With Halloween just around the corner, we’re celebrating notable spooky musicals that have appeared both on and off Broadway! Horror has always been a tricky genre to capture live on stage but when it works, it is an absolute treat. Our Geniuses have done some research and we’re ready to report back to you with some of our findings.
We’re launching our series with a show that failed to achieve both critical acclaim and box office success. The show is the musical Carrie which is still widely considered one of the most notorious flops in Broadway history.
Based on Stephen King’s best selling novel and the popular 1976 film, the musical did not fare nearly as well as the film adaptation or the source material. The stage version was nearly entirely sung through and staged in the tradition of a Greek tragedy. The show featured a book by the film’s screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and music by Michael Gore. Gore and Pitchford had previously collaborated on songs for the film Fame. A major criticism of the show was the unintentionally comic presentation of Carrie’s telekinetic powers. Additionally, clunky pop lyrics did not manage to captivate audiences – particularly the Act II opener which musicalized the teenagers’ quest for pig’s blood.
The musical had its world premiere with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England in February 1988. The production featured direction by Terry Hands and choreography by Debbie Allie. The cast included Broadway veteran Barbara Cook as Margaret White and newcomer Linzi Hateley in the title role. The production was plagued with script and technical problems. For example, the crew was unable to douse Ms. Hateley with fake blood without causing microphone to malfunction. On opening night, Ms. Cook nearly suffered severe injuries from an elaborate set piece causing her to resign from the show. She stayed with the musical for the remainder of the run in England.
Despite mixed reviews and a plethora of technical issues, the musical transferred to Broadway’s Virginia Theatre in the spring. Ms. Cook officially left the show and was replaced by Betty Buckley, who ironically had appeared in the film version of Carrie. The show opened on Thursday, May 12, 1988 to scathing reviews from critics. Carrie closed on Sunday, May 15 after only 5 performances at an $8 million loss.
The show has since been been produced frequently in regional theatres. Most notably, a 2012 Off Broadway revival at MCC reunited Gore, Pitchford, and Cohen who collaborated on heavily revising the book and score. This production also led to the first-ever cast album of the show.
Be sure to check back next week for a glimpse into another spooky show!
Looking for a place to read a play during your next trip to New York? Hoping to pick up some librettos or theatre history books to keep you entertained on your bus ride home? We’ve found the perfect store for your group to visit on your next visit.
We visited the historic Drama Book Shop. Located at 250 W. 40th St., the Drama Book Shop has served as a “one-stop shop” for plays, librettos, and other theatre publications for 100 years! Whether you’re an aspiring actor looking for a new scene to perform or a Broadway fan hoping to learn more about theatre history, chances are Drama Book Shop has what you need. Your group will love browsing the shop’s selection and walking through a little bit of NYC history!
Don’t just take our word for it. Watch this video to learn everything you need to know about Drama Book Shop – including insight into the store’s relationship with Tony Award Winner Lin Manuel Miranda!
The DRAMA BOOK SHOP, Inc.
250 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018
Voice: 212 944-0595
Toll Free US & Canada: 800 322-0595
If you love Broadway as much as we do, you’ll understand the desire to be connected to theater gossip, tickets, and trivia. With a surge of digital platforms, most people now rely on the latest information being accessible through the click of a button. Moreover, many utilize online media to engage with various communities. Mobile app developers have certainly begun to understand theater-goers’ need to connect with Broadway via digital platforms. We’ve done some research and compiled this list of must-have mobile apps for Broadway lovers.
IBDB, or the Internet Broadway Database, is your “one-stop shop” for browsing through Broadway history. Want to view what shows previously played at the theater you are seated in? Can’t remember which actor originated a certain role? Looking to figure out which Broadway musicals had the longest and shortest runs? The IBDB app has answers to these questions and much more. This user-friendly app puts years of Broadway history in the palm of your hands. Available for free for iOS and Android users.
The BroadwayWorld.com Message Boards have been a popular forum for theater fans to share Broadway gossip, reviews, and chat all things Broadway. Now, theater enthusiasts can post on the boards directly via the mobile app. Fans will also find the latest headlines, videos, and even NYC restaurant suggestions right on their smartphones. BroadwayWorld has merged with the app world and you’ll love the results. Available for free on iOS and Android devices.
Did He Like It? App
With so many diverse options, picking the right show to see can be quite overwhelming. The Did He Like It? App makes that process simple and fun. At first glance, you’ll know whether or not the NY Times critic gave the show a “thumbs up”, “thumbs down”, or is maybe “on the fence”. Browse the latest reviews for Broadway/Off-Broadway shows and check out which shows are most recommended by critics. Enabling push notifications alerts you as soon as the reviews are released on opening night! Available for 99 cents on iOS devices.
While us “geniuses” always recommend purchasing tickets well in advance, we know that sometimes a night at the theater is a last minute decision. If you and a friend decide to see a show the day of the performance, TodayTix is your best bet. This app allows you to avoid sifting through dozens of last minute deal sites and streamlines all the info you’ll need in one, easy-to-use- application. Numerous shows also offer digital lotteries you can enter through a swipe on your smart phone. There is no need for theater fans to scramble when TodayTix ensures great deals within a few hours of showtime. Available for free on iOS and Android devices.