On May 4, Majestic Repertory Theatre debuted its take on Carrie the Musical, its last production in an otherwise strong inaugural season. The company’s first show, Little Shop of Horrors, fared pretty well with audiences, offering relatable characters and, most importantly, strong comedic performances. The same cannot be said for Carrie, which some have speculated is the “worst musical of all time.”
For Majestic Repertory to stage any musical is already a risk. To stage Carrie—why? It seems inappropriate for the company’s cast and size, as well as its audio and space limitations—all important components to what makes musicals musicals. The limits of the small theater didn’t allow the choreography to ensnare the audience. Also, the overlaid audio was fuzzy and not strong enough to support the cast’s spotty vocals in the opener—and that didn’t let up as the play went on.
The young cast members (most looked high school- or college-age) did bring energy to dance numbers that were innovative in their choreography and use of props, but their youthful zeal would have done better had it been more subdued. The script itself seems to have lost impact in its translation from novel to script (book writer Lawrence D. Cohen adapted the musical from the original Stephen King novel). In terms of connecting with the audience, comedy was lacking—“homo” comments interjected by a gay high schooler character were the only comedic relief.
Fans of Stephen King and/or musicals might be disappointed with this iteration. But, as the horrors of adolescence and being misunderstood are abundant in this production, Majestic Repertory does execute the spirit of Carrie and celebrates its cultural reach.
Carrie the Musical
May 4–28, times vary, $27, Majestic Repertory Theatre, Alios, 1217 S. Main St. majesticrepertory.com