'Carrie, A Comedy' turns prom night into bloody, good fun

The Hippodrome's production of “Carrie, A Comedy,” recreates those '70s styles in costumes worn by castmembers, from left, Diany Rodriguez, Chelsea Sorenson, Candace Clift, Ericka Winterrowd and Katrina Asmar.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.

For the most popular kids in high school, prom night is a crowning moment of glory. For others — the social misfits and ostracized outcasts — it can be a living hell.


‘Carrie, A Comedy'

What: Erik Jackson's comedic adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a bullied teenage girl with telekinetic powers.
When: 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
Info: 375-4477, www.thehipp.org

“Carrie, A Comedy” on stage at the Hippodrome Theatre through Nov. 4, puts a bloody spin on this springtime rite of passage marking a teen's entry into adulthood. But not to worry: Even if you're among the faint of heart who abhor horror, playwright Erik Jackson and Hippodrome artistic director Lauren Caldwell have turned Stephen King's horror classic into a campy comedy (think “Rocky Horror Picture Show”) full of black humor and fun. At last Thursday night's preview it appeared that “Carrie” had already garnered something of a cult following: A handful of audience members came dressed to kill in prom gowns, tiaras and tuxes.

Chelsea Sorenson, a University of Florida theater student making her debut on the Hippodrome stage, plays a convincing Carrie White, the clueless social misfit who has led such a sheltered home life that she thinks she's bleeding to death when she gets her first period during her first period gym class at school.

Longtime Hippodrome actress Sara Morsey is hilarious as Carrie's overprotective mother, Margaret White, who has kept her daughter in the dark about birds, bees and boys ... until now. When Margaret discovers that Carrie has started menstruating, she sends her daughter straight to the prayer closet to purge herself of sin. “First comes the blood. Then come the boys!” she wails.

University of Florida grad student Ericka Winterrowd plays bad girl Chris Hargensen, who hatches a diabolical plan to make Carrie's high school prom a night to remember.

To be sure, there's plenty of blood and gore. During the second act, the cast passes out umbrellas to those seated in the splash section. But the only real horrors in the production are the same things that provide the play's comic relief:

Those '70s styles. Costume-designer-in-residence Marilyn Wall brings back the tacky '70s in all its glory with loud prints, plaids and colors so bright they scream out for attention. You'll shudder to think that, yes, they really DID dress this way in the 1970s.

The howling sounds of '70s disco and pop rock. Although some critics wrote off the entire decade of music as some of the worst of the 20th century, during the prom scene, you may find yourself strangely possessed ... as if a She-Devil were somehow sending telekinetic messages your way, directing you to involuntarily tap your feet in your seat.

The nightmarish memories of your own high school prom. Whether you played the villain, the vixen or the victim in high school, after seeing “Carrie,” you'll wonder how you — or anyone around you — ever survived adolescence.

Now that's scary! It's prom night at the Hippodrome Theatre, so make a date to see this play. And when you go, consider dressing the part.

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