Chamberlain, Maine. The Present.
Sue Snell, haunted witness and tour guide to our story, struggles to
recount the incidents leading up the tragic night of May 28. As she’s
questioned about the past, figures from her life in high school appear.
Whatever their differences – be they good girl Sue; her varsity-athlete
boyfriend Tommy Ross; her spoiled-rotten best friend Chris Hargensen;
Chris’s trouble-maker boyfriend Billy Nolan; or perennial misfit Carrie
White – they are all wrestling with the same insecurities and united in
their desire to belong (“In”).
After gym class, Carrie experiences her first period in the shower. Her
terrified screams for help and seeming ignorance about what’s happening
to her amuse and inflame the girls. With Chris as ringleader, Sue and
the others encircle Carrie, gleefully chanting names and savagely
taunting her. As gym teacher Miss Gardner races in at the height of
Carrie’s hysteria, an overhead light bulb inexplicably explodes. When
the girls are reprimanded, they dismissively rationalize, “It’s just
Carrie,” the butt of their jokes since childhood.
Miss Gardner and guidance counselor/English teacher Mr. Stephens send
Carrie home for the rest of the day. But even as she leaves, her peers’
hurtful insults and name-calling ricochet in Carrie’s mind until she
cracks in fury (“Carrie”).
Tommy and his pals discuss the upcoming senior prom as Billy roars in on
his skateboard, clowning around. As Carrie passes by, he jeeringly
ridicules her. But when she turns a furious glance in his direction, he
goes sprawling. Angry and embarrassed, Billy tries to blame his seeming
clumsiness on Carrie (“She tripped me!”), but the other guys just laugh.
At the White bungalow, Carrie’s mother Margaret works at her sewing
machine and sings along to her favorite evangelical radio program (“Open
Your Heart”). When the still-troubled Carrie arrives, she reluctantly
joins her in a duet.
Carrie summons the courage to tell her mother about the day’s traumatic
event. The realization that her child is now a woman throws Margaret
into a God-fearing panic. “Pray or He will burn you!” she commands, but
when Carrie resists, Margaret locks her in a closet to beg for
repentance (“And Eve Was Weak”).
With her parents out of town, Chris throws a party at which she regales
the kids with the “hilarious” details of the episode with Carrie in the
shower. When Sue protests that it wasn’t funny, Chris perversely
instructs her in the natural order of things (“The World According To
Chris”). Upset by Chris’s toxic message, Sue turns her back on her best
friend and leaves with Tommy.
Back at the White home, Carrie is still locked in her prayer closet
surrounded by religious icons. Margaret, meanwhile, pleads for her own
divine guidance. As Carrie puzzles over this new sensation she’s been
feeling (“There’s a movement in my head/Saints and angels, what can it
be?”), she grows more agitated. Suddenly, a little figurine of Jesus
levitates, leaving Carrie to wonder if this strange power might possibly
be coming from within her. Margaret releases her from the closet and
tearfully apologizes for her actions, prompting Carrie to beg for
forgiveness as well. The two find solace in each other’s goodnight
embrace (“Evening Prayers”).
In English class, Mr. Stephens praises a poem Tommy has written, and has
him recite his work (“Dreamer In Disguise”). When the teacher asks the
unruly students for reactions, Carrie volunteers. “Beautiful. Just
beautiful.” Her heartfelt emotion only provokes the other kids’ mockery.
After class, Sue – acting on Tommy’s advice – tries to apologize to
Carrie, but, thinking it’s another trick, Carrie explodes at her and
storms off. Shaken and shocked into awareness, Sue muses on their
encounter (“Once You See”).
Miss Gardner rebukes the girls for their reckless mistreatment of Carrie
and demands that they apologize to her – or else. They all do, except
for Chris, who instead hurls a vicious invective at Carrie. “That’s it,
Chris!” announces Miss Gardner. “You’re out of the prom!” Frantic, Chris
tries to rally the girls to join her in defying their teacher, until
Sue shouts, “Shut up, Chris! Not everything is about you!” Battle lines
are drawn; the best friends are now enemies.
When Miss Gardner apologizes to the sobbing Carrie for what just
happened, Carrie surprises her by insisting she’s got to let Chris go to
prom. Carrie points out that for girls like Chris, prom “is like a
dream… a perfect dream.” But when pressed, she admits that she herself
is not going. “I’m different. I’m not pretty.” Moved by Carrie’s lack of
self-esteem and her need for support, Miss Gardner assures her that
things can change (“Unsuspecting Hearts”).
Determined to do right by Carrie, Sue asks Tommy for help with a plan
she’s devised. Similarly, Chris, blaming Carrie for her humiliation,
interrupts a make-out session with Billy to get his help in her plot for
revenge (“Do Me A Favor”).
