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Carrie: The Musical A Sedos Production at the Bridewell Theatre, London

How are shows put together? Interviews with directors, musical directors and members of the creative team explain just how it's done.

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal Image

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Inspired by Stephen King’s Novel

Sedos is one of London’s most talented and successful amateur theatre companies. Their latest production is “Carrie: The Musical” based on the book by Lawrence D. Cohen inspired by Stephen King’s original novel. With music by Michael Gore and lyrics by Dean Pitchford this musical will stun you to the core!

Just as you think you’ve seen the very best Sedos has to offer they give us something even better. It’s a good musical but Sedos has turned it into something extraordinary. Brilliant! The audience were gripped from the opening moment to the final curtain calls.

But as a keen theatre goer I always wonder just how did they do it?

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal Image

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Getting to know Carrie

Start by understanding Carrie. Her over-protective, extremely religious mother makes her life a misery. At school she’s bullied by the “in” crowd and almost invisible to the rest. However, Carrie has a special power and when things go too far she will use it!

Director Chris Adams Discussed the Production with HubPages

HubPages: You directed the Sedos production of “Pippin” in 2018. “Carrie” is a very different production so how does your approach differ?

CA: “Carrie” is set much more in the ‘real world’ and in the present day, while “Pippin” was a bit more of an allegorical fantasy story. This show deals much more with real people and their emotions, albeit with a supernatural twist! I think one of the reasons people love “Carrie” is that we see so much of ourselves in the characters and their plights.

Another difference is the epic staging! We are throwing everything we have at the famously epic finale, it’s a huge team effort with the cast, the lighting, sound, music, set and special effects. Hopefully it will be very memorable!

HubPages: Readers often tell me they’ve enjoyed a great show but they wonder just how do you do it? Every director will have his/her own method. How do you plot and plan?

CA: It’s almost like a giant jigsaw! It’s a combination of coming up with a creative concept for the show and sharing that with all of our talented designers and crew to bring the world of the show to life.

I like to immerse myself in any source material, like the original novel of “Carrie!”, then start thinking about each scene and character in terms of how it could translate to the stage. Then there’s the task of planning a rehearsal schedule for a giant group of people all with real-world jobs and other commitments. It can be a challenge but somehow it always seems to work out in the end!

HubPages: What were the hardest challenges for you as director?

CA: On this show, there are some dark and emotional scenes, so we always make an effort to ‘shake it off’ before we head back to our real lives! Another big challenge for all of us is the technical side – we don’t have a great deal of time in the theatre before our dress rehearsal to get everything perfect, so there is a huge amount of planning on a complex show like this. You have to hold your nerve!

HubPages: What do you feel are the most difficult aspects of this production from the cast's point of view, and how were they overcome?

CA: It has been an interesting challenge to bring Carrie’s special ‘power’ to life but I think we’ve found an interesting and creative way to do it. For the cast, there is a lot of very beautiful but challenging music in the show and some complicated scenes. The ‘bloody’ finale is definitely a challenge! It’s a moment that has overcome many previous productions of “Carrie” How do we cover our cast in sticky, slippy blood without ruining our costumes, set, microphones and everything else – then do it night after night? Wish us luck!

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Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal Image

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Musical Director Rob Archibald Discussed the Music with HubPages

HubPages: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

RA: I was a professional actor in musicals such as “Les Miserables”, “Grease”, “Batboy”, “Carousel” and “Riverdance”. I then decided to move into full-time teaching and became head of singing at Mountview, LAMDA and am now the Principal at Urdang in London.

HubPages: You appeared in the Sedos productions of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Ragtime”. Is it very difficult to move from performing to MD’ing an entire show?

RA: I have always MD’d shows since being in youth theatre as a teenager, so it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. Call me a Jack of all trades, but I love moving between performing and taking on a creative role. “Ragtime” was my first performing experience in eleven years and was so wonderful that I knew I wanted to continue with Sedos and took part in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”. I leapt at the chance to work with such an amazing production and creative team with “Carrie”, and I love the music so much that being given the chance to MD the show has been truly amazing!

HubPages: When you held the auditions were you looking for any particular vocal qualities?

RA: All of the roles in “Carrie” have very specific vocal requirements, whether it be range or timbre, so I knew there were set requirements going into auditions. There is no ensemble as such, every role has solo lines and features, so my main objective was to bring together a group of performers who could not only tackle the vocal demands, but could also blend vocally and create an ensemble sound that was exciting and dynamic.

HubPages: Were there any especially tricky musical challenges in this show?

RA: I like to term the vocal style of “Carrie” as Poperetta! There are so many different styles of music from pop to operatic; it’s a treasure chest of music. The vocal arrangements are very intricate and every member of the cast has their own harmony/vocal line to learn. There are no ‘block’ harmonies as such, which makes the score really come alive and sound complex. This is what gives the music its life and ensures that the composer’s music is fresh and exciting. The opening song ‘In’ is one of the toughest pieces I’ve ever had to teach… over five minutes of ensemble singing with eleven individual vocal lines! The cast have done an amazing job learning it all, I don’t envy them!

HubPages: Rehearsals for all shows are hard work but great fun. What is your favourite thing about music rehearsals at Sedos?

RA: My favourite thing would have to be hearing the cast come together over the rehearsal period to create a truly wonderful ensemble sound. I am big on laughter in life, and try to always ensure that all of the hard work is equally matched by lots of laughter and games in our downtime! Sedos attracts such an amazing array of talent through its doors, and it has been humbling watching regular members welcome new members and everyone working together to create an amazing piece of theatre.

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal Image

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

Carrie: The Musical. Rehearsal image by David Ovenden, Sedos 2022. All rights reserved.

More to Come

Sedos will end 2022 with “Amadeus” showing from 23rd November – 3rd December 2022. Their plans for 2023 include:

  • “The Effect” – 21st-25th March 2023
  • “Sunshine on Leith” – 10th-20th May 2023
  • “Sondheim on Sondheim” – 4th-8th July 2023
  • “The Lights O’ London” – 26th-30th September 2023
  • “Titanic” - 22nd November-2nd December 2023

In addition to fully-staged shows, the company provides numerous opportunities such as their dance class Sedance, their improv group Simprov, and workshop productions including Play in a Day and Musical in a Weekend.

Further information about Sedos events and performances can be obtained from their website. “Carrie: The Musical” plays at the Bridewell Theatre until 29th October 2022.

Finding The Bridewell Theatre

© 2022 Frances Spiegel

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