200px-Carrie the Musical Poster

Poster for the original 1988 Broadway Musical

Carrie: the Musical is a theatrical adaptation of Stephen King's first published novel, with music written by Michael Gore and lyrics by Dean Pitchford.  The show began previews on Broadway on 28 April 1988 and officially debuted on 12 May 1988 before closing on 15 May 1988 after sixteen previews and five performances. The musical later played a large part in the writing of the 1992 Ken Mandelbaum book Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops.

The show was remade and revived in 2012, off-Broadway and performed at the Lucy Lortel Theatre from March to April of 2012, with an official cast recording released in September of that year. The musical then debuted in 2013 in Seattle, Washington as well as Sydney Australia, and in 2015 in Los Angeles, California as well as London's Off-West End. The Los Angeles Production, dubbed Carrie the Killer Musical Experience, even won five Ovation Awards from the L.A. Stage Alliance: Best Production of a Musical, Best Actress: Emily Lopez, Best Actress: Misty Cotton, Best Director: Brady Schwind and Best Scenic Design: Stephen Gifford. Awards


The cover of "Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Musical Flops", the book this musical inspired.


Original 1988 Broadway Production

Act I

Opening in a high school gym, the gym teacher, Miss Gardner, is leading her girls' gym class in a strenuous workout ("In"). After class, the girls head to the locker room and have fun teasing a less attractive, plump girl named Carrie White.

The girls start to shower while talking about boys and their plans for the upcoming prom ("Dream On"). Carrie has her first period in the shower and, not understanding what is happening, thinks she is bleeding to death. The other girls taunt her mercilessly until Miss Gardner hears the commotion, sends the girls away, and explains menstruation to Carrie.

On the way out of the gym, Sue and Chris talk about what just happened in the locker room. Sue is already feeling remorseful for her part in the incident, but Chris calls Carrie "Scary White." Carrie is hurt by their name-calling and teasing, but dreams of being vindicated and gaining respect from her peers ("Carrie").

Carrie's mother Margaret is praying ("Open Your Heart") when Carrie arrives home. Carrie joins her mother in prayer for a few minutes and then explains what happened in the locker room. Margaret tells Carrie that the blood is a sign of her sin ("And Eve Was Weak") and forces her into the cellar to pray for forgiveness.

That night, many of the high school students are at the drive-in theater, including Sue and her boyfriend Tommy and Chris and her boyfriend Billy. Sue tells Tommy that she is still upset about what she and the other girls did to Carrie in the locker room, while Chris complains about Carrie to Billy ("Don't Waste the Moon"). While the other teenagers are at the drive-in, Carrie and Margaret are home praying ("Evening Prayers"). Margaret prays for the strength to help her daughter while Carrie, depressed, questions God's love for her. Margaret apologizes for hurting Carrie and assures her that she loves her unconditionally.

At school the following day, Miss Gardner tells the girls they must all apologize to Carrie. Sue and the other girls comply, but Chris refuses. Upset, Miss Gardner tells Chris that she will not be allowed to go to the prom, and Chris vows revenge. Miss Gardner encourages Carrie to dream about her Prince Charming ("Unsuspecting Hearts").

Still upset over the way Carrie has been treated, Sue asks Tommy to take Carrie to the prom instead of her ("Do Me a Favor"), and he reluctantly agrees. At the same time, Chris asks Billy to help her get revenge on Carrie.

Tommy surprises Carrie by knocking on her door and asking her to go to prom. Though at first confused and uneasy, Carrie eventually agrees to go with him. When she tells her mother the news ("Invited"), Margaret forbids her to go, insisting that all boys just want to take advantage of girls, including her own father ("I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance"), and the prom would be an occasion of sin. Carrie reveals her supernatural powers, telling her mother that she is determined to attend the prom and will not be stopped.

Act II

The act opens at a pig farm while a storm rages, where Chris, Billy, and several of his friends are on a mission ("Out for Blood"). For their planned revenge on Carrie, they kill a pig and collect its blood. Back at the high school, Sue is confronted by girls who are upset that Carrie is going to the prom. Sue believes she is doing the right thing but realizes that doing the right thing is not always easy ("It Hurts to be Strong").

