Could this be a hit today: a tale tapping into the wish-fulfillment of practically every American teenager to trash the high school, the town and everybody who ever crossed him/her? Alas, in this century, children have been arrested for voicing or even suggesting such a fantasy. But in the innocence of the 1970s (ironic violin music), Carrie was indeed a monster success of good ole clean-fun horror.
Bricolage Production Co. takes Carrie's campiness and adolescent horror several steps further with its Midnight Radio modification: SCarrie the Musical. Unlike most "WBRC Radio" productions, SCarrie is a mostly self-contained one-act, with few "commercial" breaks and limited audience participation. It's more of a staged reading with an energetic multi-casted ensemble — except that the title role is always in character and always in costume. And it's a guy.
Background check: Stephen King's first published novel (1974) about a telekinetic teenager became one of 1976's biggest films, directed by Brian DePalma. Both now recognized geniuses, right? Their "cult classic" spawned many imitators, sequels and remakes, and more than one musical, before Bricolage's producing artistic director Tami Dixon adapted and Pittsburghized Carrie for this most recent homage, with original music by Joel Abbott, updated from his 2002 version.
Matt M. Morrow directs a nigh-perfect cast with a nicely complementing band, led by music director Jason Coll. An unabashedly mustachioed Connor McCanlus credibly tackles Carrie's fragility, vulnerability and rage, with more comedy than terror. Kristiann Menotiades nearly stops the show as both the wacko mother belting out "Eve Was Weak," and as the more maternal sympathetic coach winning over the frightened girl with "You Can Trust Me."
Andrew Swackhamer jumps with both feet into the role of good-girl-boyfriend who dances with Carrie, even channeling a bit of John Travolta (who played the bad-girl-boyfriend in the iconic movie). Hayley Nielsen (good girl), Julianne Avolio (bad girl) and Quinn Patrick Shannon (thug boyfriend and clueless "news"-caster) complete the show with sound effects, special effects, vocal effects, etc. effects.
Bricolage's Midnight Radio series promises fun, sputteringly bad taste and head-slapping humor. SCarrie delivers it all. And I won't spoil the inside joke.