Carrie: The Musical

A CONCORD THEATRICALS TITLE

Carrie: The Musical

Full-Length Musical, Drama  /  5f, 2m

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

Carrie White is an outcast at school and under the cruel rule of her mother. But Carrie has a special power, and if pushed too far, will unleash it on her peers.

Image: Joan Marcus

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5f, 2m
  • Duration
    Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Stage & Screen), Mystery/Thriller
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • 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)
    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

Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
Carrie: The Musical

Details

Summary

Carrie White is a misfit. At school, she's an outcast who's bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she's at the mercy of her loving but cruelly over-protective mother. But Carrie's just discovered she's got a special power, and if pushed too far, she's not afraid to use it.

Based on Stephen King's bestselling novel, the musical of Carrie hasn't been seen since its legendary 1988 Broadway production. Now, the show's original authors have joined with director Stafford Arima (Altar Boyz) and MCC Theater for a newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of this gripping tale. Set today, in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie 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).

History

Stephen King’s blockbuster 1974 novel Carrie sold over a million copies in its first year. The 1976 film adaptation, directed by Brian De Palma, became a critical and box office smash, grossing over $33 million and earning two Academy Award nominations.

The original musical adaptation of Carrie opened on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre on May 12, 1988 starring Betty Buckley, Linzi Hateley, Sally Ann Triplett, Scott Wise, Darlene Love and Charlotte d’Amboise. Despite garnering high praise for its leading ladies, who earned standing ovations during some performances, the show suffered from notoriously overblown production elements. Trounced by the critics, it famously closed after only five performances.

Twenty-four years later, on March 1, 2012, a revised version of the show opened Off-Broadway at MCC theatre, starring Marrin Mazzie and Molly Ranson. Featuring new songs and an updated script in a pared-down production, the show was warmly received, earning several award nominations. With a stronger focus on bullying and social isolation, the updated version of Carrie: The Musical went on to successful productions in London and Los Angeles and is now widely produced around the world.

On April 18, 2018, the CW series Riverdale featured a musical episode centered around Carrie: The Musical. A critical hit, the episode was watched by over 1 million viewers.

Cast Attributes
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

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
2 Women

FEATURED
3 Women
2 Men

CHARACTERS
Margaret White
Carrie White
Sue Snell
Lynn Gardner
Chris Hargensen
Tommy Ross
Billy Nolan
Mr. Stephens
George
Norma
Freddy
Stokes
Helen
Frieda
Ensemble
  • Time Period 1970s
  • Setting Carrie takes place in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Special Effects
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Intense Adult Themes

Media

"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

IN THE PRESS

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

Videos

  • CARRIE The Musical: The Story

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

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

  • CARRIE - Book to Musical

Photos

  • Carrie: The Musical

    Image: Joan Marcus

  • Carrie: The Musical

    Image: Joan Marcus

Music

Music Samples

1. "In" - Student
2. "Carrie" - Carrie
3. "Open Your Heart" - Reverend Bliss, Margaret, Carrie, Choir
4. "And Eve Was Weak" - Margaret, Carrie
5. "The World According To Chris" - Chris, Billy, Sue, Tommy, Students
6. "Evening Prayers " - Carrie, Margaret
7. "Tommy's Poem (Dreamer In Disguise)" - Tommy
8. "Once You See" - Sue
9. "Unsuspecting Hearts" - Miss Gardner, Carrie
10. "Do Me A Favor" - Sue, Chris, Tommy, Billy, Students
11. "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance" - Carrie
12. "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance" - Carrie, Margaret
13. "A Night We'll Never Forget" - Carrie, Chris, Billy, Sue, Students
14. "You Shine" - Tommy, Sue
15. "Why Not Me?" - Carrie
16. "Stay Here Instead " - Margaret, Carrie
17. "When There's No One" - Margaret
18. "The Prom" - Company
19. "Carrie (Reprise) " - Margaret, Carrie
20. "Epilogue" - Sue, Company

Full Orchestration

Keyboard 1-Conductor
Keyboard 2 
Guitar 1
Guitar 2
Cello
Bass
Drums

  • Musical StyleContemporary Broadway
  • Dance RequirementsModerate
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra SizeMedium
  • Chorus SizeMedium

Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
24 Libretto-Vocal Book 
1 Piano-Vocal
1 Keyboard 1-Conductor
1 Keyboard 2 
1 Guitar 1
1 Guitar 2
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Drums
1 Logo Pack 
24 Libretto-Vocal Book 
1 Piano-Vocal
1 Logo Pack

Add-Ons

Take a look below at how you can enhance your show!

Authors

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 ...

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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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