Out of the Box Gets Bloody with ‘Carrie’ Musical

Julia Kupiec as Carrie White in the musical, "Carrie." Peter Bertling photo
Julia Kupiec as Carrie White in the musical, “Carrie.”
Peter Bertling photo

While a new version of the blood-soaked prom queen, “Carrie” blows up the box office this Halloween season, Out of the Box Theatre Company has brought their own production of Stephen King’s classic horror tale to the stage. Yet, “Carrie: The Musical” is not new. Instead, it’s a story of growing pains.

A dozen years after Brian De Palma’s film, the Royal Shakespeare Company workshopped a musical version, but it was beset by tech problems, and the 1988 Broadway production closed after five performances. It was the definition of a flop. Or so everyone thought. Remade as an off-Broadway musical without the special effects and with fewer characters, the revivals began to happen, first illegally, with companies performing without the rights. Then a proper, 2012 revival occurred with new songs from the writers. “Carrie” had risen from the grave.

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Let the Sunshine In: Out of the Box scores big with its adaptation of ‘Hair’

As the flower children saunter onstage and take their places on the crazy quilt of blankets, the band strikes up the opening bars of “Aquarius.” Suddenly, the question arises: Is this the right time to be celebrating the Woodstock generation? With such a grim economy outside, the cheery and hopeful up-with-people overture of this now-classic musical seems less like a balm for our ills and more like a poke in the eye from the past.

But last Saturday night at Center Stage Theater, Out of the Box Theatre Company managed to pull off this revival without sinking into irony, and it did so with talent, vitality and some self-deprecating humor.

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