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I probably would not have seen Carrie, had it not turned up on my MCC subscription. I was dubious that a musical version of Stephen King's novel could be an improvement over the 1976 film. Apparently it wasn't: the 1988 musical closed after five performances. The creators (Michael Gore, music; Dean Pitchford, lyrics; Lawrence D. Cohen, book) recently decided to give it another go in a downsized off-Broadway version, now in previews at the Lucille Lortel, that lowers the gore quotient and emphasizes the relationship between Carrie (Molly Ranson) and her mother Margaret (Marin Mazzie). The two leads do not disappoint: they make good use of their vocal and dramatic skills to flesh out their roles. The other characters are little more than stereotypes. The set, by David Zinn, is basically a bare stage and some metal chairs, with ample use of projections and lighting to differentiate settings. The special effects, to put it politely, are extremely modest. The choreography, by Matt Williams, is twitchy and generic. And then there are the songs ... I knew right away that this was not my kind of music. The melodies are rudimentary and the lyrics, often simplistic. Only in the mother-daughter scenes did the show really come to life. It's not awful, just not artful. Stafford Arima directed. Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission.