Posted March 25, 2024

High-Energy Thriller Comes to TheatreZone with Carrie: The Musical

Stephen King’s Tale of Horror and Dark Humor Embraces Bullying, Coming-of-Age Themes

Carrie: The Musical, the thriller based on Stephen King’s first published novel, is coming to TheatreZone Thursday, April 25. Set in the present in the small New England town of Chamberlain, Maine, Carrie is a multi-layered coming-of-age story dealing with feelings of isolation, bullying and religious fanaticism.

Carrie is a high-energy thriller based on an iconic book and film with all the horror and dark humor of Stephen King’s novel,” said TheatreZone founder and artistic director, Mark Danni. “Audiences familiar with the book and film will be on the edges of their seats with our highly dramatic production about the plight of a misfit with a unique gift.”

Carrie White, played by Keeley Pendergrass, is repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother, Margaret White (McLean Peterson). She is tormented by her peers at school for being different, despite the understanding and sympathy of a teacher, Miss Gardener (Jennifer Wingerter). Her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic and violent confrontation during the senior prom, when an unimaginably cruel joke is played on her.

The bullying of Carrie is led by the high school queen Chris Hargensen (Grace Fluharty), and schoolmate Billy Nolan (Bobby MacDonell). The story is narrated by the cross examination of Sue Snell (Brianna Bauch), who discovers compassion and empathy for Carrie — too late.

Carrie’s otherness is amplified when she finds that she can move things with her mind, called telekinesis. She represses her telekinesis, but it is discovered by her mother who views the telekinesis as punishment for sin.

“What does it cost to be kind,” a lyric in the musical, serves as a mantra for the story, examining the way people treat each other and how a choice can make a difference in someone’s life.

Music is by Academy Award winner Michael Gore (Fame, Terms of Endearment), with lyrics by Academy Award winner Dean Pitchford (Fame, Footloose).

“Carrie is a powerful, modern, pop-rock musical with amazing ballads and energizing moments,” remarked Danni. He shared that, “The composers integrate high energy pop songs for the ensemble with more power ballads for the mother-daughter relationship.”

The band is led by Music Director Charles Fornara and features seven musicians who play keyboards, bass, drums, guitars, and cello.

The show is directed by Mark Danni with choreography handled by TheatreZone’s Associate Artistic Director Karen Molnar Danni.

Carrie: The Musical will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 25-28 and May 2-5, and at 2 p.m. April 27-28 and May 5. The musical is sponsored by Garage Doors of Naples.

Tickets are $50, $65 or $85, depending on seat selection.

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Meet the Cast

On Thursday, May 2, the second Thursday of the Carrie production, TheatreZone will host a Talkback after the show. Performers, directors and designers gather on stage for candid Q&A with the audience. There is no charge for the Talkback and wine and snacks are available at the honor bar.

Left: Keeley Pendergrass, Right: McLean Peterson

The seven principal actors in Carrie: The Musical are musical theatre professionals who auditioned for director Mark Danni in the summer of 2023 in Naples and New York City.

Carrie White: Keeley Pendergrass, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, has been performing since five years old and attended a performing arts high school. She previously worked with Mark Danni in TheatreZone’s 2023 production of Heathers. “It was Keeley’s acting that really was incredible. She brought the true essence of Carrie to her scenes. She showed vulnerability but also strength, shyness yet also power. She was riveting in her audition and won the role over many others who auditioned in New York City and Florida,” said Danni.

Margaret White: McLean Peterson is making her TheatreZone debut in Carrie. She is an actor and filmmaker based in New York City. She recently directed, produced and starred in the short film Tape, which premiered at the New York City Horror Film Festival in 2023.

Left: Brianna Bauch, Right: Ben Bailey, Middle: Grace Fluharty

Sue Snell: Brianna Bauch is also making her TheatreZone debut in Carrie. The actor is based in Danbury, Connecticut. Her recent credits include a major role in Jersey Boys (a 2025 TheatreZone production) which earned her critical acclaim for her “crystal clear refinement, insight, sexiness and rattle” in Take 2.

Tommy Ross: Ben Bailey will be making his TheatreZone debut in Carrie. He is currently based at Disney World as an Equity principal actor in the Frozen Sing-Along. He was also part of the opening of the 48-hour immersive show, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.

Chris Hargensen: Grace Fluharty is based in New York City and is a recent Marymount Manhattan College graduate whose professional credits include roles in Street Life and the Sondheim Tribute Revue. Her film credits include roles in Uptown Girlz and Narcissists in New York City.

Left: Jennifer Wingerter, Right: Bobby MacDonell

Miss Gardner: Jennifer Wingerter is making her third appearance in a TheatreZone show this season; she formerly performed in Home for the Holidays and as Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet. She has performed throughout the world on the national tour of Mamma Mia! Other roles include Mrs. Walker in The Who’s Tommy, Anytime Annie in 42nd Street, and Mille in Thoroughly Modern Millie. She grew up in the Midwest and spent the majority of her career in New York City, graduating from the NYC Tisch School of the Arts and studying at the Stella Adler Conservatory among other theatre organizations. She is now based in Florida.

Billy Nolan: Bobby MacDonell has most recently been featured as a guest entertainer on cruise ships in shows including Saturday Night Fever (Royal Caribbean International), Boy Band Evolution (Celebrity Cruises/Holland America), and NYC3 (Celebrity Cruises). In New York City, MacDonell’s resume includes Sugar. Regionally, he has performed in 42nd Street, Altar Boyz, Kinky Boots, and White Christmas. He earned a BFA at the University of Buffalo.

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