IU Theatre & Dance continues its triumphant return to live productions with Carrie: the Musical, the infamous adaptation of Stephen King’s terrifying novel featuring a score by Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose, Camp) and book by original screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen. The musical tells the story of teenager Carrie White, who longs to be seen. At school, she’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she's dominated by her cruelly controlling mother—a religious fanatic. While navigating the difficult terrain of high school, Carrie discovers an uncommon power within herself; telekinesis. Carrie: the Musical has only grown in popularity since its notorious 1988 Broadway premiere (which opened and closed after only five regular performances) due in part to footage of the original production going viral and high profile revivals around the world. A recent episode of TV’s “Riverdale” was even dedicated to this killer musical which features such hit numbers as “And Eve Was Weak” and “A Night We’ll Never Forget.”
Much of the show takes place at Chamberlain High—a place where everyone is labeled—by their friends, parents, or themselves. IU’s production of Carrie: the Musical uses a female lens to focus on the discussions around adhering to these labels or breaking free of them; whether it’s through women’s empowerment or radical kindness. In the words of librettist Laurence D. Cohen, "Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." Carrie: the Musical is directed by Broadway’s Lauren Haughton Gillis, Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre at IU, with musical direction by Professor Ray Fellman. As a director and choreographer, Haughton Gillis has worked at The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Musical Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, Cardinal Stage, Coronado Playhouse, Okoboji Summer Theatre, and more. Last seen on Broadway in Wicked, she most recently traveled to Rome, Italy to help create and choreograph a new show for Virgin Voyages.
Joining Haughton Gillis on the creative team are M.F.A. students Russell Long (Lighting Designer), Brittany Staudacher (Costume Designer), Spencer Donovan (Scenic Designer), and Lexi Silva (Dramaturg), as well as B.S. in Audio Engineering and Sound Production, Anna Fagin (Sound Designer). Long’s designs for this production are in partial fulfillment of their M.F.A thesis. Carrie: the Musical stars Riley Frey as the telekinetic title character and Hannah Kulawiak as her controlling mother Margaret. The cast also includes B.F.A. musical theatre students Matthew Baker, Ben Ballmer, Kevin Dolan*, Amanda Fawell, Kabir Gandhi, Sydney Greene, Jaden Holtschlag, Casey Kwon, Kendall Claire Lamont, Noah Marcus, Molly Munn, Maya Owens, Katie Plaziak, Alanna Porter, Robbie Russo, Natalie Stahl, Shane Stoltz, Luke Swaller, Caroline Santiago Turner, Evan Vaughan, Malachi Watson, Katie Wheeler, Mikayla White*, and Michael Winner.
(*Kevin Dolan and Mikayla White appear by permission of the Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.)