Review: Carrie: The Musical at City Theatre

Showtimes: Friday 7:30pm, Saturday 2pm & 7:30pm, Sunday 2pm; Through 5/19; $10-$18; City Theatre, Sacramento City College Performing Arts Center, 3835 Freeport Blvd.; (916) 558-2228;
Rated 3.0

Carrie: The Musical, playing through this weekend at City College’s Art Court Theatre, is a bloody mess. That’s not entirely bad. What would a Stephen King-inspired high school prom be without a couple of buckets of pig’s blood?

In that aspect, director Christine Nicholson and her young performers really get it right. Other times, there are missteps. It’s the play itself that has problems.

The musical is adapted from the 1978 movie and the original 1974 Stephen King horror novel about a telekinetic young woman (Carrie, played by Gillian Rains) who is an outcast at school because she’s “weird” and a virtual prisoner at home because her fanatically religious mother (Allison Bento-Murphy) tries to “protect” her from the real world. When Carrie is bullied past her limit, all hell breaks loose.

The play closed after only five Broadway performances in 1988, but the artistic team of Lawrence D. Cohen (book), and Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford (music and lyrics, respectively) have continued to tinker with it.

It’s still not that good. The songs never became popular enough to be known to an audience, and the titles aren’t listed in the program. The words need to be—but aren’t—delivered with strong volume and enunciation. The music— which is pretty good—is loud, as it should be, but singers often struggle to rise above it.