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April 20, 2010

They're All Gonna Laugh At You...ON BROADWAY!

While I was toiling away at my midday haunt (a.k.a. - "work") today, I came across a copy of Stephen King's famed novel Carrie...with a rather odd exclamation above the title that reminded me of something I once heard the great Joe Bob Briggs talk about on MonsterVision.That's right boys and ghouls...circa 1984, someone out there thought it would be a good idea to turn the coming-of-age-puberty-meets-religion-horror-tale into a full-fledged MUSICAL. How does that work? I'm glad you asked, because I've done a little research.

In the mid-'80s, Lawrence Cohen, who wrote the film adaptation, and the horrorly-named Michael Gore (Note to self: cross that one off of my alias list!) came up with the idea of producing a musical based on King's novel. I'm assuming they got permission somehow, but really...who thought this was a good idea? The writers themselves apparently didn't, as another writer was brought on later, and the production was said to go through "numerous rewrites" even before it made it to Broadway.

When the play did get there, it went through a 4-week preview run, in which numerous songs were added and removed from the production. At the end of that, the actress portraying Carrie's fervent mother was replaced by Betty Buckley...who had played Miss Collins in the 1976 film.

The show made its official Broadway debut, with Buckley and Linzi Hately as the leads, on May 12, 1988. At this point, about 8 MILLION DOLLARS had been put into the production, a pretty large sum for a) Broadway and b) the late '80s. There were some mixed reviews in previews, but things went sour quickly after the official opening, thanks to bad reviews and continuing problems like the fact that pouring fake blood on someone who's supposed to be singing into a microphone kinda messes up the process. How quickly did things go sour? The show lost its backing and closed on May 15, 1988. I'm not a crack mathematician, but that makes it seem like the show only played for FOUR DAYS.

In later years, there have been revivals of the play, off Broadway, of course. Today, there's even a Facebook Page devoted to it! (OMG!) Still, I have a feeling that there aren't many books being printed with the above caption today.

But really, why am I still talking about this? I haven't seen the play, and I don't even know if they managed to turn "I can see your dirty pillows!" into a lyric. Thank golly for YouTube, my dear readers!

So.....that happened. *blink*


Indiephantom said...

I really really wanted to see this back in 1988, but the damn thing was pulled before my family and I next visited the Big Apple. I know the soung about "doing a jig/going to kill a pig" was supposed to be pretty amusing. Maybe I'll have to explore more on YouTube myself. The DVD extra about this show was pretty weak.

Jinx said...

I read about this recently too. Funniest thing ever! I have a thing for incongruous musicals. They very much amuse me. I was obssessed with 'Ed Gein the Musical' for ages after misreading a dvd box once. Although I was informed recently that that too is being made. Thanks for cheering my dull work day up with this.

deadlydolls said...

Years ago, I downloaded a recording of the this musical and yes, it's just bizarrely terrible. There is actually a well regarded book out there called Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Musical Flops, and as you can guess, it uses this one to highlight awful things on Broadway.

SUPPOSEDLY there's a revival coming along to NY, and you can bet I'll be there immediately before it closes in a week. I find it hard to believe Broadway would revive such a chancy musical in this economic climate (nothing but the sure bets are doing well there right now) but I remain hopeful.

DRProduction said...

Ed Gein: The Musical was indeed made...