While months removed from Halloween and all things scary, the Rowan Department of Theatre and Dance’s “Season of Horror” will be reaching its conclusion at the start of April with its production of “Carrie: The Musical.”
Directed by Christopher Roche, this adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel follows the story of Carrie White, who coupled with her fanatically religious mother, a bucket of pig’s blood and her telekinetic powers, leaves horror and havoc in her wake.
“Carrie: The Musical” was first adapted to the stage in 1988, but it has been regarded as one of the biggest Broadway flops of all time.
Roche however, is not deterred by these negative reviews.
“There’s something creepy about that story. It’s interesting when a piece doesn’t make a lot of money, people are afraid to take it out of the archive to do it. That’s just not me,” Roche said, determined to exceed expectations with their production.
“I loved it when I saw it,” Roche added, having seen a production in Manhattan years ago that piqued his interest in the show. “The things that are interesting to me about it are that it’s about bullying, it’s about fanatical religiosity and then of course it’s about telekinesis… And of course all the blood.”
Roche was referring to the climactic scene in which Carrie is doused with pig’s blood by her classmates at prom, but junior musical theatre major Meagen Cutting, who plays the titular role, offers some more insight.
“As an artist, I’ve always wanted to play the title role and never have, so that alone is super cool. I just love the creative process of playing such a gritty, grounded, misunderstood girl who is faced with such a s***y life – to be frank.”
Cutting takes into account a lot of influences that shaped her portrayal of Carrie. Citing Alice Ripley, who played the original Diana in the rock musical “Next to Normal,” she praised the simple advice to playing conflicted characters that Ripley offered and that’s simply, “Protect yourself.”
“I was so excited to play this role because Carrie really is relatable to everyone – everyone has, or has had, a Carrie inside of them, and I think that’s what makes this show so important,” she said.
While a character with telekinetic powers who is subjected to physical and psychological abuse and eventually lashes out against her tormentors isn’t the most applicable to everyday life, Cutting still hopes the audience learns something from their performance.
“What I personally would like the audience to take away from the piece is a message that I think many others in the cast would agree with as well,” Cutting said. “And that is that kindness has a power that many of us underestimate – and as the character Sue states in the show, ‘What does it cost to be kind?'”
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