You’re a Broadway investor in the late 1980’s. You’re looking for a new musical to put your money into. That Les Miserables show is obviously never going to get off the ground, so you decide to choose something different.
Why not Carrie: the Musical?
Here’s the plot, for those who’ve never read the book: A shy girl that no one likes develops telekinetic powers. She is invited to the prom, but a gang of teenagers plots to debase her. Her crazed mother also tries to stop her, convinced that all boys are demons, but Carrie manages to go to the prom anyway. She is promptly humiliated, and goes on a mad rampage involving floating pointy implements.
Now picture that, with song and dance numbers!
The budget for the show was $8 million, which was quite huge for the time. There were a number of reasons for this, among them that the story was written by Stephen King. The book was a bestseller, and the film was a smash hit, so it made sense that a Broadway musical would be just as successful.
. . . and then the reviews started to come in.
They were absolutely scathing. For some reason, a girl getting doused with pig’s blood just didn’t translate to the stage very well. Perhaps it was how they tried to combine it with jazz hands and pirouettes.
The show closed after only three days. According to the New York Times, “it was the most expensive quick flop in Broadway history.” A dubious honor that will undoubtedly be taken by Cheech and Chong: The Musical at some point in the near future.