Anna's Review of 'Carrie'

As a perpetual optimist and someone who has either been in or seen nearly every Scotch’n’Soda production in the last two-and-a-half years, I feel very qualified in saying that “Carrie,” Scotch’s October musical, was the best production I’ve seen from Scotch (with “Clue” coming in as a close second). Never in my life have I had chills for such an extended period of time as I did between the first and last notes sung by Carrie (played by first year Jacqueline Germer). I want to pay tribute to her first sung line: “That’s not my name,” with the word “name” held in an exquisite belt for longer than my fragile brain could withstand. My jaw dropped. My hands started to shake. From that point until the end of the show, Jacqueline gave the most awe-inspiring, authentic, and gorgeous performance I maybe have ever seen ever. It was certainly the most impactful.

What made it impactful, I think, is what made “Carrie” such a good show overall. It was terrifying but beautiful at the same time, convincing because high school was not so far away for some of us, and full to bursting with good and interesting music. The story is simple: a girl is bullied at school, but little does everyone know that she has secret telekinetic powers and her mother is a religious fanatic. The relationship between Carrie and her mother is hard to categorize, except that it's defined entirely by a fear of God, of each other, and of the world. There is hate and love in equal measure. And when there’s hate, Carrie gets so angry that she can open and close windows using only her mind.

It’s intentionally creepy, but the music, under the direction of Chris Renaud '26 and Trey Dubose '25, made everything downright bone chilling. There were harmonies befitting an opera, with actors hitting lofty notes that made my ears sing. The entire concept of the show was tied together by music in the style of '80s rock ballads that was tinted with very dramatic strings. Everything about this show was so intense; you could sense the emotions of the characters creating tensions as a mounting sense of doom crept over the entire audience.

I won’t spoil the ending for those who are interested in watching either of the movie adaptations or reading the book, but suffice to say that I was nervous about the technical needs of producing “Carrie,” between the telekinesis and the blood required for some scenes. But, as usual, Scotch’n’Soda completely nailed it, along with a convincing set that made me feel like I was right in a suburban high school in the '80s. There were windows that shut on their own and objects that seemed to levitate in place. There was a balloon arch for prom. There was even a special turning set piece that transformed the setting into Carrie’s house seamlessly.

What made “Carrie” truly special to watch, though, were the actors. I might be biased by knowing some of them from past productions, but I really felt like “Carrie” created a space for Scotch’n’Soda actors to shine in a unique way. Sophomore Lillian McDermott, who played Carrie’s mother, showed off a terrifying side of herself and her tremendous voice in her role. I was so scared of her, but so in awe of her at the same time. I imagine it was a hard role to play, one in which she caused so much harm to Carrie. It felt like an honor to watch her open herself up in such a difficult and vulnerable way.

First years Adriana Holtzman and Chase Crandall played a delightful Sue and Tommy, a couple learning and growing together in genuine kindness. The characters themselves were so interesting to watch, with their relationship developing as Tommy helped Sue figure out how to be the type of good person she wanted to be, while her friends mercilessly teased Carrie. They had a specific archetype that I’d never seen before, and Adrianna and Chase pulled it off with the perfect level of softness. Adrianna’s voice served as a stunning narration for the entire show, while Chase inspired all of us with his bravery by defying his cool-kid-jock character and becoming a writer with a big heart. It was such a pleasure to watch them, both individually and together.

As an ensemble alumna myself, I am always so happy to see how the ensemble sets the tone of the show, in this case, creating a cast of perfect teenager-y monsters who just wanted to bully someone and go to prom. Choreography, vocals, really everything about this show was fun to watch, even lighting. I could tell that the actors were having fun and that they were giving everything they had to their performances. I had no idea I would feel the way I did after the show was over, and I felt truly lucky to have gotten to see something so wonderful be done by a group of people who cared about it so much.