The legendary Broadway musical adaptation of Stephen King's novel Carrie is being dusted off and bloodied up for an Off-Broadway revival, the first of its kind since the show closed three days after it opened in 1988. The new version will feature new songs and material, under the direction of Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz). Produced by MCC Theater, the show is expected to open next year, and to tide you over, here's what one TV critic had to say about the infamous flop in 1988:
In case you can't watch that little flashback to Reagan/Bush era infotainment, here are the high points: "They look like gang membas from outa space! The set is white formica and looks like a hospital kitchen. Worst of all is the abysmal score: a mix of sound-alike solos and abysmal rock numbers. They must have been under a curse when they wrote this one. I kind of kept hoping Kujo, the mad dog from another Stephen King book, would descend upon the stage and put all of us out of our misery... The special effects here are straight from Woolworth's."
Frank Rich, who was the Times theater critic back then, had fun eviscerating Carrie, too. "Those who have the time and money to waste on only one Anglo-American musical wreck on Broadway this year might well choose Carrie," Rich wrote. "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... Were the rest of the evening as consistent in its uninhibited tastelessness, Carrie would be a camp masterpiece—a big-budget excursion into the Theater of the Ridiculous."
Something tells us this is exactly the route they'll take with the revival, and it'll do just fine at the Lucille Lortel Theater, located in that epicenter of camp, the West Village. Or maybe not? Arima sounds pretty earnest, explaining in a press release, "As our society finally begins to take a serious look at the intense stressors placed upon teenagers and the often tragic consequences of bullying and social ostracism within our schools, the message of Carrie has only become more timely and resonant."
Below, a rare scene from the 1988 production, and a vintage commercial for the debacle: