Theatre Review:
'Carrie: The Musical' by Peake Players and Church Hill Theatre at Chesapeake College

Shannon Whitaker as Carrie. Photo by Randy Bachand.

In the title role as Carrie is Shannon Whitaker who nailed every song with her powerful voice and made the audience care about her because of her tender heart. Maureen Curtin as her mother, Margaret, a religious zealot, was suitably smothering of her daughter, abusing her emotionally and physically.  Maureen Curtin was also strong vocally, reaching beautifully haunting high and low notes.

Other roles include a kind and strong Jacob Wheatley as Sue’s boyfriend Tommy, a compassionate and all together good Samantha Smith as Miss Gardner, the P.E. teacher, and an easygoing James Kaplanges as Mr. Stephens, a teacher who has little control over the classroom and eventually himself.

A few elements in the production could use some more tweaking and support, such as the rustling of body microphones frequently being heard over the speakers, a sparse and unappealing set, and the over-staging of the ensemble, which was, at times, too entertaining and distracting, causing them to upstage and draw focus away from the main action in the scene.

Music director and pianist William Thomas leads the much appreciated live orchestra, which includes Gary Caffrey on guitar, Tom Anthony on bass, and Ray Anthony on drums.  Choreographer Evelyn Paddy does a fine job at highlighting a couple of featured dancers in the musical, as well as creating fun dance moves for the entire cast to enjoy.

Director Robert Thompson sums up the importance of the story by saying, “The true hope of ‘Carrie’ is that by reaching out to the most vulnerable among us with love and compassion, we can dispel the looming shadows threatening to overwhelm and destroy us.”

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours with one intermission.

Advisory: Violence and adult language.

“Carrie: The Musical” plays through November 12, 2017.  For more information, visit online.