Alexis Gordon’s Julie (left) can’t help but be swept away by the inescapable masculinity of Jonathan Winsby’s Billy (right) in the Stratford Festival presentation of ‘Carousel’ on stage until October 16, 2015.
HEIGHTENING THE SPIRIT OF SUMMER
Regrets, we all have a few. Especially when it comes to romance where an emotional arch can never guarantee a happy ending. And should someone forget to say ‘I love you’ until it’s a little too late, chances are there’s going to be a price pay.
This is exactly where we find Billy (Jonathan Winsby) and Julie (Alexis Gordon) in Benjamin F. Glazer’s Carousel where the Rogers and Hammerstein duo flex their musical might to show what songwriting genius can do to a sad, sad story.
The play, which is based on Ferenc Molnar’s 1909 Hungarian play Liliom, begins in New England with an illuminous carousel giving promise to hearts that go pitter patter.
Strong willed Billy knows he’s in demand and wastes little time putting the moves on an unsuspecting Julie who doesn’t see the warning signs all around her. He’s not exactly committed to her until a baby is on the way.
Out of work, out of hope, and out of time, a restless Billy buys into a get rich burglary scheme proposed by Jigger (Evan Buliung). Tragedy unfolds and it’s dubious if a secure tomorrow will ever
Themes of human frailty, resilience and the power of forgiveness go round and round in Carousel. The composers lean on a formal structure of operetta mixed with a contemporary score/lyrics to further both the plot and characters.
Appealing choral numbers, “June is Bustin Out All Over” and the heartfelt “You’ll Never Walk Alone” are balanced by the gentle ballad “When the Children are asleep” all of which heighten the spirit of summer in Stratford.
Review by Steven Berketo
CAROUSEL adaptation by Benjamin F. Glazer, music/lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein May 5 – October 16, 2015 AVON THEATRE, Stratford, Ontario TICKETS $25.00 – $195.00 www.stratfordfestival.ca 1-888-567-1600 CAST Alexis Gordon, Jonathan Winsby, Evan Buliung, Sean Alexander, Alana Hibbert, Robin Evan Willis, Alex Black, Jacqueline Burtney, Keith Dinicol, Robin Hutton, Ethan Lafleur, Cory O’Brien, Ian Simpson, Curtis Sullivan DIRECTOR Susan H. Shulman CHOREOGRAPHER Michael Lichtefeld MUSICAL DIRECTOR Franklin Brasz SET Douglas Paraschuk COSTUMES Dana Osborne LIGHTING Kevin Fraser PROJECTION Brad Peterson SOUND Peter McBoyle STAGE MANAGER Maxwell T. Wilson