(Sydney White (centre), playing the role of Carrie White, the protagonist, in Cardinal Music Productions presentation of Carrie The Musical, is surrounded by some of her high school classmates, on the play’s opening night at the Green Room Theatre at E.J. Lajeunesse High School in Windsor, Ontario, on Friday, July 5, 2019. Photo above by Robert Tuomi / Eyes On Windsor.)
It may not sound quite right, but Cardinal Music Productions presentation of horror master Stephen King’s Carrie the Musical, serves up a spectacular sequence of songs and dances with a cast, nineteen voices strong, who move about the stage in perfect choreography and gather for various rousing chorus numbers.
Then there are the solos that soar aptly and sensationally sung by Carrie White herself, played by the highly impressive Sydney White, and school mates the stalwart Nick Palazzolo, in the role of Tommy Ross, and the statuesque Regan White as Sue Snell.
Carrie’s story is one of sadness, the odd person out, the whipping girl for her whole high school. This is dramatically illustrated by her first period happening in a gym shower room. That she doesn’t fully understand her womanhood makes her the subject of school scuttlebutt and innumerable jokes.
But she is different. She not only has resolve but discovers a significant telekinetic ability. With this power, when push comes to shove, she will deliver the ultimate revenge.
But before that happens, the story follows her transformation from outcast to prom queen. Director Joe Cardinal tells Eyes On Windsor the play is really mostly about the music and, to be honest, musicals are not usually scary, so there is much to enjoy as the plot progresses to the point Carrie’s circumstances change so much she turns up at the prom on the arms of Tommy.
The reason for the connection between the two is a pang of conscience on the part of Sue, Tommy’s girlfriend and love interest. Carrie’s treatment by her peers upsets Sue to no end, enough to convince Tommy to be Carrie’s prom escort. The day before, in a heartwarming scene, Tommy recreates the prom solely for Sue.
Her decision to give up her prom might well have been a stroke of genius, at least on the part of Stephen King in a classic King turn of events.
Like any good story there are indications of what is to come. In Carrie, a recurring scene has Sue being interrogated for what happened at the prom after Carrie and Ross are crowned the night’s royal couple and after a little something orchestrated by Carrie’s nemesis Chris Hargensen. It bears asking why one of the school’s “it” girls would even care about a loser like Carrie. It is a good question. The answer lies in the particular arrogance of Chris’ personality, a role Serena Barr plays with considerable passion and some very good dance moves.
Carrie, it turns out, is probably the reason Chris is forbidden from attending the prom with her beau Billy Nolan, a part taken on by Owen Bortolin. Revenge is about to be served, but it will meet its match.
What happens at the prom takes the play into a dark corner of Stephen King’s world which plays out amid particularly accentuated lighting and super charged emotions making for a less than predictable ending and a good reason to take in this worthy effort just to see how it turns out.
Carrie, The Musical, is directed by Joseph Anthony Cardinal, the principal of Cardinal Music Productions, now in its fifteenth year of delivering outstanding performances. Drew Beaudoin handles musical direction while Nina Clare Fasullo is the master choreographer who plotted to perfection the frenzy of action on the stage.
The play adapted from Stephen King’s horror novel and will run in the Green Room Theatre at E.J. Lajeunesse High School at 600 E.C. Row Avenue W, on July 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, & 14. Shows take place at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday. Tickets are $25 for general seating and available at the Cardinal Music box office at 2569-B Jefferson Blvd. or by calling 519-944-5800.
Article by Robert Tuomi
For over a decade, Robert has covered local news and community events. Initially as a contributor to CBC Radio’s local morning show and then as the long-time producer and host of CJAM’s The Rest of the News and as a journalist at the Windsor Square. A graduate of the Nikon School of Photography he enjoys illustrating his reports with what he sees through his camera’s lens.