Today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Many people will probably be marking today by interacting with some sort of media based on one of the most tragic stories of the century. It tugs at our heart strings, it fills us with dread, and challenges our intellect as we attempt to understand why it happened. It seems so natural we should turn to the arts to help us process this, for as librettist Peter Stone said, “It’s one of those rare moments in history which has a beginning, middle and end.” And while many of you may be familiar with the James Cameron movie (which I must admit I’ve never seen all the way through, but seen lots of bits on the telly), I want to introduce you to a musical version of the tale that debuted in the same year as that colossal film, music & lyrics by Maury Yeston, book by Peter Stone.
This is the second in a series of blogs based around returning to themes and ideas I discussed in my earlier blogs.
In a very early post of mine, I ranted and railed at the fact that Jerry Herman had not yet received a Kennedy Center Honor. I was besot with frustration. At the time, I was rather obsessed with his music, and to this day I hold his work in high regard.
Well, it came to attention recently that he has finally achieved that honor, and this has completely mollified my inner hormonal teenage nerd. I sought out the Jerry Herman section of the celebration. I was absolutely blown away by how exciting the videos were. Jerry Herman is a legend, and an inspiration, and it was wonderful to see him so honored.
Pleased to be enjoying,
WARNING: This post contains spoilers concerning the plot of “Carrie,” but unless you live under a rock, it’s nothing you don’t already know.
I have always had a special affinity for the story of Carrie White, a tortured teenager who eventually rains terror upon her mocking classmates, pious mother, and apathetic town. Perhaps this affinity comes from knowing how similar my story would be if only my menstrual cycle had activated my telekinetic abilities. Sigh.
Having recently finished the novel, I can say it was everything I had hoped for and more. This was my first time reading Stephen King, and I anticipate that it will not be the last. The book moved me in a way few others have. I found myself having to put the book away because it upset me too much to continue. The picture he paints of pain, rage, and panic is horrible and vivid. I think it should be required reading upon entrance of Middle School. “Here’s what you can expect, try not to burn down the village.”
Here’s a video of Stephen King talking about “Carrie.”
My first proper encounter with the story of “Carrie” came in the form of (surprise, surprise) the musical version from the 1980′s. This musical is perhaps of one of the most decried plays in recent theatrical history. Poor directorial and design choices sunk what was at least a decent show, with moments of sheer brilliance. To give you a taste of what I mean, check out the song “And Eve Was Weak, ” sung by Carrie’s mother after Carrie gets her first period.
It saddens me to see such dramatic, moving music tucked away from the rest of the world where only theatre rats like me can find it. It also saddens me when I hear people react to the the mere idea of “Carrie The Musical.”
Musicals are not just about lovers singing about clams and flowers. Thankfully, movies like “Chicago” and “Sweeney Todd” have begun to alter this opinion. Unfortunately, misconceptions about what art forms can do are everywhere.
Some think books boring, comics lowbrow, theatre boring, television dumb, painting pointless, etc. What can we do to break down these barriers and help us to see the limitless potential art in every form? Perhaps it’s just a simple matter of stepping outside of our comfort zones, and giving something a second chance.
What don’t you see the potential in? Why not give a shot?