'Carrie the Musical'

Sandi Belcher (left), of Waynesboro, portrays Margaret White and Cori McDaniel, of Staunton, is Carrie in “Carrie the Musical” this weekend at Blue Ridge Community College’s Fine Arts Center Blackbox.

The story was told in a 1974 novel by Stephen King, in a 1976 film starring Sissy Spacek, a 1988 stage production on Broadway and a film remake in 2013.

Her name is Carrie and she is coming this weekend to Blue Ridge Community College’s Fine Arts Center Blackbox in “Carrie the Musical.”

“Carrie is a beast for sure,” said Dustin Roadcap, the show’s director.

Roadcap,  a graduate of Wilson Memorial High School who lives in Waynesboro,  has been doing theater shows for 10 years.

“This is without a doubt the most technically-challenging show,” he said.

The reason for the challenge is the musical will be staged in the Fine Arts Center Blackbox at Blue Ridge, what Roadcap calls “an intimate setting.” All technical maneuvers must be pulled off while “the audience is right on top of you.”

The most challenging scene technically to stage has been raising a bucket of blood to pour on Carrie without the blood getting on the audience.

The show’s script, according to Roadcap, is rewritten from the 1988 Broadway production, but infused with social media and other modern elements to update it for 2018.

“It’s my favorite book, it’s my favorite musical,” Roadcap said.

He intentionally left certain “iconic moments” in the production to pay “homage to the [1976] film and the book as well.”

Roadcap also has a role in the show as one of the leading characters, Billy Nolan.

“One of the nasty kids who conspires to dump the blood on Carrie,” Roadcap said.

He and Bri Pursley of Staunton have been working on portraying “the most awful human beings you can imagine,” which Roadcap said can sometimes be “borderline uncomfortable.”

“It can be taxing to be so hateful all the time,” Roadcap said.

Carrie, who was portrayed by Sissy Spacek in the 1976 film, will be portrayed by Cori McDaniel of Staunton in the Blue Ridge production.

“I am so excited,” McDaniel, 26, said.

McDaniel has been performing on the stage since she was 4 years old.

She said she has been preparing for the role through numerous conversations with Roadcap about triggers that girls have who have been mentally and physically abused experience, and came up with a Carrie “to make her our own.”

“It’s definitely been one of the hardest roles that I’ve ever played ever," McDaniel said. "She’s such a complex character."

She said she hopes audience members take away something new from the story, and see “Carrie” is not just a horror story.

“We kind of view it as a tragedy of a girl who suffers from bullying,” McDaniel said.

She hopes audience members see “Carrie the Musical” is not just about blood and gore, but a reminder to be kind to others.

Sandi Belcher portrays Carrie’s mother, Margaret White, and also serves as the show’s producer.

“A lot of it is just trial and error,” Belcher said of preparing for her role as a woman who is psychotic.

However, Belcher said as she prepares for the role she hopes to create a character audience members can have sympathy for. Because Carrie’s mother is abusive to her daughter, it could be easy for audience members to dismiss her as a human being.

“The main thing I want to do is just make sure she’s not two-dimensional,” said Belcher, coordinator of Cultural Programming at BRCC’s Fine Arts Center. She wants to make sure Carrie’s mother is not just a cardboard character full of religious fanaticism on stage.

Belcher, who lives in Waynesboro and graduated from Waynesboro High School in 1978, said she thinks her character is “actually a pathetic character,” but in preparing for the role she has created a back story to explain Margaret’s behavior. Belcher believes that Margaret was raised in a very strict family, and became pregnant with Carrie when she was raped.

At one point on stage, Belcher said her character has a psychotic breakdown.

“It’s a very uncomfortable thing for anyone to watch,” Belcher said. Then, Margaret must pull herself together and sing a song about grief.

Belcher said preparing to portray Margaret has been challenging as an actress, but the breakdown scene onstage is fun because she's able to “let it all out.”

Belcher met Roadcap 10 years ago.

“And since I first met him he’s been talking about doing this show,” she said.

Everything came together at the right time for the production to be possible this fall.

“And I’m just thrilled to help him realize this dream he’s had to do this show,” Belcher said.

Roadcap designed the show’s set and produced music tracks for the show.

“I’m just very, very proud of this,” Roadcap said.

The show is recommended for mature audiences for language, sexual situations and brief violence.

As part of BRCC's 12th Annual Virginia Hunger Symposium, all proceeds will benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

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