Carousel, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, April 18 to 21
Stephen Tearle as Billy Bigelow in Carousel
ANN McCreadie is producing Carousel for the first time for New Earswick Musical Society.
“It has given me the great opportunity of rediscovering this Rodgers and Hammerstein classic,” says Ann, who is also choreographing the April 18 to 21 show.
“I’ve had the benefit of the experienced stage hands in Jo Pears and Stephen Tearle in the leading roles of Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, along with the chance of developing talented, enthusiastic but less experienced members in Perri Barley as Carrie Pipperidge, Andy Stone as Mr Enoch Snow and Tim Richardson as Jigger.”
First staged on Broadway in 1945, the musical revolves around Billy Bigelow, a carousel barker with a reputation for romancing the girls who visit the carousel.
An encounter with mill worker Julie Jordan, who Billy finds particularly beguiling, leads both of them to lose their jobs. They marry but it is a difficult union, with love seemingly only travelling in one direction.
Penniless and jobless with a wife to support and a baby on the way, Billy allows himself to be persuaded by the no-good Jigger to take part in a robbery. To escape arrest, Billy kills himself. Only after spending 15 years in purgatory for his lack of repentance is he given the chance to redeem himself.
Billy discovers he has a daughter, Louise, and is permitted to return to earth for a single day to help her.
The show is packed with such Rodgers and Hammerstein favourites as June Is Bustin’ Out All Over, If I Loved You, What’s The Use In Wond’rin, Soliloquy, and You’ll Never Walk Alone, the song that became a terrace anthem at Liverpool and Celtic’s football grounds.
Ann McCreadie is joined in the production team by musical director Don Pears and further principal roles in the cast go to Colin Dearlove as Starkeeper and Gaby Richardson as Lou.