'Carrie' is coming to Philippine stage

By Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 08 2013 11:32 PM | Updated as of Aug 09 2013 11:18 PM

Theater actress Mikkie Bradshaw as Carrie in Atlantis Productions' locol staging of the Broadway musical. -- Photo from the theater company's official Facebook page

MANILA -- Carrie, the bullied high school teenager who goes on a rampage of revenge with her telekinetic powers, is coming to the Philippine stage via Atlantis Productions' staging of the 1988 Broadway musical.

Based on the modern classic by Stephen King, "Carrie: The Musical" will be staged for the first time in the Philippines starting September 20 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati.

The play features music by Michael Gore ("Fame," "Terms of Endearment"), lyrics by Dean Pitchford ("Fame," "Footloose") and a book by Lawrence D. Cohen, who also wrote the screenplay of the Brian de Palma film released in 1976.

Revived in 2012 with revisions by the musical's original authors -- it hasn't been shown on Broadway since its debut 1988 run -- "Carrie: The Musical" is now set in the present, in the small town of Chamberlain, Maine.

The story remains intact: Carrie White, a misunderstood teen terrorized by her religious fanatic mother and bullied by her classmates, goes berserk with her supernatural abilities after being pushed to her limits.

Taking on the iconic role in the Bobby Garcia-directed local staging is Mikkie Bradshaw, whose turn as the oppressed Carrie marks her first lead role on stage.

Bradshaw, who has appeared in local versions of "Rock of Ages," "Nine," and "Disney's Alladin," considers her latest role her most challenging yet.

Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Bradshaw nonetheless said she is thrilled to take on the vocal and emotional challenge.

"I haven't done much, but I guess this will be my most challenging role yet, because it's very emotional. Vocally, it's very challenging as well. Bascially we're singing throughout the entire show.

"Apart from that, it takes you back to a place where it isn't particularly a pleasant feeling, but it should be fun and I'm excited!" she said.

Carrie's tormentors

Along with Bradshaw, headlining the cast of "Carrie" are Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo as Margaret White, Markki Stroem as Tommy Ross, Yanah Laurel as Sue Snell, and Sheila Valderrama-Martinez as Miss Gardner.

"I'm so excited because I've only heard good things about them," Bradshaw said of her co-actors. "Markki, I've seen him in his other works, and of course he's amazing."

Stroem, who started in local showbiz as a "Pilipinas Got Talent" finalist in 2010, is taking on his third role on stage as the high school star athlete and valedictorian who befriends Carrie.

"This is my first horror musical, so I'm very excited, tapos ang ganda ng role, ang galing ng cast," Stroem said.

He added he is particularly thrilled to work anew with Lauchengco-Yulo, calling her "the ultimate theater actress in the Philippines."

The actor's previous theater credits are Atlantis Productions' "Next to Normal" and Repertory Philippines' "Camp Rock: The Musical," where he played the lead roles.

Another theater newcomer joining the cast of "Carrie" is singer Garie Concepcion, the daughter of showbiz veteran Gabby Concepcion with his former partner.

Concepcion related she had already auditioned last year to be part of the musical, but didn't land a role. "I auditioned again this year, and now I feel blessed and lucky na finally I was able to get in," she said.

She added: "Try and try again. Sabi ko nga, 'Pag hindi ako nakakuha ng role this year, next year I'll try again.' I'm very happy na this year nabigyan po ako ng chance. So this is my first musical."

As Helen in "Carrie," Concepcion will be seen as one of the title character's tormentors in school.

According to Concepcion, rehearsals for the play has yet to start. But preparations have long been underway for Garcia, who said he had been "working closely" with the writers of the original production.

"They have been so generous and supportive of our production. It is a beautifully tragic retelling of the Cinderella story with an amazing Broadway pop score.

"We have assembled a fantastic cast and I can’t wait to start creating the show with all of them in the room," Garcia said.

Coinciding with the debut run of "Carrie: The Musical" in the Philippines, Atlantis Productions will also release a four-track EP of the play featuring the local cast.

The local production will run until October 6.