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Review: Lyric Theatre's CAROUSEL Dazzles on the Civic Center stage

Review: Lyric Theatre's CAROUSEL Dazzles on the Civic Center stage

Lyric Theatre's production of Carousel is dazzling and grand scale, running now through July 10th.

Review: Lyric Theatre's CAROUSEL Dazzles on the Civic Center stage Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma presents Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel now through July 10th, 2022 at the Civic Center Music Hall. Carousel is a relic of the era in which it was written. Debuting on Broadway in 1945, the plot simply doesn't hold up to modern audiences. Lyric's production value does, however, and the resulting performance is spectacular and beautiful. Directed by Michael Baron and choreographed by Vincent Sandoval, Carousel is a visually-stunning spectacle, complete with dreamy dance sequences and operatic vocal displays. The ensemble dancers float on stage, their feet as light as the clouds they seem to walk on. The principal singers have soaring vocals that are powerful and breathtaking. This musical is like witnessing a dream in real-time, and it's enough to make the audience forget the ugliness of reality for the duration of the performance.

The roles are smartly cast and everyone gives strong performances, despite the general lack of character development or emotional connection in the script. Julianne Reynolds is angelic and loving as Julie Jordan. Joe Caskey is swarthy and sinister as leading man Billy Bigelow. Lindsie VanWinkle-Guthrie sparkles as Carousel maven Mrs. Mullin. Courtney Crouse is strong and level-headed as Nettie Fowler. Anette Barrios-Torres is leading-lady material and comic relief as Carrie Pipperidge. Colin Anderson makes a strong partner as Carrie's love interest Enoch Snow. Joseph Campbell is at his best as the villainous Jigger Craigin. A standout performance is given by Anna McGuire as Louise Bigelow. She performs and dances with emotion, bringing tears to the eyes of those who witness her.

The vocal abilities of Caskey and Reynolds are unparalleled. Lyric couldn't have cast more talented or skilled performers. Likewise can be said for the dancers. Kaylene Snarsky leads the ensemble as dance captain, and every dance number is a sight to see. Costume design by Lyric's resident costume designer Jeffrey Meek is elegant and expansive, ranging from the simple dresses of young millworkers to the elaborate getups of vaudeville dancers. Lighting design by Helena Kuukka adds to the dreamy vision on stage. Every aspect of this show, from technical elements, to artistry and staging, is perfectly executed. The only thing lacking, and it's a major blow, is the plot. If there's one thing to criticize, it's that, but modern-day performers can't change the script they've been given. The cast works with the material as best they can, and the performance doesn't suffer, so they've done their charges justice.

The onstage orchestra is an additional element that makes this production the glorious experience that it is. Conducted by David Andrews Rogers, the music performed by the orchestra is gorgeous and sweeping, airy and melancholy, and it whisks the audience off its feet.

Carousel is romantic, a visual marvel, and the best of what Lyric Theatre can produce. For anyone who doesn't like the show, your mind won't change about the story. But you'll be impressed and distracted enough by the work being displayed on stage that you'll still enjoy the production. There's no denying the talents on stage are unmatched anywhere, and this cast could easily be found on a Broadway stage. Lyric Theatre never cuts a corner and their summer shows in particular are epic in scale. If you're not bothered by some of the more triggering dialogue, this show is a must-see.

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From This Author - Adrienne Proctor

Adrienne Proctor is an Oklahoma City-based writer, theatre-goer, and mom. An avid supporter of the arts, Adrienne has reviewed regional, university, and Broadway theatre productions since 2017.... (read more about this author)

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