Getting ready for the prom, Carrie dreams about her date and, in a positive display of her special powers, she sends her dress, shoes, and hairbrush dancing through the air ("I'm Not Alone"). Margaret tries one more time to convince Carrie not to go to the prom ("Carrie (Reprise)"), but Carrie doesn't listen. She leaves for the prom with Tommy. Alone, Margaret plans to save Carrie from damnation the only way she can ("When There's No One").

Tommy and Carrie arrive at the prom ("Wotta Night") and everyone is surprised at how beautiful Carrie is. Miss Gardner is there as a chaperone and talks to Carrie about how it feels to be in love ("Unsuspecting Hearts (Reprise)"). Carrie is nervous about dancing with Tommy, but he finally convinces her to go out on the dance floor with him ("Heaven"). As the votes for prom king and queen are cast, Tommy, Carrie, Sue, Chris, Billy, and Miss Gardner soliloquize about the events unfolding ("Heaven (Reprise)"). Tommy and Carrie are declared king and queen of the prom, and they are crowned as the students sing the "Alma Mater."

Suddenly, Billy and Chris appear and dump a bucket of pig blood on Carrie. Humiliated and incensed, Carrie realizes her full powers. She closes off the gym exits and her embarrassment becomes rage. She snaps and kills everyone present and destroys the gymnasium in a series of violent explosions and a fire. ("The Destruction"). Carrie leaves the prom and is met by her mother. Margaret comforts her daughter ("Carrie (2nd Reprise)") and then stabs her fatally, thinking it will save Carrie's soul. Carrie retaliates, killing Margaret with her powers, and she apologizes as her mother dies. Sue, the only student who was not at the prom, discovers Carrie and comforts her as she dies, and then the musical ends on a quiet note.
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Poster for the 2012 Off-Broadway Revival, featuring Molly Ranson in the titular role.

2012 Off-Broadway Revival Production

Act I

Sue Snell, haunted witness and tour guide to our story, struggles to recount the incidents leading up to the tragic night of May 28. As she's questioned about the past, figures from her life in high school appear. Whatever their differences - be they good girl Sue, her varsity-athlete boyfriend Tommy Ross, her spoiled-rotten best friend Chris Hargensen, Chris' trouble-maker boyfriend Billy Nolan, or perennial misfit Carrie White - they are all wrestling with the same insecurities and united in their desire to belong ("In").

After gym class, Carrie experiences her first period in the shower. Her terrified screams for help and seeming ignorance about what's happening to her amuse and inflame the girls. With Chris as ringleader, Sue and the others encircle Carrie, gleefully chanting names and savagely taunting her. As gym teacher Miss Gardner races in at the height of Carrie's hysteria, an overhead light bulb inexplicably explodes. When the girls are reprimanded, they dismissively rationalize, "It's just Carrie," the butt of their jokes since childhood.

Miss Gardner and guidance counselor/English teacher Mr. Stephens send Carrie home for the rest of the day. But even as she leaves, her classmates' hurtful insults and name-calling ricochet in Carrie's mind until she cracks in fury ("Carrie"). Tommy and his pals discuss the upcoming senior prom as Billy roars in on his skateboard, clowning around. Carrie passes by and he jeeringly ridicules her. But when she turns a furious glance in his direction, he goes sprawling. Angry and embarrassed, Billy tries to blame his seeming clumsiness on Carrie, but the other guys just laugh.

At the White bungalow, Carrie's mother Margaret works at her sewing machine and sings along to her favorite evangelical radio program ("Open Your Heart"). When the still-troubled Carrie arrives home, she reluctantly joins in the hymn. Carrie summons the courage to tell her mother about the day's traumatic event. The realization that her child is now a woman throws Margaret into a God-fearing panic. When Carrie resists, Margaret locks her in a closet to beg for repentance ("And Eve Was Weak").

With her parents out of town, Chris throws a party at which she recounts to the kids the details of that day's incident with Carrie in the locker room. When Sue - confused and upset about her role in the hazing - protests that it wasn't funny, Chris perversely instructs her in the natural order of things ("The World According to Chris"). Upset by Chris' toxic message, Sue turns her back on her best friend and leaves with Tommy.

