By Alison Tingley
Carrie: The Musical is now playing at the Erie Playhouse. That’s right, I said musical. With book by Lawrence D. Cohen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Michael Gore, Stephen King’s 1974 novel comes to life of the stage. The show opened on Broadway in 1988 and closed quickly. Carrie was also made into a movie in 1976 starring Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, William Katt (yes, the Greatest American Hero), John Travolta, and Nancy Allen.
Carrie White’s story is that of a bullied high school girl in Chamberlain, Maine. The other girls, led by Chris Hargensen, mock her relentlessly. The boys aren’t much better. Carrie’s home life is also quite miserable. Her mother uses religion to oppress Carrie and stifle any happiness she might be able to find. Carrie’s only friend is Miss Gardner, the gym teacher. Carrie dismisses Sue Snell’s attempt to befriend her. Sue convinces her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to take Carrie to the prom instead of her. Upon hearing this news, Chris and co-conspirator Billy Nolan plan a prom prank to humiliate Carrie. What they don’t realize is that Carrie has discovered she has telekinetic powers up her puffy, pink prom sleeve. All the ingredients are there to create the worst prom EVER.
Directed by Richard Davis, the Erie Playhouse production of Carrie stars Emily Tworek (Carrie White), Katie Conti (Sue Snell), Blake Bojewski (Tommy Ross), Chelcie Gette (Chris Hargensen), and Gretchen Kerr (Margaret White). It also features Elias Kerr (Billy Nolan) and Diane Hardner (Miss Gardner). Additional characters are played by Nicole Rosenbayger, Vaughn Butler, Payton Tevis, Laura Hardner, Jack Rys, Luke Weyand, Alex Storer, Austin Kulyk, and Ed Moss.
Tworek plays extreme teenage angst with emotion you would expect from a more seasoned actor. She makes you really feel sorry for her. Conti also performs convincingly as a teenager trying to make amends. Both of these young women also sing quite well. Gette plays her role with such bitchiness (that’s a good thing) that I kind of didn’t want to run into her after the show. Bojewski also gives a great performance with excellent singing. He has some very nice harmony with Tworek and Conti. Gretchen Kerr gives a very strong performance full of emotion. Her singing conveys that same emotion and strength. She is excellent as an overbearing, crazy-ass mother. Hardner also plays her role quite well.
The set and special effects are well done. The music, under the direction of Andrew Rainbow, is performed very well. The costumes are perfect for the setting. The direction is great.
Carrie: The Musical runs through October 27. For more information and tickets call the Erie Playhouse box office at 814-454-2852 or go online to www.erieplayhouse.org.