Fans of Stephen King — or anyone who likes a good horror story — might want to check out the West Virginia University School of Theatre & Dance presentation of “Carrie: The Musical” at the Metropolitan Theater on High Street next week.
Shows are scheduled for Thursday through Oct. 23.
A musical reimagining of the famous novel penned by King — and the hit movie that followed — tells the story of Carrie White, a teenager who is bullied at school for being different, and controlled at home by her mother.
“Within this life of constant sadness and pain, Carrie discovers special powers where just her thoughts make simple objects move — powers she tries to control but ones making her a threat to anyone who crosses her,” the description reads.
Lee Blair, associate professor of acting and musical theater, is director of performance for the show and is sticking to the story’s roots and keeping the classic set in the 1970s.
“It’s a contemporary classic story — people know it,” Blair said. “There’s so many people — especially of a certain generation — it sort of resonates and has been a part of the popular culture around us for years now.”
The director recalled being a teenager when the movie first came out — “it sort of struck such a chord with my generation and it was one of the first times you saw teenagers in this sort of situation and a realistic profile of them,” he said.
“But on top of that — there’s the supernatural and the horror that is involved with it.”
Blair said nostalgia wasn’t the only factor when picking this particular show.
“One of the things that attracted us to it was it’s a rock musical,” he said, “and we like to balance show selections with pedagogy and what the students need to experience.”
Blair said “Carrie” not only fits the bill because it is close to the Halloween season, but because it works opposite a show the school will be doing later in the year — “Bright Star” — which Blair said is more bluegrass-oriented and a period piece.
Being a female driven story with a female lead and strong female characters throughout the story also made “Carrie” an attractive option, Blair said.
While it is a horror story and while there is the supernatural element, Blair said the characters are so relatable — they are just “teenagers with teenage problems.”
“We identify with these people — it’s not something we have to imagine as much as if it was a Dracula or Frankenstein story,” he said.
“These are people we know, these are people that look like us. Tommy and Sue and Chris and Billy — they’re just teenagers that have teenage problems — and so does Carrie — hers are just a little bit more than your regular teenager.”
Liz Gutridge, a senior musical theater major at WVU, will take on the iconic lead character Carrie.
Blair said they are excited to perform at the Met Theatre again for the first time in three years, due to the pandemic.
“It’s exciting — I love it — I love the Met,” he said.
Working in venues outside the Creative Arts Center gives the acting students that opportunity for something different while also reaching out into the Morgantown community.
“We can remind the community that ‘Oh there’s the School of Theater and Dance’ — while it is a training program, we do produce a steady amount of art for not only WVU but Morgantown at large.”
Blair said with show dates getting closer, ticket sales are beginning to pick up, so get your tickets now.
Performances of Carrie: The Musical will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Oct. 23.