BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — Why step into the closet when you can descend on the Dakota Stage this weekend, for an unusual take on a horror classic?
Originally published by horror icon Stephen King in 1974, Carrie — about a young girl who awakens tremendous power to punish those who push her too far — was quickly picked up and adapted into a full-length feature film, which cemented its role in pop culture. And while the film was already a commercial success at the time – grossing over $33 million against a budget of $1.8 million.
The screen adaptation of the story has since been hailed as one of the greatest horror films of all time, one of the best films based on King’s work, and the best iteration of the story, known for its haunting performances and well-done special effects. . But as the eulogy implies, there are plenty of adaptations of Carrie who have graced more than the silver screen. And while they’re not what you’d expect to see in Bismarck, there’s no better time to see these stories of terror come to life than October.
“It’s kind of unique for a lot of things we get in this area, but I think it’s a really powerful show that should be seen,” says director Jeremy Lindemann.
Since the 1976 film, there have been other versions of the story, including a sequel film, two more standalone productions, and a miniseries reportedly in development. Foreign additions to the list of adaptations include not one, but two Broadway musicals. The first was originally staged in 1988, although it was dismally received by fans and critics. The play ended the same year it opened, after 16 previews and only five regular performances. In fact, it went down in history as one of the worst failures in theater history. Thankfully, future renditions of the musical — including the version that heads to Dakota Stage — have received much more positive reviews.
“At first, I know it wasn’t very well received,” Lindemann continues, “and I know they pretty much completely rewrote the music and the book to really revamp it and give it some new energy, and that has did a lot better after that.
This homegrown production is an unusual mix of iconic horror and music — a genre reserved solely for the tastes of the Phantom of the Opera — but, strangely, it seems to work: the two genres mix in an unusual way, one not so lyrical than Phantom but just as disturbing.
“I think the musical is fantastic,” says Marissa Carpenter, who played the title character Carrie the day we visited. “It’s very interesting how the movie or the book itself translates so well into a musical. It has some fun songs and some really nice ballads too.
More important than the idea of the musical, too, is one of the meanings behind the story of Carrie himself. It’s not just a horror story: it’s also a cautionary tale about the damaging effects of bullying and how you never know what’s going on in someone’s life. another who could lead him on the path he is taking. This meaning, and the way it is portrayed, is what gives the tale its staying power.
“The most important thing I hope people take away from this,” says Lindemann, “is just a reminder to be nice to each other. You really don’t know what their life is like at home, at what their family life is like or other things they may be going through outside of your immediate interaction I think it’s a good reminder to be empathetic and kind to each other no matter what the story of the other person.
“So many people have faced bullying in their lives,” says Carpenter, “whether they’ve experienced it or seen it happen, and I think the anti-bullying message is important for everybody.”
The show is definitely not for kids, but adults will find the musical a great way to kick off the spooky season. There are three more screenings of Carrie available for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of the strange combination in action:
- Friday, October 7 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday October 8 at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, October 9 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets for the show are available here. For more on the musical, visit the Dakota Stage Playhouse 44th Season webpage and look forward to another round of A Christmas Carol at the theater in December.
We’ll do the BRB next week with another report on Bismarck’s biggest events!