Carrie: The Musical


Carrie: The Musical

Full-Length Musical, Drama  /  8w, 6m plus ensemble

Music by Michael Gore
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the novel by Stephen King

Carrie White is a teenage outcast who longs to fit in. At school, she’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she’s dominated by her loving but cruelly controlling mother. What none of them know is that Carrie’s just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it.

Image: 2012 MCC Theater Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    8w, 6m plus ensemble
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Stage & Screen), Mystery/Thriller
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
  • Winner! 1988 Theatre World Award for Best Broadway Debut (Linzi Hateley)
    Nominee: 1988 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Betty Buckley)
    Winner! 2012 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Musical Revival
    Nominee: Five 2012 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Revival of a Musical
    Nominee: 2012 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Revival of a Musical, Broadway or Off-Broadway
    Nominee: Two 2012 Lucille Lortel Awards
    Nominee: Two 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards, including Best Production of a Musical
    Nominee: Seven 2013 Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards (Ray of Light Theatre)
    Winner! 2015 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical (Barbara Walsh at Studio 2nd Stage Theatre, Washington)
    Winner! 2015 L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, Best Actress in a Musical (Emily Lopez, La Mirada Theatre)
    Nominee: Five 2015 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, including Best Production of a Musical (La Mirada Theatre for Performing Arts)
    Winner! 2016 WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off-West End Production (Southwark Playhouse)
    Winner! 2018 Matilda Award for Best Musical (Brisbane Powerhouse)
    Nominee: Two 2018 Sydney Theatre Awards, including Best Musical (Depot Theatre)
    Winner! 2019 BroadwayWorld Award for Best Musical, Small Format (Eleven O’Clock Theatre in Barcelona, Spain)
    Nominee: Four 2019 Lyrebird Awards (Lumina Theatre Company in Melbourne)
    Nominee: 14 BroadwayWorld Regional Theatre Awards
Carrie: The Musical



Carrie White is a teenage outcast who longs to fit in. At school, she’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she’s dominated by her loving but cruelly controlling mother. What none of them know is that Carrie’s just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it.

Set in the present in the small New England town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie: The Musical features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the classic film), music by Academy Award winner Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment), and lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose).


Stephen King’s blockbuster 1974 debut novel Carrie sold over a million copies in its first year of publication. The classic 1976 film adaptation, directed by Brian De Palma, became a critical and box office smash, and earned two Academy Award nominations – for Sissy Spacek as Carrie and Piper Laurie as Margaret White. First presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the original musical adaptation of Carrie premiered in Stratford-Upon-Avon in England for a limited run in February 1988. Transferring to Broadway, it opened at the Virginia Theater on 12 May 1988 starring Betty Buckley, Linzi Hateley, Sally Ann Triplett, Paul Gyngell, Gene Anthony Ray, Charlotte d’Amboise and Darlene Love. Fiercely polarizing audiences and proving wildly divisive with critics, the show famously closed after only 16 previews and 5 performances.

Though the production did not run long enough to generate a Broadway cast recording, bootlegged audio and video tapes from the production started to appear online. They attracted so much interest and demand that the authors decided to revisit the piece 24 years later.

On 1 March 2012, their revamped version of Carrie: The Musical opened off-Broadway, presented by MCC at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, starring Marin Mazzie and Molly Ranson. Featuring an updated script and new songs in a smaller-scaled production, the show received multiple award nominations, and was named Best Off-Broadway Musical by the Off-Broadway Alliance. A live performance was filmed by the New York Public Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archives, and Sh-K-Boom Records released the Premiere Cast Recording.

With a stronger and more resonant focus on high school bullying and social isolation, this resurrected version went on to successful productions across North America and in locations around the world, including London, Manila, Spain, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

On 18 April 2018, the hit CW high school television series Riverdale featured a special musical episode centered around Carrie: The Musical. It was a huge hit with critics and viewers alike, and YouTube videos of its songs now exceed 20 million hits.

Act I

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 rain.

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.

Act II

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 (“Prom Climax”).

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 mother’s heart.

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”).

Principals (5f, 2m)

CARRIE WHITE – A painfully shy outsider who, in spite of her best efforts to belong, has been the victim of her classmates' cruel jokes since childhood, as well as her mother's strict, biblically-oriented control at home. She transforms from ugly duckling into graceful – and then vengeful – swan. Vocally, she must be capable of lyrical sweetness as well as fierce power.
MARGARET WHITE – A woman of cisceral extremes, she balances her fervent religious convictions with equally sincere true-believer spirituality and tender, maternal love for Carrie. Like Carrie, with whom she shares several duets, her voice must range fromexpressive and melodic to ferocious and frightening.

SUE SNELL – A straight-A student who's been popular her entire life, she's remarkably level headed for her age. Her unthinking participation in a cruel act of bullying causes a crisis of conscience that leads her on a journey to try to right things. Vocally, she has a pop ballad voice that delivers sweet sincerity and strength.
TOMMY ROSS – Popular star athlete, valedictorian, and all around stand-out, he's the boy that all the girls want to be with, and all the boys want to be. Yet he also has unexpected, quirky sensitivity and is just starting to mine his personal life and feelings – a budding poet. His voice should have an effortless pop quality.
CHRIS HARGENSEN – Rich, spoiled-rotten, and wickedly funny, Chris is a popular beauty whose arrogant self-assurance makes her believe that the rules don't apply to her. Loaded with sexual dynamite, she has serious daddy issues and anger-management issues. Her voice is pop-rock percussive and powerful.
BILLY NOLAN – Now in his sixth year in high school, Billy's a sexy, stupid-like-a-fox bad boy whose wise mouth troublemaking has led him to spend more time in detention than in class. All these qualities make it easy for his girlfriend Chris to manipulate him to do her bidding. His voice is that of a wailing rocker.
MISS LYNN GARDNER – Mid-30s, this girls' P.E. teacher can be a strict disciplinarian if necessary, but when Carrie arouses her maternal instinct, she surprises herself by also revealing a protective "fairy godmother" side. Her voice is warm and strong, just like the woman.

Ensemble Roles (3f, 4m)

MR. STEPHENS – Late-30s, this well-intentioned English teacher and guidance counselor struggles to help his students realize their potential. A dedicated educator, he's stretched thin in his duties, woefully underpaid, and a bit overwhelmed as to how to handle the Billy Nolans of the classroom combat zone.
REVEREND BLISS – can be played by the same actor as Mr. Stephens
SUE'S INTERROGATORS – Voices Only: 1f, 1m

FRIEDA – Sue's brainy pal, she's an easy-going, get-along follower and a tireless extracurricular committee volunteer.
NORMA – Bitchy, gossipy and a shameless suck-up to authority, Norma is second-in-command to Chris' queen bee.
HELEN – Giggly and easily shocked, her immaturity and need to belong make her the perfect example of the herd mentality.
GEORGE – Tommy's jock wingman since childhood, George idolizes him. Perhaps a little too much...
STOKES – A bit of a nerd, he's happy to be included as one of Tommy's posse.
FREDDY – The wise-cracking class clown and official yearbook photographer, he can't believe any girl would ever give him the time of day.
+ OTHER KIDS (for casts larger than 14)

The Broadway production featured a cast of 27 performers. The off-Broadway production was re-scaled for a cast of 14, which is the minimum cast size requred to perform Carrie: The Musical

  • Time Period Present Day
  • Setting The small New England town of Chamberlain, Maine. The present.
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Additional Features Special Effects
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


“A strong, effective and remarkably coherent piece of terrific total theatre.” – Clive Barnes, The New York Post

Carrie has become a cultural touchstone in this country. It’s the great cautionary horror story of high school cruelty.” – Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“An intensely emotional show... Carrie: The Musical tells the story of what happens when high school bullying goes horribly wrong.” – Johnna Leary, DC Metro Theatre Arts

“Forget the previous Carrie the Musical... this production has been reborn... musically speaking, there is lots to enjoy here, particularly those scenes featuring Carrie’s mother Margaret.” – Rebecca Hawkes, The Telegraph

“The most shocking thing about it is how well it works... Welcome to the prom, Carrie. They’re not going to laugh at you now.” – Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

“Compellingly written and overpoweringly performed... the scenes between Carrie and her mother crackle with longing... The conflict between the girl’s aching to be normal and the mother’s fear that she will go astray aspires to metaphysical tragedy.” – William A. Henry III, Time

Carrie is edge-of-your-seat all-out entertainment.” – Larry S. Ledford, The Monitor

“An incredible theatrical experience... Everything about it works... [An] extremely hard-hitting, emotional rollercoaster of a show. This reviewer admits he had tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat at the end of this brilliant production. This is a piece of raw emotional musical theatre rarely seen in amateur theatre.” – Brian Godfrey, Glam Adelaide (Australia)


Durango High School Theater Returns to the Stage with Carrie
The Durango Herald, April 29, 2021

Read more about Carrie: The Musical in Out for Blood: A Cultural History of Carrie the Musical (Winner of the 2024 STR Theatre Book Prize!)


