By Elizabeth Keys
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Carrie White is a misfit. At school, she’s an outcast who’s bullied by the popular crowd, and virtually invisible to everyone else. At home, she’s at the mercy of her loving but cruelly over-protective mother. But Carrie’s just discovered she’s got a special power, and if pushed too far, she’s not afraid to use it.
Center Stage Theatre Company will present “Carrie The Musical” at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the Winfrey Houston Theater in the Stillwater Community Center, corner of Duck Street and Eighth Avenue. Tickets are available at the door for $5 students and $10 adults.
“We’ve toned down the language if it wasn’t pertinent to the story,” said show producer Amy Guthrie. “And the story is not for everyone but it sends a great anti-bullying message. It’s rated PG-13 for mature content.”
Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel, the musical has been revamped from the 1988 Broadway production. The production’s original authors joined with director Stafford Arima and MCC Theater for a newly reworked and fully re-imagined vision of the gripping tale. Set today, in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine, the new play is written by Lawrence D. Cohen, the original screenwriter of the classic film. The music and lyrics are by Academy Award winners Michael Gore and Dean Pitchford. Amy McQuade and Bronwynne Queen are directing the local production of Stillwater school students with a live community band of Laura Davis, piano, Caroline Harrist, cello, Ben Yates, guitar and Ryan Fyffe, drums.
Guthrie said they are partnering with a national bullying prevention center including informational booths in the lobby featuring bracelets and t-shirts calling for students to choose not to bully.
“What does it cost to be kind is a question asked in one of the songs,” Guthrie said. “Life is full of choices and this show brings awareness to how we choose to treat others.”
Guthrie said they chose to produce “Carrie, The Musical” so budding actors could be exposed to more edgy theater in Stillwater.
“Acting wise, this has been the most difficult because these kids are playing people so opposite of who they really are,” Guthrie said. “It’s made them step out of their comfort zone as an actor.”
Kennedy Cockreil agrees. She will play the villain taunting Carrie in the role of Chris Hargensen.
“This group of kids has so much talent — but we’ve all had to stretch. There’s a lot of angst and edginess,” Cockriel said. “The musical tells how much damage bullying really causes. It’s a big eye-opener about how you can push people too far.”
Guthrie hopes “Carrie The Musical” opens up a whole new audience for live theater in Stillwater, especially for young adults who will have an opportunity for a fun Halloween event watching “kids their own age — and kids they may know — performing a Broadway selection.”
She said everyone will be able to relate to the high school relationships characterized in the production.
“We want people to stop and think about how they can choose to make a difference — especially now during bullying prevention month,” Guthrie said.