Back at the White household, Carrie is still locked in her prayer closet surrounded by religious icons. Margaret, meanwhile, pleads for her own divine guidance. As Carrie puzzles over this new sensation she's been feeling, she grows more agitated. Suddenly, a little figurine of Jesus levitates, leaving Carrie to wonder if this strange power might possibly be coming from within her. Margaret releases her from the closet and tearfully apologizes for her actions, prompting Carrie to beg for forgiveness as well. The two find solace in each other's goodnight embrace ("Evening Prayers").

In English class, Mr. Stephens praises a poem Tommy has written, and has him recite his work ("Dreamer in Disguise"). When the teacher asks the unruly students for reactions, Carrie volunteers. Her heartfelt emotion only provokes the other kids' mockery. After class, Sue acts on Tommy's advice and tries to apologize to Carrie but, thinking it's some kind of trick, Carrie explodes at her and storms off. Shaken and shocked into awareness, Sue muses on their encounter ("Once You See"). Miss Gardner rebukes the girls for their reckless mistreatment of Carrie and demands that they apologize to her - or else. They all do, except for Chris, who instead hurls a vicious invective at Carrie. Miss Gardner kicks Chris out of the prom. Frantic, Chris tries to rally the girls to join her in defying their teacher until Sue shouts defiance. Battle lines are drawn; the best friends are now enemies. When Miss Gardner apologizes to the sobbing Carrie for what just happened, Carrie surprises her by insisting that she's got to let Chris go to Prom. Carrie points out that for girls like Chris, Prom is like a dream. When pressed, Carrie admits that she herself is not going. Moved by Carrie's lack of self-esteem and her need for support, Miss Gardner assures her that things can change ("Unsuspecting Hearts").

Determined to do right by Carrie, Sue asks Tommy for help with a plan she's devised. Similarly, Chris, blaming Carrie for her humiliation, interrupts a make-out session with Billy to get his help in her plot for revenge ("Do Me A Favor"). Alone in the library, Carrie reads about telekinesis from a book. Concentrating intensely, she succeeds in moving chairs across the room without touching them, startling herself with this newfound power. In retrospect, the exploding light bulb in the shower and Billy's tumble from his skateboard start to make sense.

Nervous but honoring Sue's request, Tommy arrives at Carrie's front door and asks her to Prom. Wary, she repeatedly refuses, until Margaret calls her in for dinner. Worried that her mother will find her with Tommy, Carrie hurriedly accepts the offer to be his date. As he leaves, she calls out a joyous "thank you" as it begins to rain. While the storm outside intensifies, Carrie excitedly tells Margaret of her Prom invitation, triggering Margaret's own tortured reverie ("I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance"). When she orders Carrie to tell Tommy that she can't go, they battle and, as rain starts to blow in, Margaret walks away to close the windows. "I'll get them!" Carrie shouts and uses her mind to slam them shut. Horrified by this display of power that she's certain is the work of the devil, Margaret cowers in fear as Carrie calmly finishes her dessert.

Act II

Preparations for Prom and the news that Tommy's taking Carrie preoccupy everyone at school, including Chris and Billy, who sneak into the gymnasium with a bucket of pig's blood and set their own nasty prank in place ("A Night We'll Never Forget"). Miss Gardner, suspicious of Sue's motives in having Tommy invite Carrie, warns them both that if they hurt Carrie in any way, they'll have to answer to her. Sue worries that Tommy is mad at her too, but insists he's merely disappointed, wanting to take his girlfriend to Prom. To make up for the event they're going to miss, he takes her into the half-decorated gym to share a private romantic moment ("You Shine").

It's finally Prom Night. The kids are electric with nervous excitement, and Carrie, no less anxious, resolves to make the most of the evening ("Why Not Me?"). Frantic with worry, Margaret tries to undermine Carrie's confidence ("Stay Here Instead"). Just then, Tommy arrives, and Carrie, looking ravishing in the gown she's made herself, departs with him. Alone, Margaret struggles with fundamentalist scriptures. "She must be sacrificed. Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." Her duty - however horrific a a nd tragic - is clear ("When There's No One").

At the gym, the psyched kids show off their Prom finery and pose for yearbook photos. Tommy enters with Carrie, and the crowd's reaction to her stunning transformation turns from initially hostile to unexpectedly welcoming ("Prom Arrival"). Miss Gardner, surprised and delighted by Carrie's new self-assurance, shares her own recollection of Prom, and teacher and student trade notes on this timeless high school ritual ("Unsuspecting Hearts - Reprise"). After much coaxing, Tommy leads a hesitant Carrie onto the dance floor where they're observed - first by Sue, who's felt compelled to sneak in and see how her plan has worked out, and then by Chris' partner-in-crime, Norma ("Dreamer in Disguise - Reprise"). Chris and Billy, hidden high in the rafters above, prepare to unleash their prank, as Sue comes upon Norma switching real Prom ballots for fake ones, arousing her suspicions ("Prom Climax").

Votes tabulated, Mr. Stephens and Miss Gardner announce Tommy and Carrie as Prom King and Queen. While the assembled salute them with the school song ("Alma Mater"), Sue spots the bucket dangling above the coronation area, confirming her worst suspicions. Frantic, she tries to warn Miss Gardner, but the teacher, who's been wary of Sue's motives in forgoing her Prom in favor of Carrie, pushes her out of the gym. Chris cues Billy, who yanks the bucket and drenches Carrie in blood. As the Prom-goers' stunned silence turns to derisive laughter, her unimaginable humiliation turns to fury - and then madness. Lashing out with her power, she exacts a terrible revenge on friend and foe alike, slamming and locking the doors and then the prom-goers are forced to twist and bend and are forced to dance a morbid dance of death. ("The Destruction"). Powerless, Sue watches her classmates all perish (in one case one student is even forced to snap her own neck). Sue is the only survivor. As emergency whistles sound and sirens wail, Sue follows the path of destruction that leads through the street to Carrie's house.

Carrie arrives home in her bloody prom dress and finds momentary solace in her mother's arms ("Carrie - Reprise"). Just as she's lulled into a sense of safety, Margaret - fulfilling what she believes to be her biblical duty - plunges a knife into her daughter. Wounded and trying to defend herself from further assault, Carrie uses her powers to stop her mother's heart. Sue stumbles into this horrific scene and, hearing Carrie's anguished cries, rushes to her side to comfort her. But she's too late. As Carrie dies in her arms, the figures from Sue's memory provide a final, haunting testimony of redemption ("Epilogue").


Character 1984 Workshop Cast 1988 Stratford Cast 1988 Original Broadway Cast 2009 Cast Reading 2012 Off-Broadway Revival Cast 2013 Seattle Cast 2013 Sydney, Australia Cast 2015 Los Angeles Cast 2015 Off-West End Cast
Carrie White Annie Golden Linzi Hateley Molly Ranson Keaton Whittaker Hilary Cole Emily Lopez Evelyn Hoskins
Margaret White Maureen McGovern Barbara Cook Betty Buckley Marin Mazzie Alice Ripley Margi de Ferranti Missy Cotton Kim Criswell
Sue Snell Laura Dean Sally Ann Triplett Jennifer Damiano Christy Altomare Larissa Schmitz Adèle Parkison Kayla Parker Sarah McNicholas
Tommy Ross Todd Graff Paul Gyngell Matt Doyle Derek Klena Kody Bringman Robert Johnson Jon Robert Hall Greg Miller Burns
Chris Hargensen Liz Callaway Charlotte d'Amboise Diana DeGarmo Jeanna de Waal Tessa Archer Prudence Holloway Valerie Rose Curiel Gabriella Williams
Billy Nolan Peter Neptune Gene Anthony Ray John Arthur Greene Ben Thompson Andrew Brewer Toby Francis Garrett Marshall Dex Lee
Miss Gardner Laurie Beechman Darlene Love Sutton Foster Carmen Cusack Kendra Kassebaum Bridget Gardner Jenelle Lynn Randall Jodie Jacobs
Carrie the Killer Musical Experience

Advertisement for Los Angeles' "Carrie the Killer Musical Experience".