  • Carrie: The Musical - Southwark Playhouse Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Carrie: The Musical - Southwark Playhouse Trailer

  • "In" from Riverdale's "Carrie: The Musical" episode   youtube thumbnail

    "In" from Riverdale's "Carrie: The Musical" episode

  • Making-of Featurette: Carrie the Musical Premiere Cast Recording youtube thumbnail

    Making-of Featurette: Carrie the Musical Premiere Cast Recording

  • Carrie: The Musical - HartHouse Theatre Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Carrie: The Musical - HartHouse Theatre Trailer


  • Carrie: The Musical

    Image: 2012 MCC Theater Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Carrie: The Musical

    Image: 2012 MCC Theater Production (Joan Marcus)


Music Samples

Act I

1. “In” – Students
2. Shower Aftermath (Underscore) – Orchestra
3. “Carrie” – Carrie
4. “Open Your Heart” – Reverend Bliss, Margaret, Carrie & Choir
5. “And Eve Was Weak” – Margaret & Carrie
6. “The World According To Chris” – Chris, Billy, Sue, Tommy & Students
7. “Evening Prayers” – Carrie & Margaret
8. “Dreamer In Disguise” – Tommy
9. “Once You See” – Sue
10. “Unsuspecting Hearts” – Miss Gardner & Carrie
10A. Tommy’s Future (Underscore) – Orchestra
11. “Do Me A Favor” – Sue, Chris, Tommy, Billy & Students
12. Telekenesis (Underscore) – Orchestra
12A. The Invitation (Underscore) – Orchestra
12B. Thank You (Underscore) – Orchestra
13. Act I Finale: “I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance” – Carrie & Margaret

Act II

14. Entr’acte – Orchestra
15. “A Night We'll Never Forget” – Carrie, Chris, Billy, Sue & Students
15A. I’m Just Disappointed (Underscore) – Orchestra
16. “You Shine” – Tommy & Sue
17. “Why Not Me?” – Carrie
18. “Stay Here Instead” – Margaret & Carrie
18A. Transformation (Underscore) - Orchestra
19. “When There's No One” – Margaret
20. “Prom Arrival” – Helen, Frieda, Norma, Freddy, George & Stokes
20A. I Remember My Prom (Underscore) – Orchestra
21. “Unsuspecting Hearts (Reprise)” – Carrie & Miss Gardner
21A. Home By Twelve (Underscore) – Orchestra
22. “Dreamer in Disguise (Reprise)” – Tommy, Carrie, Kids & Teachers
23. “Chris And Billy Prom” – Chris, Billy, Frieda, Helen, Stokes, George & Freddy
24. “Prom Climax” – Carrie, Tommy, Chris, Billy, Kids & Teachers
25. “Alma Mater” – Students & Teachers
26. “The Destruction (Part 1)” – Carrie & Ensemble
27. The Destruction (Part 2) – Orchestra
28. “Carrie (Reprise)” – Margaret
29. “Epilogue” – Sue & Company
30. Bows – Orchestra

  • Musical Style Pop/Rock, Contemporary Broadway
  • Dance Requirements Moderate
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size Medium
  • Chorus Size Medium

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

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24   Libretto-Vocal Book 
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1   Guitar 1 – Nylon String, 12-String, Steel String & Electric
 Guitar 2 – Steel String & Electric
1   Cello
1   Bass – Electric & Acoustic Upright

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Michael Gore

In 1981, Michael Gore won two Academy Awards for the movie Fame - one for Best Original Score, and a second for Best Song with lyricist Dean Pitchford. He was also nominated that year for "Out Here On My Own," from the same film. In addition, Fame won the Golden Globe for Be ...

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Dean Pitchford

Born and raised in Hawaii and graduated from Yale University, Dean Pitchford performed off- and on-Broadway (Godspell; Pippin) before turning to songwriting, screenwriting and directing.

Dean was nominated for four Academy Awards (winning the 1981 Best Song Oscar for "Fame," ...

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Lawrence D. Cohen

Lawrence D. Cohen's first feature script was his adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel, Carrie (1976). His screenplay for the classic Brian de Palma film earned him an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America.

After beginning his career as a film/theater c ...

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Stephen King

New York Times bestselling author and legendary storyteller Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. He made his first professional short story sale in 1967 to Startling Mystery Stories. In the fall of 1973, he ...

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