By Alexandra Cohen
NEW YORK- The much-acclaimed revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel, directed by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien and choreographed by 2018 Tony Award winner Justin Peck, of the New York City Ballet, will play its final Broadway performance at the Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street) on Sunday, September 16, 2018.
Both Richard Rodgers (1902–79) and Oscar Hammerstein (1895-1960) were born in New York City’s then-prosperous Harlem, the grandsons of European Jewish immigrants. (Rodgers’s original family name was Rogozinsky.).
Carousel actually initially premiered back in 1945. This production marks its fifth revival since then, following the tragic romance between carousel barker Billy Bigelow and mill worker Julie Jordan, along with all that ensues in their small fishing town in Maine. At its heart, although it is a love story, it is even more so a story of redemption.
The show features a catalogue of much loved musical theatre standards, including “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the latter of which brought the audience to tears after being sung by the spectacular opera singer and Tony-nominee Renée Fleming, making her Broadway debut.
Fleming, however, is not the only big name in Carousel, which is populated by Broadway veterans, including Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller (previously known for originating the role of Jewish composer/singer-songwriter Carole King in Beautiful and for starring in Waitress), Tony nominees Joshua Henry and Alexander Gemignani, and this year’s Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actress in a Musical: the divine Lindsay Mendez.
Although the beautiful music is a focal point of the show, just as important was the dancing. The male ensemble delivers a fantastic ballet performance, led by the extraordinarily talented Amar Ramasar.
Plot-wise, to offset the darkness surrounding the tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship between Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, the two protagonists, we also have a lighter storyline which comes in the form of a more comic romance between Julie’s best friend, Carrie Pipperidge (Mendez), and an ambitious fisherman named Enoch Snow.
This revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel released a new cast recording on June 8, produced by Jewish personality Steven Epstein. Andy Einhorn and Sean Patrick Flahaven serve as executive producers.
Tickets for Carousel can be purchased online at carouselbroadway.com, via Telecharge.com or by phone at 212 239 6200, or by visiting the Imperial Theatre Box.