Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Bloody Well Right: At Open Stage, the horror of high school gets musical with “Carrie.”

Photo by Haley Harned.

The theme of Season 33 at Open Stage of Harrisburg is “Coming of Age,” and kicking it off is a show with that theme at its heart: “Carrie: The Musical.”

Based on the novel by Stephen King, “Carrie” features a book by Lawrence D. Cohen (screenwriter of the classic film), music by Academy Award-winner Michael Gore, and lyrics by Academy Award-winner Dean Pitchford.

With a season focusing on giving voice to the youth that yearn to be heard, Carrie White’s story is the perfect start. A misfit in high school, she is relentlessly bullied by popular kids, while, at home, she’s at the mercy of her cruel, overprotective mother. Carrie’s story unfolds through a pop/rock score as she discovers her special power—and everyone who has ever slighted her, and even those who love her most, had better watch out.

“I think audiences will be surprised by the music in ‘Carrie,’” said Vanessa Marie Hofer, who portrays Sue Snell. “I know I was. The music combined with the action-driven plot is what makes this particular piece a must-see.”

Audiences will experience plenty of theater magic as the fantastical elements of “Carrie” are brought to life at Open Stage.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of bringing horror to the stage,” said Director Stuart Landon. “How do you make something scary on stage? How do you create tension when you don’t have crazy camera angles and extreme close-ups?”

However, the story of “Carrie” is much more than jump scares and gore. It’s a story of growing up, of realizing that what we think we know about someone isn’t necessarily true, and of recognizing the impact of one small act of kindness.

“I think this show is all about really seeing people—what is our responsibility to our fellow humans?” said Landon. “In the musical, Sue Snell asks, ‘What does it cost to be kind?’ and I think we can all benefit by asking that question.”

Kayla Brooks, who portrays Carrie, agrees and thinks that audience members shouldn’t be put off by the genre.

“This story is one of my favorites in the horror genre, but, whether or not you like horror, I think you should come see the show,” she said. “There are so many morals that come from daily life at school, which is one of the best parts of the story.”

Hofer’s character, Sue, provides most of the morality that softens a hard-edged show.

“I love that my character brings some love and soul and good intentions,” she said. “She provides some balance and hope in an ever-escalating negative situation.”

Landon, a fan of both scary movies and musicals, is excited about directing this unique piece of theater.

“This musical adaptation of Stephen King’s first published novel is fun and frightening,” said Landon. “The music is great and our cast is outstanding. King’s cautionary tale translates well in this adaptation, which was reworked in 2012.”

Whether book, movie or musical, “Carrie” is a tale about what happens when we underestimate the power we hold within.

“This is going to be a bloody good time,” said Landon.

The cast of “Carrie” also features Maggie Haynes, Ian Wallace, Brad Barkdoll, Alexis Dow Campbell, Rachel Landon, Chris Gibson, Benny Benamati, Amanda Adams, Shakeil Kanishl, Elena Rossetto and Erin Shellenberger.

“Carrie” runs Sept. 29 to Oct. 20 at Open Stage of Harrisburg, 25 N. Court St., Harrisburg. Tickets are available at It is recommended that guests be at least 14 years of age to attend “Carrie.”



At Gamut Theatre

The Popcorn Hat Players Present
Sept. 12-22
Saturdays at 1 p.m.
Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. available by request for groups of 20 or more.
Tickets are $8 and can be purchased online at or at the door.

At Open Stage of Harrisburg

Teen Studio Acting Class
Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. starting Sept. 23
Acting classes for kids ages 14 to 19 that culminate in a fully produced production of “Rent.” Enrollment is open now at

OSHKids Performance Company
“A Wrinkle in Time”
Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m., starting Sept. 23
Acting classes for kids ages 8 to 13 that culminate in a fully produced production of “A Wrinkle in Time.” Enrollment is open at

“Carrie the Musical”
Sept. 29 to Oct. 20
Based on Stephen King’s infamous novel of revenge, this pop musical opens Season 33 at Open Stage.


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