Monday, January 30, 2012


If the much-anticipated revival of Carrie fails as its original production did, it certainly won't be because of a lack of talent on both sides of the footlights.  After reviewing the cast and creative team, I am even more excited to see this show, which begins performances tomorrow at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in the Village.

The current kings of lighting and projection design, Kevin Adams and Sven Ortel, respectively, are on board to work their magic in a tiny, no-frills space.  Adams, with 3 Tonys and a host of credits including next to normal, Spring Awakening and American Idiot, and Ortel, a pioneer in the art of theatre projection (The Woman in White, The Little Mermaid, Women on the Verge), are at the top of their game and should be able to transform the space into the dual worlds of Carrie White with style and finesse.

With a space that is smaller than some walk-in closets, David Zinn is a great choice for set designer.  Having created an excellent design in the same space with The Submission, Zinn has proven to me that he can really make the most of very little.  Considering his most recent sound design, On a Clear Day, where even legendary crooner Harry Connick, Jr. was difficult to understand, I think that the one potential weakness for the design team might be sound designer Jonathan Deans, who was also responsible for the muddy sound of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.  Maybe he'll do better in a small space.

The Carrie Company with director Stafford Arima

I've never seen Molly Ranson perform at all, but I've never heard a bad thing about her, either.  Anyone that young who can hold her own against the powerhouse performances in the casts of both August: Osage County and Jerusalem certainly deserves our attention.  And they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I only need two when I look at her in the promo shot: haunting and heart-breaking.  What could be better for Carrie or Carrie?

Mazzie and Ranson

My love affair with the great Marin Mazzie began in 1986 when I saw her as Mary Jane Wilkes in Big River, and I've thrilled to her Clara in Passion, her Mother in Ragtime, and was emotionally spent by the end of her triumphant turn as Diana in next to normal.  I can't wait to see what she does with the role of Margaret White.  But she sure has some big shoes to fill, following the legendary performance of Betty Buckley.  I'm not too worried...

The supporting company is also very exciting - a terrific combination of experience to keep everyone grounded and the energy of New York debutantes.

I really enjoyed Christy Altomare in Spring Awakening's National Tour, and she shows great chemistry with her co-star Derek Klena (NY debut, American Idol) in the press-released new song from Carrie.  And could they be any more all-American and sexy?  The adult roles - it appears, anyway - are being handled by Carmen Cusack (National Tour of South Pacific, a number of productions of Wicked) as the gym teacher, and Wayne Wilcox (The Normal Heart, Priscilla Queen of the Desert).  Bad girl Chris is being played by Jeanna de Waal, who made a huge impression on me in American Idiot, while bad boy Billy will be played by RENT's Ben Thompson, who was also on Broadway in American Idiot.

Altomare, Klena, Wilcox, Cusack, Thompson, de Waal

And the ensemble includes: Corey Boardman (Altar Boyz, NYMTF's Billy the Kid), Blair Goldberg (Annie Get Your Gun), F. Michael Haynie (debut), Andy Mientus (Spring Awakening National Tour),   Elly Noble (York Theatre's Greasepaint/Crowd), and Jen Sese (Hair, Mamma Mia - Vegas).

Boardman, Goldberg, Haynie, Mientus, Noble and Sese

No matter what, this Carrie will be exciting!


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