Perhaps the most misunderstood musical theater piece of the 20th century Carrie: The Musical started previews on April 28, 1988, at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway.
Ken Mandelbaum is quoted by Wollman, MacDermot, and Trask:
“Ken Mandelbaum writes of an audience divided during early previews, the curtain calls of which were greeted with a raucous mix of cheers and boos. However, in an instant, when Linzi Hateley and Betty Buckley rose to take their bows, the entire theatre turned to a standing ovation.”
The show was sold out weeks in advance and did indeed receive standing ovations at some previews, as well as on opening night but that couldn’t save it.
Carrie: The Musical officially opened on May 12, 1988. Hampered by scathing reviews by professional critics, the financial backers pulled their money out of the show, and it closed on May 15 after only 16 previews and 5 performances, guaranteeing its place in theatre history as one of the most expensive disasters of all time.
It wasn’t that Carrie:The Musical was a bad show. It was just badly directed, over produced and horribly choreographed (Thank you Debbie Allen.)
But Carrie: The Musical wasn’t dead and she would be resurrected and produced Off-Broadway as a limited run show at the Lucille Lortel Theatre by MCC Theater. Marin Mazzie starred as Margaret White and Molly Ranson as Carrie. Previews on January 31, 2012, and officially opened on March 1, 2012, and closed a month later to good solid reviews. The MCC directors said: “MCC, the authors, and the director achieved what we all set out to do – to rescue Carrie from oblivion and to give her new life.
Below is “lost footage” of the original Carrie, Linzi Hateley singing the title song from the 1988 Broadway production from an old press video reel with the audio and video cleaned up.