes inspired by ancient Greece were fun, but they didn't make sense. It was a historic flop, so I thought I'd never see or hear it again. I didn't know about the bootlegs or the triumphant revision in 2012, so I was very surprised to see it would be playing at the La Mirada in Los Angeles in 2015. I saw the show, and it was awesome. The revision dropped the spectacle and concentrated on the story. The songs are fantastic--the music is catchy and the lyrics are clever. The story is more heartbreaking than horror although there is horror, and the emotions are in the music. You can follow the story with the CD because most of the songs advance the plot with dialogue and lyrics. The singing on this CD is awesome. And inside the CD cover, it finally explains the reason for the original costumes. Lawrence D. Cohen said when he and the other creators used the musical Grease as a reference, the director thought he meant Greece. Not only do I love this musical, but I love the fact that unlike the character Carrie, this musical came back from destruction and survived the prom.
on January 11, 2013
"Carrie - the musical," based on the novel by Stephen King. To the non-theater person, the mere idea seemed ridiculous. To the theater fan, the title brought a sadistic smile, and an instant recall of "the biggest Broadway flop in history."
When "Carrie" was originally premiered on Broadway in 1988, it was an overblown, self-indulgent spectacle of inconsistency. Running only five performances, its reputation of failure was firmly established, and continued to grow over the next quarter of a century into the stuff of legend.
However, seldom were these criticisms leveled at the score. The award-winning musical team of composer Michael Gore and lyricist Dean Pitchford ("Footloose") had successfully collaborated on "Fame," and were a proven commodity able to create a combination of feature numbers for the characters of Carrie White and her deranged mother, Margaret, as well as entertaining ensemble numbers to reflect the intents of the malicious high school students, whose cruelty toward Carrie would ultimately lead to their demise.
This faith in their score continued over the following twenty-five years, and finally brought them all (along with book writer Lawrence D. Cohen) back together to re-examine the show. They microscopically went through the book and the score, adding new material to establish the secondary characters' motives ("A Night We'll Never Forget," "Dreamer in Disguise"), and, with the help of orchestrator Doug Besterman and vocal designer AnnMarie Milazzo ("Spring Awakening"), brought the songs written for Carrie (now performed by Molly Ranson) and Margaret (the Tony-nominated Marin Mazzie) into the 21st century. These included the title character's self-titled expression of determination, "Carrie," and the heart-pounding duet, "And Eve Was Weak." The performances of Mazzie and Ranson effectively balance the humanity of their dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship with Margaret's religious fanaticism and Carrie's telekinesis. We finally feel sympathy for the psychotic Margaret when she delivers the mother's lament "When There's No One," even though we know that all will not end happily.
With a smaller venue presenting the 2012 revival (the MCC Theater, Off-Broadway), the demons have been exorcised from this show, and Ghostlight Records has released the long-awaited cast recording to memorialize this horror tale.
Back towards the end of 1989 Tim Burton 's Batman was the top grossing film, Wind Beneath My Wings was playing EVERYWHERE and on Broadway a musical was making the news on a regular bases. The musical was the troubled production of Carrie. Stories of the leading lady dropping out of the production as it moved to the states from the UK due to almost being decapitated by the set ran in the regular news segment. The boos opening night as well as the standing ovations were reported too. Reading the reviews or seeing pictures of the strange leather and toga clad cast preforming on a white Formica stage made you scratch your head.The now legendary production was the biggest and most infamous flop for decades. But in that time something strange happened. A slow steady word of mouth unlike anything else ever in theater. In those few short performances (that is seams EVERYONE was at... if as many people went as claim they went the show would still be running) some theater fans snuck in recorders. These recording started to make the rounds and removed from the trapping of the bazar staging the music was able to shine. People hunted down the recordings and traded them and a fan base began to grow. Bootlegs of every production of this show were hotly desired and strangely ...people liked them. Add to this mix the fact that no one could get the rights to it and you have a fan base in a frenzy. The creators of the show forbid productions so the musical that so many people were discovering on fifth or sixth generation copies on cassette looked to be lost forever. A few illegal productions were done and those bootlegs were added to the mix. It might be safe to say that Carrie may be the most traded bootlegs ever. When it was told that the show was coming back most thought it was a prank, but thankfully it was not. A small yet well produced Off Broadway production was done revising the troubled script and the best parts of the score. The production was greeted with lukewarm reviews this time and did very good business in it's limited run. A far cry from the now infamous reviews of the past. Is Carrie a show that will change theater? No, but it is a good piece of theater. Is it a GREAT piece, no but it doesn't need to be. It is a faithful adaptation of the book with some amazing, amazing songs like And Eve Was Weak. This recording will never compete with the full orchestrated broadway bootleg with the original cast, but it is a great way to finally get to have the show out there...officially. The dream cast recording like the dream cast recording of Follies are two beasts that will never be but till then fans of the show FINALLY get to hear it in some official way and people that have only heard of it can now get a taste of it.
on November 18, 2012
Having seen the infamous Broadway production, I was among the "if-only" fans who'd always regretted the show not being recorded. A chunk of the original score was definitely worth keeping, in particular the haunting, extended duet sequences for Carrie and her mother Margaret, as noted by many. With the off-Broadway "revisal" staging, 1/3 of the score was discarded, new songs were composed and the rest were reframed and/or provided mostly sharp new lyrics, CARRIE was born anew in the winter of 2012. The production was simple but highly imaginative, with memorable performances. This recording is a beautifully tended-to preservation of the elements that worked best in the re-minted show. What's most notable: the score is now of a piece, not two musicals at stylistic war with one another (the mother-daughter material, which was quasi-operatic, vs. the hoary teen BIRDIE/GREASE sensibilities, now mostly toned down via a simplified pop idiom.) Now, due to deft arrangements and re-imaginings (the choral interlude on "Open Your Heart" to suggest a religious radio broadcast the best example), the numbers all feel as if they belong in the same piece of musical theater, and make a persuasive case for a musical re-telling of Stephen King's novella. The full, surprisingly rich and varied score is here, over 20 songs, all performed with palpable emotional investment and a painstaking attention to character, an oddly reality-based style considering that this show features telekinesis-based revenge in the near destruction of a town by a distraught teen's mind. Real world concerns of adolescence and bullying aren't the first thing that one contemplates with CARRIE, admittedly a horror story; yet the case is made, and made well. If the show is (still) a bit too ballad-heavy, and Carrie lacks a strong second act solo ("Why Not Me," dressing for the prom, is the one misfire among the new songs; tedious and emotionally flat in the theater, it is alas, the same on the recording, a minor quibble), the singing is uniformly quite wonderful, and Marin Mazzie's Margaret White is absolutely stunning, reason alone to purchase this CD. To those who never saw the show and only know of its camp-related infamy, this album proves what many die-hards always knew: musicalizing this tale was daring and audacious, and now, finally, almost all of it works handily. Watch for multiple productions in the next two years, the album a strong reason why the show's future remains bright.