It’s hard to believe that such an incredibly awful idea could come from the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1988 Friedrich Kurz produced a musical version of Carrie — based on Brian De Palma’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel — for a four-week run in England, where it was met with mixed reviews and experienced several technical problems. One of those included stagehands trying to figure out how to spill fake blood on the show’s main character without shorting her microphone. Still, Carrie made it all the way to Broadway — at the cost of a whopping $8 million. But after three days and a flood of highly abusive reviews, the show closed, losing more than $7 million. The horrific tale was doomed from the beginning.
The New York Times wrote that if the play had been consistent in its “uninhibited tastelessness” it could have been a camp masterpiece. Cue the 2006 production by Theater Couture, a gay performance group. The writer, Erik Jackson, explaining how he approached King with the idea of producing a camp version of his book, said that he told the author, “Carrie is … the tale of the ultimate outcast. Who better than a big group of outcasts like us to do it in a way that would be funny and yet touching?” The production went on to receive modest reviews and did not lose millions of dollars. Frighteningly, there has been talk of mounting a new big-budget version of the disastrous musical.
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