Stratford Festival's CAROUSEL Cast Recording Now Available
Following last year's recording of CRAZY FOR YOU, this year - the Stratford Festival company of CAROUSEL recorded the festival's second original cast recording. The recording is now available for order and digital download on CDBaby here.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, named the best musical of the 20th century by Time magazine, returns to the Festival for the first time in over twenty years in a vibrant production directed by Susan H. Schulman. Previews began Tuesday, May 5, at the Avon Theatre.
Against the backdrop of a sun-drenched New England summer, Carousel follows the tragic romance between a troubled carnival barker who turns to crime and the trusting millworker who loves and forgives him despite his violent nature.
Alexis Gordon, most recently seen in the world première of The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble, makes her Stratford debut as Julie Jordan, while Jonathan Winsby returns to play Billy Bigelow after stealing hearts as Lancelot in 2011's Camelot.
Carousel features what is arguably Rodgers and Hammerstein's most luscious score, with such riches as "You'll Never Walk Alone," "If I Loved You" and Billy's haunting "Soliloquy," which ends the first act.
"Perhaps no other musical theatre writing team has ever been able to match Rodgers and Hammerstein's genius for developing both character and plot through song," says Ms Schulman, who has a long string of hits at Stratford, including 2000's Fiddler on the Roof, 2003's The King and I and 2008's The Music Man. "Some people have criticized the show because they say it condones domestic abuse, because Julie's love is unconditional. I believe Rodgers and Hammerstein were doing just the opposite. They were shining a light on a very unsettling intimate dynamic, one that is all too often kept secret and in the dark - even to this day."
"When I was putting together this season of discovery," says Artistic Director Antoni Cimolino, "one of my own eureka moments was realizing that many of the works I was considering for the playbill featured relationships between men and women that are fraught, challenging, yet key to the growth of the characters. I decided it was important to bring those plays together so these relationships could be better explored and understood.
"Carousel's emotionally wrenching depiction of a troubled marriage is part of our season's wider examination of the personal demons and societal pressures that can distort male-female relationships. These issues are also raised by such plays as The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, The Last Wife and The Adventures of Pericles, and we explore their implications even further in many of this season's Forum events."
The artistic team includes Choreographer Michael Lichtefeld, Musical Director Franklin Brasz, Set Designer Douglas Paraschuk, Costume Designer Dana Osborne, Lighting Designer Kevin Fraser, Projection Designer Brad Peterson, Sound Designer Peter McBoyle and Fight Director John Stead.
Based on Ferenc Molnar's play Liliom, as adapted by Benjamin F. Glazer, Carousel features music by Richard Rodgers, with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, original dances by Agnes de Mille and orchestral reduction by Larry Blank, based on the original by Don Walker.