Carousel BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Julieta Cervantes
  • NY TIMES

  • VARIETY

  • DEADLINE

  • EW

  • NY 1

Opening Night:
April 12, 2018
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater: Imperial Theatre / 249 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Carousel, "one of the most hallowed works of the American stage" (The New York Times), returns to Broadway for the first time in more than two decades.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's timeless musical Carousel comes to life in a new production starring Tony Award® nominee Joshua Henry (HamiltonShuffle Along), Tony winner Jessie Mueller (BeautifulWaitress), and Renée Fleming in her first-ever appearance in a Broadway musical. Three-time Tony winner Jack O'Brien (The Front PageThe Coast of Utopia) directs, with choreography by New York City Ballet's Justin Peck.

Set in a small New England factory town, Carousel describes the tragic romance between a troubled carnival barker and the young woman who gives up everything for him. Elevated to an epic scale with a sweeping musical score and incandescent ballet sequences, this story of passion, loss and redemption introduced Broadway to a new manner of musical drama — one that "set the standard for the 20th century musical" (Time Magazine) and would captivate theatergoers for generations to come.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Carousel

    Review: A ‘Carousel’ That Spins on a Romantically Charged Axis

    Ben Brantley

    Blame it on God, or the fates, or — to use the metaphor of choice here — the stars.

    But when Billy meets Julie in the heartfelt, half-terrific revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” which opened on Thursday night at the Imperial Theater, you can tell they’ve been felled by a force beyond their comprehension or control.

    Look at the dazed, questioning expressions on the faces of Billy Bigelow (Joshua Henry), the restless carnival barker, and Julie Jordan (Jessie Mueller), the homebody mill worker, as they sing that greatest of all ballads of romantic ambivalence, “If I Loved You.” They’re scared, all right, him especially.

    You sense that if they do get together — and though they’ve just met, it’s already a done deal — it’s going to end in tears, and they know it. But to borrow a lyric from a later song in this ravishingly scored musical from 1945, “What’s the use of wond’rin’?” Erotic attraction, as cruel as it is transporting, is not to be denied.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF Carousel

    Broadway Review: ‘Carousel’ Starring Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller

    Marilyn Stasio

    Audiences encountering Joshua Henry’s electrifying performance as the charismatic but star-cursed Billy Bigelow will long remember the experience. In this new Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” Henry shows off the exceptionally beautiful voice of a genuine actor-singer, a voice that while warm and mellow, can also soar with joy and tremble in despair. Director Jack O’Brien has given us a conventional production of “Carousel,” in the sense of a show that takes no risks but preserves and protects all the original values of a great American musical.  This isn’t obvious at first glance, because Santo Loquasto has designed a breathtaking abstract vision of a carousel — complete with flying horses/dancers — to open the show. But the rest of the musical settles into visual comfort zones for scenes set along the waterfront of the 19th-century New England mill town where the show is set. Hammerstein bagged the plot from Ferenc Molnar’s “Liliom,” and while he moved the action from Budapest to Maine, he retained the original tragic love story of a young woman from a modest fishing village who falls in love with a roustabout carnival barker who moves from town to town. Here, the original contributions of Rodgers and Hammerstein are some of the musical theater’s most beautiful and enduring songs.

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  • DEADLINE REVIEW OF Carousel

    ‘Carousel’ Review: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Dark Masterpiece On Broadway, Bedazzled And Bedeviled

    Greg Evans

    Whether O’Brien and his producer Scott Rudin should have (or, for all I know, could have) tinkered in some way with this masterwork, somehow lessening carnival barker Billy’s penchant for slapping around the women in his life – and, as crucially, the women’s acceptance played as some noble marker of all-forgiving love – makes for a larger argument about art and history than I could survive without endless “but then agains.” So we’re left with a decide-for-yourself philosophical quandary about old art in a new world, and the marvelous Broadway production that raises it. Composed by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945’s Carousel, if you’ve forgotten, tells the tale of carnival barker Billy Bigelow (Henry), a lout who gets through his roustabout life on good looks, big muscles, tight sweaters and the swooning young girls who line up for a dizzying ride on his merry-go-round, double entendre fully intended.

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  • ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY REVIEW OF Carousel

    Broadway's Carousel revival doesn't work in the modern era: EW review

    Breanne L. Heldman

    Some Broadway musicals are timeless. Carousel is not one of them.
    Director Jack O’Brien’s new revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1945 smash stars several of the hottest actors currently gracing the Great White Way (Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry, for starters), features the work of a hot young choreographer in Justin Peck, and includes a number of classic songs, but none of that can make up for the show’s one key problem: The story is Just. Plain. Bad. After a very, very long “Carousel Waltz,” we’re finally introduced to millworker and “queer one” Julie Jordan (Mueller) and her friend, Carrie Pipperidge (Lindsay Mendez). Eventually, bad boy carousel barker Billy Bigelow (Henry) comes upon them, and he and Julie simultaneously lose their jobs and flirt until they sing “If I Loved You.” Then they kiss and walk offstage to get married. Time jumps three months and Julie is defending Billy to Carrie — who still hasn’t married Mr. Snow because she’s sassy yet practical — for hitting her.

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  • NY1 REVIEW OF Carousel

    Theater Review: 'Carousel'

    Roma Torre

    April 12, 2018: It's been nearly 25 years since Rodgers and Hammerstein's “Carousel” has come around on Broadway. And good reason... the last production featuring a young Audra McDonald set the bar pretty high. And while the current revival doesn't measure up in some ways, it makes up for it in others - starting with that glorious score. With an orchestra numbering more than two dozen musicians, it is pure ear candy once the overture swells. Somewhat disappointing is what meets the eye, with design elements that scream low budget. The choreographed open introducing the carousel features a single horse off to the side, and some of the costume choices were head scratching. But back to the sound. This is a beautifully sung production. All of the principal performers are in sublime voice. Let's start with Joshua Henry as anti-hero Billy Bigelow, the charismatic carnival barker who hits his adoring wife. It's a role made even more challenging in today’s cultural climate. His one shot at redemption comes at the end of the first act performing “Soliloquy,” in which the brute gets to show a heart. Henry delivers big here, bringing the house down with his commanding performance.

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