Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

SCOTTISH PLAY SCOTT Carrie sings in Chicago, seriously
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2014-06-04

This article shared 3481 times since Wed Jun 4, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


High school was both an inspiring and hellish time for out writer and producer Lawrence D. Cohen, who originally grew up in the Chicago suburbs of Wilmette and Glencoe.

"I was lucky enough to have amazing teachers and come of age in a way in terms of my writing," said Cohen, who is best known today for his TV and film adaptations of Stephen King horror novels like IT, The Tommyknockers, and especially Carrie. "But I was also a bullied kid. I was skinny with Coke-bottle glasses and a wise mouth and I had the crap beaten out of me periodically."

So in 1973—when Cohen was working as a reader for a New York film and TV producer—he was extremely lucky to come across a manuscript of what would become Stephen King's 1974 novel Carrie. The novel resonated deeply with Cohen and he immediately pressured his boss to obtain the movie rights. Cohen correctly predicted that millions of readers and movie audiences who survived high school would identify with King's horror story about the bullied teenager Carrie White who enacts a horrific revenge on her classmates when she mysteriously acquires telekinetic powers.

"I've always called it 'Cinderella with a Vengeance,'" Cohen said. "With Carrie, I think Steve as a populist writer puts his finger on a quality of the outsider."

Cohen would go on to pen adapted screenplays of both film versions of Carrie, first with the classic 1976 Brian De Palma original and also Kimberly Pierce's 2013 remake, co-authored with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. But Cohen's most elusive take on Carrie was the 1988 Broadway musical version that featured a score by composer Michael Gore and lyricist Dean Pitchford. Carrie: The Musical is only now making its Windy City debut in a production by Bailiwick Chicago at the Victory Gardens Richard C. Christiansen Theater.

Carrie: The Musical has the notorious reputation of being one of the biggest flops in Broadway history. A transfer from the Royal Shakespeare Company in the U.K., Carrie: The Musical shuttered after just two weeks of previews and five official Broadway performances.

But Carrie: The Musical refused to perish in the hearts of many diehard Broadway fans—even though it didn't have an official cast recording. A large part of that has to do with Ken Mandelbaum's juicy 1992 book Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops.

Mandelbaum dedicates two entire chapters of his book to Carrie: The Musical, opening it with his detailed memories of attending the show's first Broadway preview ( which simultaneously elicited a chorus of boos and hearty cheers from the audience at the curtain call ). Mandelbaum then closes out his book by puzzling over what went right and wrong with Carrie: The Musical. He lavished praise on its spellbinding stars of Linzi Hatley as Carrie and Betty Buckley as her religiously fanatic mother, Margaret, while also questioning the unintentionally campy staging ideas by director Terry Hands and his production team.

Cohen and his Carrie: The Musical writing collaborators "were by and large horrified by what we saw on stage and the show being done had precious little to do with what was in our minds and the way we wanted to do it," said Cohen about Hands' Broadway production.

Despite multiple offers to restage Carrie: The Musical in the ensuing years for fundraising benefit concerts and even campy drag versions, Cohen and his collaborators flatly refused for the longest time because "we weren't interested in seeing the same show that had closed on Broadway ever again."

But that changed when the three authors finally got a chance to revise Carrie: The Musical to their liking for a 2012 off-Broadway revival for MCC Theater led by director Stafford Arima, who incidentally saw Carrie on Broadway during its original brief run. It's the 2012 off-Broadway version of Carrie: The Musical that is now available for licensing.

Cohen has been particularly pleased to see how resonant Carrie: The Musical is with young audiences at the dozens of high schools and colleges that have already staged the show, especially with recent high profile efforts in the media to combat bullying. And for his hometown's first production of Carrie: The Musical, Cohen was intrigued by the reputation of Bailiwick Chicago for producing unconventional shows like Violet, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Dessa Rose.

"When Bailiwick approached us about licensing it, we looked at what their history was," Cohen said. "It's always a leap of faith with a new production because it's about the director and their vision for it, but they seemed to be exactly the kind of theater with the right venue that Carrie ought to be in."

But one disadvantage of Carrie: The Musical being readily available is that has put a kibosh on previously produced parody versions of Carrie. Hell in a Handbag Productions artistic director David Cerda mentioned that he received a cease and desist letter from the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization which licenses the show the last time the company revived its campy Carrie spoof called Scarrie.

Nonetheless, Cerda still plans to see Carrie: The Musical if he can ( he's busy appearing in a revival of Hell in a Handbag's musical Caged Dames ).

