WHAT’S HAPPENING, BROADWAY FANS?! We are only 21 days away until Broadway’s biggest night of the year, the 71st annual Tony Awards. To get ourselves hyped and entertained, we are waking you up each morning with our TOP 40 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN playing you the best of Broadway powerhouse performances from the past telecasts.
At # 21 today, we take you to a New England fishing village in 1873. This is a tale of crime, brutality, poverty, romance, and disappointment where a barker falls in love with the local mill worker, both loose their jobs, and attempts a life in robbery to support her and their unborn child. You may think of it as the Les Mis?rables of the 1940s. This is the haunting story of…. Carousel on Broadway. Based on Ferenc Molnar?s 1909 Hungarian play, LILLIOM, the musical features a score by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, II.
From the 1994 telecast, the late Shirley Verrett as “Cousin Nettie” along with Michael Hayden as “Billy Bigelow,” Sally Murphy as “Julie Jordan,” and the cast from that year’s 1st Broadway revival perform (SPOILER ALERT) the tragic death scene featuring the show’s most signature song, YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE.
CAROUSEL was first conceived in 1943 following the success of Rodgers & Hammerstein?s first big Broadway hit, Oklahoma! Theresa Helburn and Lawrence Langner(producers of the Theater Guild) envisioned having the composing duo write a musical based on the play LILLIOM. Opera composer Verdi originally almost adapted that play as an opera prior, but failed to do it. However for Rodgers & Hammerstein, they flatly refused and thought it looked way too depressing. However, they said they would do it but changed things around in the story, including the setting (where they got the idea from Rodgers’ home in Connecticut, which was a fishing area). They renamed it CAROUSEL after being inspired by the opening scene of LILLIOM set at a Carnival. They continued to work on the show for the next two years.
CAROUSEL officially arrived on Broadway in 1945 at the Majestic Theatre. Under the direction of Rouben Mamoulian and choreography by Agnes deMille, it ran for 840 performances. The original production starred?
John Raitt (later Henry Michel) as “Billy Bigelow,”
Jan Clayton (later Iva Withers) as “Julie Jordan,”
Christine Johnson as ?Cousin Nettie,”
Eric Mattson as “Enoch Snow”,
Jean Darling (later Margot Moser) as “Carrie Pipperidge?,
Russell Collins as “The Starkeeper”,
The original production did not get any Tony Award nominations or wins. The Tony Awards were actually created that very next year of 1946.
Following the original Broadway run, the show went on tour for 2 years wrapping up in the Big Apple playing New York City Center in 1949 for 36 performances and then transferred back to its original home of the Majestic Theatre running for only 32 performances. It hoped to fill the seats of the Majestic Theatre (still Rodgers & Hammerstein brought in South Pacific) but the sales were mediocre. Following Broadway, the show went to London’s West End. The Touring, short lived Broadway, and London cast featured…
Stephen Douglass as “Billy Bigelow,”
Iva Withers as “Julie Jordan”,
Christine Johnson as “Cousin Nettie”,
Eric Mattson as “Enoch Snow”,
Margot Moser as “Carrie Pipperidge”,
Calvin Thomas as “The Starkeeper”,
The 2nd revival returned to New York City Center in 1954. It ran for 79 performances. Produced by the New York City Center Light Opera Company under the direction of William Hammerstein and re-staging by Robert Paegant, this cast consisted of…
Chris Robinson as “Billy Bigelow,”
Jo Sullivan as “Julie Jordan”,
Jean Handzlik as “Cousin Nettie”,
Don Blackey as “Enoch Snow”,
the late Barbara Cook Official as “Carrie Pipperidge”,
Daniel Reed as “The Starkeeper”,
The 3rd revival again returned to New York City Center in 1957 (again produced by New York City Center Light Opera Company) running for 24 performances. Following this engagement, the show was taken Belgium to be performed at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. The cast consisted of…
Howard Keel as “Billy Bigelow,”
Barbara Cook graduating to the role of “Julie Jordan”,
Marie Powers as “Cousin Nettie”,
Russell Nype as “Enoch Snow”,
Pat Stanley as “Carrie Pipperidge”,
Victor Moore as “The Starkeeper”,
When the show went to Belgium, Jan Clayton reprised her role of “Julie Jordan.
The 1949, 1954, and 1957 City Center engagements did not get any Tony nominations or wins.
In 1993 CAROUSEL (as seen in this video) played returned to Broadway. This time it played the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center Theater with a spectacular new production playing 322 performances. Under the direction of Nicholas Hytner and choreography by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, this production was a transfer for the acclaimed 1992 West End production that played the National Theatre in London. It starred?.
Michael Hayden as “Billy Bigelow,”
Sally Murphy as ?Julie Jordan?,
Shirley Verrett as “Cousin Nettie”,
Eddie Korbich as “Enoch Snow”
Audra McDonald as “Carrie Pipperidge.”
Jeff Weiss as “The Starkeeper”,
The Ensemble also featured an unknown Taye Diggs. He would later work with Audra McDonald on the TV show Private Practice.
The Lincoln Center Theatre revival was nominated and won all 5 categories of its 1994 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Musical. In addition, Audra McDonald won her first-ever Tony as Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Currently, CAROUSEL is back on Broadway. It opened this Spring at the Imperial Theatre where it continues to play to packed houses every night. Under the direction of Tony-winner Jack O’Brien and choreography by New York City Ballet’s Justin Peck, this cast consists of…
Tony-winner Jessie Mueller as”Julie Jordan,”
Tony-nominee Joshua Henry as “Billy Bigelow,”
Grammy winner Ren?e Fleming as “Cousin Nettie.”
Tony nominee Alexander Gemignani as “Enoch Show”
Tony nominee Lindsay Mendez as ?Carrie Pipperidge?,
Tony winner John Douglas Thompson as “The Starkeeper”,
Following its time on stage, CAROUSEL was also an acclaimed film. The original film was released in 1956. The cast starred…
Gordon MacRae as “Billy Bigelow,”
Shirley Jones as “Julie Jordan”,
Claramae Turner as “Cousin Nettie,”
Robert Rounseville as “Enoch Snow”,
Barbara Ruick as “Carrie Pipperidge.”
Gene Lockhart as “The Starkeeper”,
MaeRae and Jones previously starred together in the acclaimed film version of Oklahoma! in 1955.
Most recently back in 20113, the New York Philharmonic presented a semi-staged concert production at Lincoln Center for 3 nights only. Under the direction of Tony winner John Rando, it was filmed for PBS Award winning Great Performances l PBS. The cast featured…
Nathan Gunn as “Billy Bigelow”,
Tony winner Kelli O’Hara as “Julie Jordan”,
Stephanie Blythe as “Cousin Nettie,”
Jason Danieley as “Enoch Snow”,
Tony winner Jessie Mueller as “Carrie Pipperidge”,
John Cullum as “The Starkeeper”,
CAROUSEL is still a show performed in schools, community, and Regional Theatres everywhere.
Who gets tears from this haunting score?
Perteneciente a los Premios Tony 1994
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