With the Hipp's ‘Carrie, A Comedy,' there will be blood


The Hippodrome's production of “Carrie, A Comedy,” featuring, from left, Candace Clift as Rita Gardner, Sara Morsey as Margaret White and Chelsea Sorenson as Carrie, opens Friday with a reduced-price preview performance at 8 p.m. today.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.

If Stephen King and Gallagher had a baby, it would look a lot like the Hippodrome Theatre's new production of “Carrie, A Comedy.” It has all the thrills and chills you'd expect from a Stephen King work with the added ingredient of a splash zone. Audience members in the front row must take cover under umbrellas to protect themselves from the bloodbath that will ensue.

Facts

‘Carrie, A Comedy'

What: Erik Jackson's comedic adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a bullied teenage girl with telekinetic powers.
When: Opens Friday with a preview performance at 8 p.m. today, showtimes are 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 4
Where: Hippodrome Theatre, 25 SE Second Place
Tickets: $30-$35, $25 for senior citizens, $15 for students; tickets are $15 and $18 for tonight's preview
Info: 375-4477, www.thehipp.org

Jessica Hurov, director of marketing for the Hippodrome Theatre, says the play, which opens Friday, comes just in time for the Halloween season.

“People in Gainesville love celebrating Halloween,” she says. “This is something they can do for fun right in town.”

Hurov says the play's appeal spans across generations of horror movie fans. But audiences should expect to laugh — the play features goofy 1970s references (like when Carrie screams to her prom date, “I'm a Pepper!”), countless sexual innuendoes and a disco dance number for good measure.

“Those who grew up with the film will be curious to see how it's being adapted for the stage, and the younger generation who haven't seen the movie will enjoy its campiness and its over-the-top humor,” she says.

Director Lauren Caldwell says the Hippodrome has a reputation for doing horror-themed plays for the fall season. In past years during October, the theater has thrilled audiences with productions of “Frankenstein,” “Dracula” and “Night of the Living Dead.”

“It was time to do ‘Carrie',” she says. “We thought it would bring a lot of laughs and make a sort of Halloween Horror Nights right here in Gainesville,” referring to Universal Studios' Halloween event that combines good times and gore.

Actor Chelsea Sorenson, who plays Carrie White, gives her character depth by downplaying the bug-eyed, grimacing rage Sissy Spacek portrayed in the 1976 film version. Sorenson instead visualizes Carrie as a misunderstood victim of bullying from her peers.

“I think it's a little easier to address issues like bullying when it's entertaining at the same time,” she says. “Carrie's ultimate goal is to be accepted and her telekinetic powers are almost defense mechanisms.”

Actor Sara Morsey, who plays Carrie's mother Margaret White, is responsible for the majority of the production's intense and frightening moments. But she says what's different about this version, which was created by playwright Erik Jackson, is the lightness its comedic moments create.

“This is beyond tongue in cheek,” she says. “I think people want to be entertained, and this will do just that.”

Caldwell says above all else, she hopes the audience will leave feeling nostalgic and entertained.

“People are going to have a rock 'n' roll time,” she says. “There will be blood.”

“Carrie” opens Friday with a reduced-price preview performance planned tonight. Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 4.

For more information, call the box office at 352-375-4477 or see www.thehipp.org.

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