06 /28/12 In 1999, Time Magazine called Carousel ‘the greatest musical of the 20th century.’ On July 4-14, the Wagon Wheel Theatre celebrates this timeless Rodgers and Hammerstein classic. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Broadway’s pioneers, accumulated 34 Tonys, 15 Academy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and two Grammys. Carousel is considered their crowning achievement.
Carousel takes place in a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naïve millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant. Desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent “up there.” Billy is permitted to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love. It’s easy to understand why, of all the shows they created, Carousel was Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s personal favorite.
The show is provocative and profound, deeply moving and transcends generations; what live theater is all about. Come see it with someone you love. Tickets range from $16-$34. Discounts are available for college students and on designated performances for seniors. For more information visit wagonwheeltheatre.org or call 574-267-8041.
Pictured: Katie Yokom (Julie Jordan) and Matthew Janisse (Billy Bigelow)