Carrie: The Musical returns to haunt Southwark

Show with a history of financial and other disasters to open at Southwark Playhouse on 1 May

It is the show that was branded “the most expensive flop in Broadway history”.

Now Carrie: The Musical, based on the 1974 Stephen King horror novel, is to make its London debut at the Southwark Playhouse in May. Telling the story of a shy young girl with telekinetic powers who suffers emotional abuse from schoolmates and family, it is a production with a notoriously chequered past.

Carrie: The Musical was first staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in February 1988 but was beset by problems; its star, Barbara Cook, was almost decapitated by the set during one performance andseveral songs were removed during its brief run after attracting criticism,

It transferred to Broadway in April at the cost of $8m (£5.2m). However, scathing reviews meant several of the show’s backers pulled out and it was forced to fold after just 16 previews and five performances, resulting in a loss of $7m.

While the book has been the subject of two film adaptations – the first in 1976 and then again in 2013 – the musical was not revived until 2012 with an off-Broadway performance that claimed to be a “newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision for Carrie”.

Original composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and librettist Lawrence D Cohen revised the lyrics and score but it was not enough to fully lift the curse on Carrie: The Musical, which eventually closed two weeks early due to poor ticket sales, and did not earn back the $1.5m that had been invested in the morbid production.

The new London show, which runs at the Southwark Playhouse from 1-30 May, will be directed by Gary Lloyd, director and choreographer of Thriller Live!, the Michael Jackson-inspired musical.


Hannah Ellis-Petersen

The GuardianTramp

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