Alone in the library stacks, Carrie reads from a book. “Telekinesis: the
ability to move objects by sheer force of the mind alone.”
Concentrating intensely, she succeeds in moving chairs across the room
without touching them, startling herself with this newfound power. In
retrospect, the exploding light bulb in the shower and Billy’s tumble
from his skateboard start to make sense.
Nervous, but honoring Sue’s request, Tommy arrives at Carrie’s front
door and asks her to prom. Wary that it’s a trick, she repeatedly
refuses, until Margaret calls her in to dinner. Worried that her mother
will find her with Tommy, Carrie hurriedly accepts the offer to be his
date. As he leaves, she calls out a joyous “thank you” as it begins to
While the storm outside intensifies, Carrie excitedly tells Margaret of
her prom invitation, triggering Margaret’s own tortured reverie (“I
Remember How Those Boys Could Dance”). When she orders Carrie to tell
Tommy she can’t go, they battle, and as rain starts to blow in, Margaret
walks away to close the windows. “I’ll get them!” Carrie shouts and
uses her mind to slam them shut. Horrified by this display of power that
she’s certain is the work of the devil, Margaret cowers in fear as
Carrie calmly finishes her dessert.
Preparations for prom and the news that Tommy’s bringing Carrie
preoccupy everyone at school, including Chris and Billy, who sneak into
the gymnasium with a bucket of pig’s blood and set their own nasty prank
in place (“A Night We’ll Never Forget”).
Miss Gardner, suspicious of Sue’s motives in having Tommy invite Carrie,
warns them both that if they hurt Carrie in any way, they’ll have to
answer to her. Sue worries that Tommy is mad at her too, but he insists
he’s merely disappointed. “I wanted to take my girl to prom.” To make up
for the event they’re going to miss, he takes her into the
half-decorated gym to share a private romantic moment (“You Shine”).
It’s finally prom night. The kids are electric with nervous excitement,
and Carrie, no less anxious, resolves to make the most of the evening
(“Why Not Me?”).
Frantic with worry, Margaret tries to undermine Carrie’s confidence
(“Stay Here Instead”). Just then, Tommy arrives, and Carrie, looking
ravishing in the gown she’s made herself, departs with him. Alone,
Margaret struggles with fundamentalist scriptures: “Did not God himself
command Abraham to take his son Isaac upon the mountain and sacrifice
him? She must be sacrificed. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Her
duty – however horrific and tragic – is clear (“When There’s No One”).
At the gym, the psyched kids show off their prom finery and pose for
yearbook photos. Tommy arrives with Carrie, and the crowd’s reaction to
her stunning transformation turns from initially hostile to unexpectedly
welcoming (“Prom Arrival”).
Miss Gardner, surprised and delighted by Carrie’s new self-assurance,
shares her own recollection of prom, and teacher and student trade notes
on this timeless high school ritual (“Unsuspecting Hearts” Reprise).
After much coaxing, Tommy leads Carrie onto the dance floor, where
they’re observed – first by a delighted Sue, then by Helen and Chris’s
partner in crime, Norma (“Dreamer In Disguise” Reprise).
Chris and Billy, hidden in the rafters above, prepare to unleash their
prank, as Sue comes upon Norma switching real prom ballots for fake ones
Votes tabulated, Mr. Stephens and Miss Gardner announce Tommy and Carrie
as Prom King and Queen. While the assembled salute them with the school
song (“Alma Mater”), Sue spots the bucket dangling above the coronation
area. Frantic, she tries to warn Miss Gardner, but the teacher, who’s
been wary of Sue’s motives in forgoing her prom in favor of Carrie,
pushes her out of the gym.
Chris cues Billy, who yanks the bucket and drenches Carrie in blood. As
the prom-goers’ stunned silence turns to derisive laughter, her
unimaginable humiliation turns to fury –
and then madness. Lashing out with her power, Carrie exacts a terrible
revenge on friend and foe alike (“The Destruction”).
Powerless, Sue watches as her classmates all perish. She alone survives.
As emergency whistles sound and sirens wail, Sue follows the path of
destruction that leads through the streets to Carrie’s house.
Carrie arrives home in her bloody prom dress and finds momentary solace
in her mother’s arms (“Carrie” Reprise). Just as Carrie is lulled into a
sense of safety, Margaret – fulfilling what she believes to be her
biblical duty – plunges a knife into her daughter. Wounded and trying to
defend herself from further assault, Carrie uses her powers to stop her
Sue stumbles into this horrific scene and, hearing Carrie’s anguished
cries, rushes to her side to comfort her. But she’s too late. As Carrie
dies in her arms, the figures from Sue’s memory provide a final,
haunting testimony of redemption (“Epilogue”).