I got to do a little interview with Playbill on opening night of Carrie! Check out the article to get some behind the scene perspective on the immersive experience and the process of the production. Also - The reviews are in! Carrie's a hit, you guys. I am beyond thrilled by the positive feedback. You can track all of our reviews at Bitter Lemons. In the meantime, here's what they've been saying:
"Kayla Parker’s 'Sue' is similarly awesome as the affable girl next door with a conscience lacking in many of her compatriots at school. Her declaration 'Once You See' is musical dynamite conveyed with the high-caliber urgency of a girl shaken into understanding the error of her callow, shallow ways. Joining her is Jon Robert Hall as Sue’s boyfriend, 'Tommy'—the lad whom she talks into being Carrie’s date. Together they make the kind of handsome, wholesome 'dream couple' we all wish we had been a part of back in our own high school days. Hall too, has a clean, expressive vocal styling. With Parker, their romantic duet 'You Shine' (as Tommy wishes he could take his lady-love to the Prom instead) also rates a giant thumbs up!"
- Leo Buck, Buck-ing Trends
"The showmanship of this “Carrie” isn’t found only in the special effects, but also in the fiery performances of the Michael Gore/Dean Pitchford score (primarily from Emily Lopez as Carrie, Misty Cotton as her mom and Kayla Parker as her one sympathetic peer) and in Lee Martino’s dynamic teen-spirit choreography."
- Don Shirley, LA Observed
"Parker and Hall make a very effective couple, trying to help Carrie to fit in... Everyone are triple threat performers donning the acting, singing and dancing caps with finesse."
- Don Grigware, Broadwayworld
"Kayla Parker, excellent as good girl Sue Snell, narrates the events leading up to the fatal prom and realizes too late that 'Once You See' you can never un-see what your actions have done."
- Ellen Dostal, Musicals in LA
"As you enter what looks to be the gymnasium, you notice a lone, petite female figure smack dab in the center of the room, seated uncomfortably on a school desk chair, squirming and convulsing in deep-seeded pain. Clearly a high school student, she continues to writhe in her chair, anxious and disturbed while ignoring every passerby rushing to take their seats before the official start of the show... Once the show begins, we learn that the squirmy girl in the chair is Sue Snell (the intriguing Kayla Parker), the lone survivor of that bloody massacre... Of course, I cannot stress enough how enthralling it is to witness—in such close proximity to boot—the talents of these spectacular singer-actors, particularly Randall, Parker, Curiel, and, of course, Lopez, and the standout Ms. Cotton. I’ll watch—and listen—to these ladies in anything, frankly. Luckily for these audiences, they came together here conveniently in such a spellbinding production."
- Michael L. Quintos, Onstage
"Next we turn to Kayla Parker as Sue and Jon Robert Hall as Tommy. These were the two characters who tried, perhaps too late, to see the good in Carrie. Both gave touching and believable performances and sang beautifully — again, they had the voices to overcome the problems with the speakers. Especially touching was Parker’s 'Once You See' and Halls’ 'Dreamer in Disguise'."
- Daniel Faigin, Observations Along The Road
"Kayla Parker is a sublimely lovely Sue, whose innate goodness meets its match in Valerie Rose Curiel’s mean-girl-to-the-max performance as Chris. Both young triple-threats are stars on the rise who can sing, dance, and act in equal measure..."
- Steven Stanley, Stage Scene LA
"Kayla Parker’s Sue Snell is the character we are first introduced to in the show and she does a great job of walking both the pre and post-prom worlds. Her character is also sympathetic to Carrie and, in terms of the story, has a lot to feel guilty about when all is said and done... In fact, I would say Kayla Parker and Jon Robert Hall’s characters are the most “real” of any of those in the story – middle of the road kids who feel for what Carrie is going through, they try to make things right, but also are going through their own issues."
- Gaming Shogun
"Kayla Parker and Jon Robert Hall deliver potent, real performances as Sue and Tommy, the young couple who feel a connection with Carrie and who try to show her friendship and compassion. Parker’s Sue is a perky everygirl who delivers a powerful solo in 'Once You See.' Hall’s gangly Tommy is kind and unassuming, daringly showing his classmates his softer side when he reads/sings 'Dreamer in Disguise,' a poem he wrote. His moments with Parker’s Sue are sweetly awkward."
- Eric Merchese, OC Register
"The resulting tale of teen angst and revenge is powerful, compelling theater at its best. 'Carrie the Musical,' in its local premiere at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, is a sensational production – yet not because of sensationalism... There is strong supporting work, including Kayla Parker as nice girl Sue..."
- David C. Nichols, LA Times
"The supporting cast includes Kayla Parker as nice girl Sue Snell, and Jon Robert Hall as her heartthrob boyfriend Tommy Ross. The pair represent the "good guys" and find themselves in the vast minority in a school that seems to be overflowing with bullies. I appreciated the time devoted to showing the chemistry and true love these two characters shared with each other, which is rare to find at such a young age. The compassion they show for Carrie, and the adoration they show for each other, makes their fate absolutely heart-wrenching."
- Michelle Sandoval, Edge San Diego
"The cast all performed beautifully, with particularly strong vocal performances from Lopez, Cotton, and Parker..."
- Renee Camus, Reel Life With Jane
"There are Sue Snell (Kayla Parker) and Tommy Ross (Jon Robert Hall) who are the popular, but good at heart kids. Parker and Hall are each incredibly likeable and good-looking. With their lovely voices and charming chemistry, they make "You Shine" one of the loveliest and most tender moments of the evening."
- Bicoastal Mama
"This show is blasphemous to the Catholic Church."
- Unknown, A pissed off audience member
"This show was worth an hour and a half on the 5."
- Stephen Schwartz, Actual direct quote of award winning composer