Margaret White, Carrie's mother, keeps the secrets of a woman's body from her daughter. She prays regularly and fervently for salvation for her daughter and that, perhaps, Carrie will never have her monthly period. Margaret's prayers are not answered and the impossible, the most embarrassing happens in the girls shower after gym class. Carrie is bullied and teased by all of the girls. She can no longer hide in the back of the classroom or eat alone in the school cafeteria.
Carrie has one protector, her gym teacher Miss Gardner (Jodi Dominick), who struggles to make the bullies apologize.
Tommy Ross (Colton Ryan) the school's cute guy (one of many) wrote a poem the teacher likes and asks him to read aloud in class. Carrie responds warmly and courageously to the poem. However, Tommy is going to the prom with Sue Snell (Sara Masterson). They are the school's cute couple. Sue has maturity far beyond her years. She tells Tommy he should invite Carrie to the prom. She doesn't mind not going. This would be a way to symbolically apologize to Carrie for the bullying. Being the obedient boyfriend, Tommy invites Carrie to the prom.
While the tensions mount slowly, deliberately and steadily, the authors have not permitted the audience to forget Carrie telekinetic powers. It's been said that revenge is best served cold. Carrie serves her revenge immediate and hot.
The Beck Center for the Arts, Cleveland, Ohio, recently provided the gym, prom and little house for Carrie and her public humiliation. This unique production was a collaboration between the Beck Center, which produces professional quality shows, and Baldwin Wallace University's Music Theatre Program. It was a successful collaboration.
Katherine DeBoer, who played Margaret White, and Jodi Dominick have their Equity cards. The other performers are students at Baldwin Wallace. Have no fear; this is one of the best music theater programs in the country. And the production was directed by Victoria Bussert, one of the best directors in Ohio.
The musical version of Carrie was written by Lawrence D. Cohen (book), Dean Pitchford (lyrics) and Michael Gore (music).
The performances were superior. However, Carrie has problems telekinetic powers won't solve. The plot unfolds predictably. Carrie's first experiences with her telekinetic powers signal more and bigger things are possible. Remember, if a rifle is over the fireplace in act one, it has to be used before the curtain call.
Second, the music is dull. I wanted to rush through the music to the net plot point. That may be the real issue. The music doesn't help make the plot points.
I've saved the best for last. The best is Caitlin Houlahan, who played Carrie. In the lobby of the Beck Center, photographs of the performers were displayed. Houlahan's photograph showed a stunningly beautiful woman. However, on the stage she turned into Carrie. She wore her hair pulled into a severe bun, no makeup and shapeless bag-like costumes. Yet, when she sang, she revealed a remarkable range, power and clarity. Houlahan has a quality, call it star quality, which forced me to watch her.
See Carrie for the performances, quality direction and the leading lady.
Carrie ran through March 9, 2014. Those who live in the Cleveland area must keep an eye on The Beck Center and Baldwin Wallace University. The Beck Center's next production is 'night, Mother (March 21 - May 4, 2014). That will be followed by Seminar (May 30 - June 29, 2014). Baldwin Wallace hasn't announced its April production. However, this is the theater that paired Rent and La Boheme and followed those productions with a Broadway-quality production of Follies. For tickets and performance information, visit www.beckcenter.org.
- David Ritchey