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Carrie: The Musical, a review

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The University of North Florida’s theatre club Swoope Troupe hosted its three-day premiere of Carrie: The Musical last month. This production based on Stephen King’s novel and the 1976 film adaptation exceeded my expectations.

Carrie is a horror novel by Stephen King following Carrie White, a bullied high schooler who lives in an abusive religious household and discovers she has telekinetic powers.

Carrie tries to be the perfect daughter for her mother. Her mother is heavily religious and controls her life. Carrie’s relationship with her mother was abusive and toxic, but that didn’t change how she treated others.

(Photo courtesy of UNF Swoop Troupe)

The musicians tried to make this experience as immersive as possible. Intermission also became a form of audience engagement. It started with Freddy, played by Marcus Jean Pierre, who announced a 15-minute break in a playful voice.

Kristin West’s Chris Hargensen warned the audience when the show was about to start again. Both actors stayed in character throughout the intermission.

A few scenes differed from the film, but the musical flowed seamlessly. One scene that slightly differed from the movie was Tommy Ross’s poem. In the film, the teacher reads the poem, and Carrie mumbles about its beauty. However, in the musical, the teacher makes Tommy read the poem and calls on Carrie, who comments on its beauty. These changes still captured the essence and main plot of the story.

Parallels were expressed between Carrie and Sue’s lives. The elements of perfection and kindness were a central theme.

Though these parallels express an overarching theme in the movie, the most significant change is that the musical never switches to Chris Hargensen’s perspective. The novel has narrative jumps from Chris’ perspective, but you don’t get to see them on stage.

Sue was commonly referred to as perfect regarding the life she was privileged to lead. There was a general understanding that her family life was great, but it didn’t turn her into a mean girl. Instead, she expressed kindness to those around her and guilt and remorse for Carrie.

The songs and performances were all amazing. The experience was immersive, and you could feel the power in the tone shift. The emotions reached the audience, with the performers radiating their voices throughout the theater. From my seat in the front, you could feel the projection in your chest like the bass in a car stereo.

The song “You Shine” was performed by Savanna Dribble as Sue Snell and Terry Star as Tommy Ross. The couple showed overwhelming compassion and care towards each other. The song perfectly captures how their characters treat people with kindness and support.

One honorable mention is Julia Rigon, who played Margaret White. Her voice and acting were incredible, and I loved how her voice was shaky when Margaret was crying over Carrie going to prom. Despite the shakiness, her voice was still projected throughout the theater.

Overall, this was a well-done performance that I would love to see again.

Rating: 5/5 Spinnaker sails

5 spinnaker sails







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