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What Were They Thinking? Carrie, from Book to Movie to Musical

By Lawrence D. Cohen

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Applause Books. Softcover. Published by Applause Books (HL.110285).

Item Number: HL.110285

ISBN 147687462X. 6x9 inches.

What Were They Thinking: Carrie, from Book to Movie to Musical is an intensely personal chronicle, tracking Lawrence Cohen's almost four-decade history with Stephen King's classic fable, from reading the manuscript in 1973 while a reader for producer David Susskind, to writing the screenplay for the classic 1976 Brian de Palma film, from deciding to turn it into a musical (1984) to the controversial Royal Shakespeare Company and legendary Broadway production that crashed and burned (1988), to collaborating on its rebirth and resurrection Off-Broadway for MCC Theater in 2012.

Rarely has a theatrical account been so first person and insider based-naming names, telling never-before-told stories, and revealing what its creators were thinking. Passionate and visceral, it provides a highly informative and educational behind-the-scenes look into just how musicals are written and put together.

How did a show that even its harshest critic, Frank Rich, admitted “was a workable idea for a musical” and Ken Mandelbaum argued was “salvageable” go so far off track? How did an Oscar-winning composer and lyricist, plus the award-nominated screenwriter of the original film, mess up so badly? How did a musical that the world-renowned Royal Shakespeare Company chose as its follow-up to Les Misérables become such a train wreck? What were they thinking?

Follow the journey from its inception to its resurrection-thirteen theater award nominations; an award for Best Revival; the release of a long-awaited cast recording; and licensing by Rodgers and Hammerstein allowing Carrie to enter the global theater repertoire. Talk about a miracle and a happy ending.

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