Original 1988 Broadway Production

Act I

  • "In" - Miss Gardner and Female Chorus
  • "Dream On" - Chorus≠
  • "Carrie" - Carrie
  • "Open Your Heart" - Margaret and Carrie
  • "And Eve Was Weak" - Margaret
  • "Don't Waste the Moon" - Sue, Tommy, Chris, Billy, and Chorus≠
  • "Evening Prayers" - Margaret and Carrie
  • "Unsuspecting Hearts" - Miss Gardner and Carrie
  • "Do Me a Favor" - Sue, Tommy, Chris, Billy, and Chorus
  • "Invited" - Carrie≠
  • "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance" - Margaret and Carrie

Act II

  • "Out for Blood" - Chris, Billy, and Male Chorus≠
  • "It Hurts to be Strong" - Sue≠
  • "I'm Not Alone" - Carrie≠
  • "Carrie (Reprise)" - Margaret and Carrie≠
  • "When There's No One" - Margaret
  • "Wotta Night" - Tommy, Carrie, and Chorus≠
  • "Unsuspecting Hearts (Reprise)" - Miss Gardner
  • "Heaven" - Tommy≠
  • "Heaven (Reprise)" - Tommy, Carrie, and Chorus≠
  • "Alma Mater" - Chorus
  • "The Destruction" - Carrie / Instrumental
  • "Carrie (2nd Reprise)" - Margaret and Carrie

≠ Got removed when the show got revived.

2012 Off-Broadway Revival Production

Act I

  • "In" -Students
  • "Carrie" - Carrie
  • "Open Your Heart" - Reverend Bliss, Margaret, Carrie, Choir
  • "And Eve Was Weak" - Margaret
  • "The World According to Chris" - Chris, Billy, Sue, Tommy, Students§
  • "Evening Prayers" - Margaret and Carrie
  • "Dreamer in Disguise" - Tommy§
  • "Once You See" - Sue§
  • "Unsuspecting Hearts" - Miss Gardner and Carrie
  • "Do Me a Favor" - Sue, Tommy, Chris, Billy, and Chorus
  • "I Remember How Those Boys Could Dance" - Margaret and Carrie

Act II

  • "A Night We'll Never Forget" – Carrie, Chris, Billy, Sue, Students§
  • "You Shine" – Tommy, Sue§
  • "Why Not Me?" – Carrie§
  • "Stay Here Instead" – Margaret, Carrie
  • "When There's No One" – Margaret
  • "Prom Arrival" – Full Company§
  • "Unsuspecting Hearts (Reprise)" - Miss Gardner and Carrie
  • "Dreamer in Disguise (Reprise)" - Tommy and Carrie§
  • "Prom Climax" - Chris, Billy, Company§
  • "Alma Mater" - Chorus
  • "The Destruction" - Carrie / Instrumental
  • "Carrie" (Reprise) – Margaret, Carrie
  • "Epilogue" – Sue, Company§

§ New song for the revival production.

Content image

The official cast soundtrack, released in September of 2012

Differences from the Novel

  • Billy and Chris run on stage and throw the blood on Carrie instead of dumping it from the ceiling. This was because of the difficulty in drenching Linzi Hateley in stage blood, which would clog her body microphone. Since her song "The Destruction" began almost immediately, there was no time to clear the microphone before it was needed.
  • In the novel, Chris is forbidden from attending the prom because she skips detention (as punishment for teasing Carrie). In the musical, the detention is not mentioned. Chris is punished for refusing to apologize to Carrie, instead choosing to yell out her standard taunt, "Carrie White eats shit."
  • The musical does not include Carrie's destruction of the whole town following the prom, which occurs in the novel. (However, in the 2012 revival, a trail of destruction from the school to Carrie's home is mentioned.)
  • Chris and Billy are killed during the prom massacre in the musical. In the novel Carrie causes their car to crash a few hours after the prom.
  • The characters of the principal and the teacher are merged into a single character named Miss Gardner.
  • The "sanctuary" that Margaret forces Carrie into is a cellar rather than a closet in the original production. In the 2012 revival, the cellar is changed back to the closet.
  • The Alma Mater is different from the Ewen High School's song in the book.
  • In the musical it is implied that Carrie kills Tommy Ross, but in the novel he is killed when the bucket holding the pigs blood falls on him.
  • While the novel says that Ralph White (Margaret's husband and Carrie's father) died, the musical implies that he left Margaret when she was pregnant with Carrie, causing her intense distrust in men.
  • Billy is more reluctant to pour the pig's blood on Carrie. He says, "Even for me, this trick is pretty damn sick." In the novel, he has a sadistic thrill and pushes Chris to do it. Their abusive relationship is also never mentioned.