UND Theatre puts on Carrie: The Musical 

Claire Arneson, Editor

This past weekend was the last showing of the University of North Dakota’s production of Carrie: The Musical. The Burtness Theatre once again hosted many students, staff, and members of the Grand Forks community and put on a show we will never forget. The musical was originally composed by Michael Gore, with lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and is based on the famous novel by Stephen King. Along with a book and a musical, the story can also be viewed via film. There are two versions of the film. The first came out in 1976, and the second came out in 2013. If you have not seen this chilling movie or if you are in for a fright this holiday season, I recommend giving it a watch.  


In a brief summary, the story follows a young girl named Carrie as she is trying to navigate high school as an outcast. Her mother has raised her extremely religiously and has sheltered Carrie from many parts of life. As Carrie learns how to work her way through high school the hard way, she notices that she has started to develop a unique skill, telekinesis, which is the ability to move objects with her mind. As her powers grow, the school bully does what bullies do and everything goes downhill on prom night, “a night we’ll never forget.”  


The director of the UND show, Emily Wirkus, gives a brief summary of the show in her director’s notes. She also asks many questions for the audience to consider at this time. For example, she says “our mind has the capacity to create pictures, project our worst fears and anxieties, and haunt us for decades over regret if we let it. And most important of all begs the question – what does it really cost to be kind” (Wirkus, 2022). She goes on to talk about how all of the work that was put into the musical was orientated around teamwork. Many cast members had many different jobs to bring this musical to life, or back from the dead.  


Overall, the musical was enjoyable! I went in with low expectations but was amazed by the talent that encompassed the cast. The highlight of the show was definitely Carrie herself! Carrie, played by Stevee Wittlieb, was truly the embodiment of the character from the 1976 film. Her acting alone was amazing, and her body language and talking voice seemed identical to the film (I love Carrie). Her singing was perfect and a good reflection of what the character goes through. Another stand-out character was Chris Hargensen, the high school bully. Kylee Gifford played this part to a T, which definitely made the show!  


Although there were some times when my attention was at a standstill, the Burtness has once again put on a pleasant production! If you are looking for something to do on a lonely night or you are forced to attend a showing for a theatre class, check out UND’s theater productions for yourself. Their next shows include Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith and The Conference of the Birds by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carriere. They will be showing from February 28th-March 4th 2023, and April 18-22nd 2023.  


Claire Arneson is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].