Home > Vulture News > Oh, The Horror! ‘Carrie’ To Return To Broadway After 22 Years

Oh, The Horror! ‘Carrie’ To Return To Broadway After 22 Years

When a Broadway musical version of Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel, opened in 1988, after 7 years in the making, it received unanimously terrible reviews. The producers, who had hired talent like Hollywood choreographer Debbie Allen and Tony Award winner Betty Buckley, who played Carrie’s Mom (and had played the gym teacher in Brian De Palma‘s 1976 movie) lost over $7 million when it closed after only five public performances. On May 13, 1988, after attending the opening night premiere, Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times:

Carrie expires with fireworks like the Hindenberg. True, the fireworks aren’t the greatest; the intended Stephen King pyrotechnics wouldn’t frighten the mai-tai drinkers at a Polynesian restaurant. But when was the last time you saw a Broadway song and dance about the slaughtering of a pig? They’ve got one to open Act II of Carrie, and no expense has been spared in bringing the audience some of the loudest oinking this side of Old McDonald’s Farm.

The show may have been unfairly maligned by the press. After viewing the same opening night performance as Rich, Stephen King told a New York Times reporter:

I liked it a lot. In fact, I liked it for most of the reasons that Frank Rich did not. He and I saw the same show. We just drew different conclusions from different perspectives

Carrie has attracted a growing cult of admirers in the years since it abruptly closed on Broadway. Among the admirers are Robert LuPone and Bernard Telsey, the co-artistic directors at the MCC, located in New York City, who have announced that a revamped version of the show will open the 2011-2012 season. The show will be performed at the Lucille Lortel Theater. Telsey told Playbill.com that he is not worried how the show will be received. He said:

Certainly we’re not intimidated by the Broadway blockbuster flop status. By opening Off Broadway, in a smaller and far different production, I think Carrie would receive a fair, fresh look that had nothing to do with its legend.

Posted below is a TV ad for the 1988 production and a local news review of the show.


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