Carrie – The cast of “Carrie the Musical” rehearses a group musical number on the stage of the Backdoor Playhouse.

Story is about much more than surface-level scares

Cookeville – Stephen King’s famous 1974 novel about a bullied teenage girl with telekinetic powers is coming to the stage at Tennessee Tech University’s Backdoor Playhouse in “Carrie the Musical” Nov. 2 through Nov. 11.

The story, while in the horror genre, is about much more than surface-level scares, says Mark Creter, artistic director of the Backdoor Playhouse and director of the production.

“Carrie is kind of a sad misfit who doesn’t have any support at the school that she attends and sadly she doesn’t have any support at home either,” he said. “And even though the supernatural element is obviously an important plot point of the story, it really is about this. She’s a girl met with disdain because she’s a little bit different. That’s a story that resonates in any time period.”

Creter is a longtime fan of King’s work and was immediately drawn to the material when the playwright of the Backdoor Playhouse’s 2022 fall production, “Crawlspace,” suggested the show to him last year. Though the original Broadway production was a notorious flop in 1988, a 2012 revival sparked new interest and life in the show. Now, it’s a popular production in regional theaters, colleges and universities.

“The heart of the story is that a little bit of kindness toward Carrie could have literally changed her whole life,” Creter said. “She needed kindness from her peers, kindness from her mother and kindness from her teachers, but instead she was met with either people ignoring her or just open disdain. And the outcome of that is really tragic.”

The cast is made up entirely of Tennessee Tech students: Emily Holman, Becca Moore, Maddie Maas, Riley Keegan, Evelyn Shirley, Owen Reid, Rhea Geer, Connor Beck, Victoria Janow, Evyn Franklin, Hannah Rockensock, Andy Moyer, Grant Dukes, Rigel Marshall, CJ Allen, Ash Yoder, Madison Kristoff, Dani Wolford, Ash Yoder and CJ Allen.

Mindy Richards serves as music director and Emma Russell as student choreographer. As always, the Backdoor Playhouse production will feature a live orchestra conducting the show’s score.

Showings of “Carrie the Musical” will be held at the Backdoor Playhouse in Tech’s Jere Whitson Building at 8 p.m. Nov. 2 to Nov. 7 and Nov. 10 to Nov. 11, with additional showings at 10 p.m. Nov. 9 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 11.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for senior citizens and $5 for all students and available on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office on the night of the performance.

Photos courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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