"Who hasn't felt like Carrie White? When I grew up in the 1970s, those mean girls in Carrie were the kinds of people I dealt with in high school," Cerda said. "My telekinetic powers was my gayness."

"The notion of being different is what Steve really drew on in the most profound way," said Cohen, who showed how casual he was with author Steven King since he repeated referred to him as "Steve" throughout the interview. "I think Steve literally spoke to all of us who felt like Carrie at that extremis in the hell of high school."

Bailiwick Chicago's Carrie: The Musical continues through Saturday, July 12, at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $40 and $30 for groups of 10 or more; call 773-871-3000, or visit www.victorygardens.org or www.bailiwickchicago.com .


This article shared 3481 times since Wed Jun 4, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf presenting three Tracy Letts virtual works Sept. 29-Oct. 24 2021-09-18
- Leading up to ensemble member Tracy Letts' production Bug returning this November to Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, the company is bringing audiences a sampler of the playwright's voice to their homes with a trio of new virtual ...


Gay News

Frank Ferrante to return as 'Groucho' for one night 2021-09-15
- Actor/director Frank Ferrante returns to his internationally heralded stage performance for one night only in "An Evening With Groucho" on Tuesday, Oct. 26, at the Spiegeltent ZaZou, on the 14th floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago ...


Gay News

THEATER Out actor Dan Butler to be in 'When Harry Met Rehab' 2021-09-15
- Don Clark, a Chicago-based film/theater producer as well as co-owner of the Chicago Magic Lounge, will present the world premiere of When Harry Met Rehab—a comedy that takes sobriety seriously and is based loosely on the ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards 2021-09-14
- Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

First Floor Theater announces 2021-22 season 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 13, 2021) — First Floor Theater is excited to announce their ninth live-production season, featuring one world premiere and one Chicago premiere, along with a second round of The Blueprint Commission, it' new ...


Gay News

AstonRep Theatre Company announces 2021-22 season: 2021-09-13
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2021) — AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to welcome back live audiences this fall, kicking off with a revival of Yasmina Reza's frenetic dark comedy God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton and ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dear Mom, I'm Gay!' on Oct. 1-2 2021-09-11
- Dear Mom, I'm Gay!—a workshop of a new musical by David Dilsizian—is running at The Jarvis Square Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. It will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1; and 2 and ...


Gay News

Saint Sebastian Players to perform four shows during 40th season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - The Saint Sebastian Players (SSP) announce the company is resuming live, in-person production with an expanded 40th Anniversary Season. The four-play lineup celebrates genres that have been popular with SSP ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces plans for 2021-22 season 2021-09-10
--From a press release - Chicago, IL— Victory Gardens Theater announces their 2021/2022 Season, which will be presented in-person at the Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park. The season will feature three mainstage productions: Queen of the Night by travis tate, the ...


Gay News

Broken Nose Theatre presenting Black LGBTQ drama 'Kingdom' Oct. 4-24 2021-09-10
- Broken Nose Theatre is launching its tenth season with an audio adaptation of its hit 2018 play Kingdom, written by resident playwright Michael Allen Harris and directed by Manny Buckley. Kingdom features ensemble members RjW Mays ...


Gay News

DANCE Ensemble Espanol to open Auditorium Theatre season Oct. 16 2021-09-10
- Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater, in residence at Northeastern Illinois University, will return to the Auditorium Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. The company will mark the finale performance of its 45th-anniversary "Zafiro Flamenco ...


Gay News

'Close-Up with Carmen' Sept. 9 at Center on Halsted 2021-09-08
- 'Close-Up with Carmen'—about the intersection of drag and opera—will take place Thursday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St. During this event, participants will discuss cross-dressi ...


Gay News

THEATER Neo-Futurists' 'The Infinite Wrench' returns to the stage Sept. 18 2021-09-08
- Chicago's longest-running late-night show, The Neo-Futurists' The Infinite Wrench, kicks off the company's 2021-22 season of programming with a return to weekly in-person performances on Saturday, Sept. 18. The signature ...


Gay News

THEATER 'American Mariachi' at Goodman on Sept. 18-Oct. 24 2021-09-05
- Goodman Theatre is running American Mariachi—a new comedy about the freedom to dream big, written by Jose Cruz Gonzalez, directed by Goodman Resident Artistic Associate Henry Godinez and presented as part of Chicago Latino Theater Alliance's ...


Gay News

MUSIC Upcoming 'Carmen' featuring queer lead, male drag 2021-09-05
- On Sept. 16 and 18 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago audiences will have the rare opportunity to hear two world-class dramatic mezzo-sopranos debut new roles opposite one another ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.