Carrie: The Musical comes to the Hunter

UNLIKELY MUSICAL: Carrie: The Musical stars Sam Hawkins, Grace Alston and Megan Williams (back) with Sabine Cook (front). Picture: Lia Bundy
UNLIKELY MUSICAL: Carrie: The Musical stars Sam Hawkins, Grace Alston and Megan Williams (back) with Sabine Cook (front). Picture: Lia Bundy

A STORY about a schoolgirl who is ridiculed by her classmates, then finds she has a special power to move things without touching them, would appear to be an unlikely subject for a hit musical. But Carrie: The Musical has wowed worldwide audiences in recent years.

The musical is based on the best-selling novel by American writer Stephen King, with its story having many incarnations since it was published in 1974. It became a hit movie in 1976, with a sequel in 1999, a television film in 2002, a 2013 remake film, and the basis of a 2018 episode of the television series Riverdale.

The stage musical version of Carrie has had a mixed history. It wasn’t popular when first staged on Broadway in 1988, but a revised version that premiered in New York in 2012 showed just how engaging it could be. And, as the musical is largely set in a high school, with students as principal characters, the new interpretation has been presented in many secondary schools.

So it’s not surprising that WEA Hunter’s Academy of Creative Arts is staging Carrie: The Musical at its CAS Theatre in Beaumont Street, Hamilton, with music theatre students predominantly as cast members and CAS courses alumni as the staging team. It will have 7.30pm performances daily from Thursday, September 27, to Saturday, September 29, plus a 2pm Saturday matinee.

The cast is headed by Sabine Cook as the lonely, teased and virtually friendless Carrie, Ben Richards as Tommy Ross, a popular boy she is attracted to, Megan Williams as her over-protective but also abusive mother, Margaret White, Bonnie McPeak as Sue Snell, who initially teases Carrie but later feels remorse, Grace Alston as Chris Hargensen, who hates Carrie and bullies her at every opportunity, Sam Hawkins as Billy Nolan, Chris’s not-so-smart boyfriend, and Kate Fahey and Daniel Drayton as two teachers who are in charge of the high school prom night and initially see the troubled Carrie in a dark light but gradually change their minds.

The cast, which also has a 15-member ensemble, is guided by two WEA Creative Arts alumni, director Kimberley Dingle and musical director Eden Dennis.

Sabine Cook sees Carrie as having two sides: what she is trying to be for her mother and how she wants to be seen at school. “She’s at war with herself a lot throughout the story,” she notes, adding that “It’s a timeless story about people who don’t fit in.”

Ben Richards likewise sees Tommy as being a two-sided good guy. “There’s the person he shows to everybody, but he also has deeper emotions.”

Carrie: The Musical is recommended for people age 15 and over.

Tickets, $25, can be bought through trybooking.com