Sunday, April 2, 2023

Let "Carrie" Take You to the Prom


Director Lando Ruiz has waited a long time to bring "Carrie: The Musical" to Musical Theatre Southwest (MTS). "This has been nine years in the making for me," he said. "Ideas for it have been in my head this whole time." Ruiz saw the musical at Sandia Prep in 2013 and knew he wanted to be the one to direct it. His star is local actor Madison Rose Zehnder, who almost started crying for joy when she got the phone call. "She was so happy," Ruiz said.

Most audiences are not familiar with the show, according to its local director. The original Broadway version in 1988 had a truncated run due to bad reviews and tech problems. Ruiz is directing the 2012 world premiere version, completely revised and well received. With music by Academy Award winner Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment) and lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose), the updated version is a completely new musical experience.

The source material of course was the novel by Stephen King. It was the horror writer's first bestseller in 1974. Brian DePalma made a bloody movie of the story, too. However, horror isn't its only component.

"The characters really come to life and are treated as real people, not just parts of a musical," he said. Many people in the audience will relate to the high school trauma that eventually weaponizes Carrie's power.

Sue Snell (Morgan Geddes) and Tommy (Devin Raymond) are high school sweethearts. All photos by Jason Ponic Photography.

Ruiz's favorite songs in the show are "A Night We'll Never Forget" and "You Shine": "No doubts, no more fears/I see you shine and the dark disappears/I'll be your mirror and you can be mine/Look to me and you'll see/Just how you shine."

But audiences want to know all about the special effects in this show, and Ruiz isn't telling his secrets. All he will say is that he started doing close-up magic sometime ago--magic that takes place 2-3 feet away from the viewer and yet gives up no tricks--and he has used those techniques in this show.

"It's a modest approach to Carrie's telekinesis without sacrificing any of it," he said.

"Carrie: The Musical" is running Oct.7-23 at Musical Theatre Southwest. Tickets:

Margaret White (Emily Melville) is Carrie's scary mom; Madison Rose Zehnder stars as Carrie. All photos by Jason Ponic Photography.


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