Carrie is to have a private reading in Nov - could a re-worked script see the musical revived

Variety reports that producer Jeffrey Seller ('West Side Story,' 'In the Heights') is to present a private reading of the musical Carrie, based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, in Manhattan on 20 Nov 2009.

The reading will be directed by Stafford Arima. Casting for the reading is now underway.

Carrie, with music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford and book by Lawrence D. Cohen, had its world premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Comany's home in Stratford Upon Avon in 1988 and opened to negative reviews.

The RSC production, directed by Terry Hands and choreographed by Debbie Allen, starred Barbara Cook as Carrie's mother, 'Margaret White' and Linzi Hateley as 'Carrie.'

Cook threatened to immediately withdraw from the RSC production after the musical's opening night performance following an incident with a piece of stage scenary in which she narrowly avoided a major injury - some say a possible fatal one. Cook finally agreed to stay until a replacement could be found.

Carrie transferred to Broadway's Virginia Theatre (now called the August Wilson Theatre) in the Spring of 1988, starring the original principal London cast, with the exception of Betty Buckley who replaced Barbara Cook as 'Carrie's mother.'

The Broadway premiere played only 16 previews and five regular performances before closing after receiving some of the worst reviews in Broadway history.

The critics called the production a "musical wreck" (New York Times); "disgusting" (New York Daily News); "stupefyingly dull" (Star-Ledger).

Carrie focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother. When she is humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she wreaks havoc on everyone and everything in her path.

Variety reports that the musical's original creative team are re-working the material in the hope of ironing out some of the show's problems.

There are no production plans for Carrie, and it is far to early to predict if the musical will have a Broadway revival.

Originally published on

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