Richard Rodgers once wrote that of all the musicals he wrote, Carousel was his personal favorite. This iconic American classic features some of the most powerful music ever written for the stage, including “If I Loved You”, “Mister Snow”, “June is Bustin Out All Over” and the iconic “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Carousel was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s second collaboration, and was adapted from Ferenc Molnar’s 1909 play Lilliom. They transferred the Budapest setting of Lilliom to the New England coastline, where Carousel takes place. The story tells of charming, roguish carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, and mill worker Julie Jordan, both loners, who meet and fall in love. Their marriage ends up costing both their jobs, and things go downhill from there. Billy’s desperation makes him violent against those he loves most, and drives him to commit crimes in order to provide for his family. When Billy falls in with con-man Jigger Craigin, he ends up getting caught in the midst of an armed robbery and takes his own life. Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. Louise is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father's reputation 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 love’s transcendence. Voted the best musical of the 20th century by Time Magazine, Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s Carousel is the classic American musical, spanning heaven and earth in its exploration of human frailty, resilience, and the power of forgiveness.
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