Adapted from Stephen King’s novel Carrie, Cardinal Musical Productions’ latest show takes the classic horror tale and tells it with a captivating musical score. It opens at The Green Room Theatre on July 5 and runs until the 14th.
The Joseph Cardinal production stars Windsor actress Sydney White as the title character and has an outstanding and recognizable cast throughout.
The show focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by an oppressive religious fanatic mother. When she is humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she unleashes chaos on everyone and everything in her path.
We checked in with Joseph and Sydney to see what they’ve got cooked up for King’s famous tale of bullying.
The original Carrie movie is a classic horror. Does the musical keep its horror roots or is it campier?
Joseph – The musical is much different than the movie it deals with the interactions of real people and the effects they have on each other’s lives. It has heart. There are moments of joy and sadness. The real horror for me is seeing how willing people are to discard people that are different for their own benefit.
It’s a pretty dark story, but somehow it seems to connect with people. What do you think makes Carrie White’s story so resonating?
Joseph – Well aside from having telekinetic powers we all know a Carrie or have a part of her in us. Fitting in is not always the easiest thing to do in the world and in the setting the story is told to us it is very easy to understand. The story deals with one’s sense of belonging and we can all relate to that. The struggle is real.
Sydney – I think that the part of Carrie’s story that resonates with me the most is her being an outcast and being so ostracized. I think that everyone has at one time or another felt like an outcast, has felt extremely different from everyone around them, and that’s what makes this story so great. Its ability to reach such a large audience and connect with so many people is what makes this story special and a cultural phenomenon I think that its ability to resonate with so many people is what makes it so special.
Bullying is the central theme in the movie. We’ve become more aware about it in the last few years through shows like Carrie, Heathers and so many others. Is there a lesson we can learn from Carrie?
Joseph – Yes please stop doing it. We all need to be accountable for our own actions and we have no right whatsoever to judge or hurt someone because they are different. We need to love and accept as opposed to constantly hating.
Sydney – From the beginning of the show with the opening number “In”, the show hyper focuses on the pressures of being a teenager for literally every character. Even Chris, Carrie’s biggest bully, sings about worrying about her SATs. It’s an interesting dynamic starting the show explaining every character’s story except the title character’s, so when you finally get to her first actual scene, her stark difference from the other teenagers is obvious. It sets up the division between Carrie and the rest of her classmates from the start. I think that this division really makes people feel for Carrie from the very beginning and sets up the story dynamic very quickly.
Carrie has two iconic scenes – the locker room scene and the prom. Is there any pressure about being in such iconic scenes?
Sydney – Oh, totally. I recently was in Cardinal Music’s production of Heathers, and the pressure of playing Heather Chandler was very similar to how I feel playing Carrie now. With Heathers becoming very popular around the time that I played the character, I was extremely nervous playing such an iconic cult character. This time around I am even more nervous! Carrie is such an iconic character with such an iconic story that practically everyone knows, so I want to do her justice, especially in the iconic scenes.
Blood is always very visual when used on stage. Will this production drip of blood?
Joseph – No it won’t, there will be no blood zone and very little blood will be used. I believe in the safety of the actors and I don’t need blood to tell the story. The heart of the story is not in the gore and if that’s what people want, just watch the movie.
Talk about casting and what you were looking for in this production?
Joseph – Well first and foremost when casting this musical the ability to sing was very important. Unlike most musical where you would have an entire section singing certain harmony parts each person on the stage is responsible for their own individual part. I was also looking for young people because of the school setting. I also had to find someone with a great voice to play Margret who is Carrie’s Mom who was capable of acting the part. I feel I was able to cast the show the way I envisioned it and I am very proud of this cast.
Why did you want to become Carrie White?
Sydney -I have always loved the story of Carrie! I am not a huge fan of the horror genre in and of itself, but something about Carrie really spoke to me. I’ve read the book and seen every movie, so when I heard about the musical I was apprehensive and ecstatic. I was very excited to experience more Carrie content; however, I was very much expecting the musical to not live up to the story in other mediums. I was wrong. I became obsessed with his show, and when Joe mentioned possibly doing this show, I couldn’t wait, and I had to audition. There’s just something about her story that connects with so many people.
Carrie runs for two weekends in July at The Green Room Theatre at E.J. Lajeunesse in Windsor from July 5 to 14. Tickets are $25 and available at Cardinal Music at 2569-B Jefferson Blvd in Windsor. For more visit cardinalmusicproductions.com.