Most who see "Carrie: The Musical" will be looking for a Halloween treat, and they'll find it. The novel and film are widely known, but the musical is not, because its original production in 1988 is among Broadway's biggest flops. That dubious distinction is unlikely to haunt this production because the goings-on of Broadway have little appeal outside of New York City. In fact, the only reason I'm aware of its history is due to my obsession with another Broadway flop, Paul Simon's "The Capeman" Both shows have had smaller-scale shots at redemption, "The Capeman" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, (which I saw!) and Central Park, and "Carrie" at the Off-Broadway Lortel, and in Seattle, which I believe was meant to be the start of a touring show that never materialized.
When I saw that Stumptown Stages was mounting the reworked and stripped-down Lortel version, I knew I had to see it. I found it to be an intriguing and, above all, brave choice.
The stripping-down has advantages and disadvantages--One advantage is the absence of the infamous "Out for Blood" which contains the lyric, "It's a simple little gig/You help me kill a pig." A disadvantage would be the choice to do the actual spilling of that blood with red-lighting, the scene in the film version is iconic. The biggest advantage of the new version is the sharpened focus on the relationship of Carrie and her mother. In these moments, the characters shine. The mother is played by the exquisitely-voiced Susan Jonsson, (who also gets huge bonus-points for being a founding board member of Well Arts, producers of "Fierce Love".) Carrie is played by Malia Davis, as an abused innocent with piercing eyes.
I am quite glad to have been added to Stumptown's Press List, their choices are certainly off the beaten path, including "The Adventures of Dex Dixon: Paranormal Dick". This is especially refreshing and gratifying when one considers that the city's bigger venues seem to view risk as taboo this Season.