Discover the magic of Rogers and Hammerstein’s ‘Carousel’

Back in the 1940’s Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein started working together and their collaborations are remembered as ‘The Golden Age’ of Hollywood musicals.

Rogers had worked with lyricist Lorenzo Hart for over two decades and had a string of successes, but as his writing partner’s life was over taken by alcoholism, Rogers turned to Hammerstein and asked is he’d considering working together.

Their first musical Oklahoma first opened on Broadway in 1943 and it was turned into a popular film in the 1950’s. The duo would go on to create some of the most loved musicals of the 20th century including State Fair, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music.

One of their most loved works in Carousel which spawned the classic song You’ll Never Walk Alone. The show originally opened on Broadway in 1945 and it was turned into a blockbuster film in 1956 which stared Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae (pictured above). Time magazine declared it the best musical of the 20th century.

The musical has been revived several times and continues to find success on Broadway and in the West End. Now Perth audiences have a chance to see the show when student’s from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts stage the show at the Regal Theatre.

Carousel will be at the Regal Theatre from 16-23 June, starring WAAPA’s 2nd and 3rd Year Musical Theatre students.

The show tells the story of the tragic romance between a troubled carnival worker and the young woman who gives up everything for him. It boasts some of the most powerful music ever written for the stage, including If I Loved YouJune is Bustin’ Out All Over and the immortal You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Justin Langley (Dusty – The Musical, Loving Repeating) who has been brought in to direct the project, describes how he and visiting guest choreographer Cameron Mitchell (Big Fish, Calamity Jane) have chosen to update the setting from the traditional 1870s to 1969, in the hope that the show’s depiction of love “in all its messy dysfunction” will resonate with a contemporary audience.

“We’re working towards creating a Carousel for a new generation, one that’s a little darker, a little edgier and a little more relevant to our current social climate of #metoo,” explains Langley. “If you only know the film, then prepare yourself for a very different ride!”

Langley, who returns to WAAPA after directing its previous sold-out seasons of Legally Blonde in 2015 and last year’s high-octane 42nd Street, describes how he and Mitchell are enjoying working with the Academy’s current crop of triple threat performers in its biggest annual production.

“We’re loving the enthusiasm and talent of the WAAPA cast who are diving headfirst into reimagining this brutal love story,” he said.

“We certainly have some world-class voices singing some of musical theatre’s most famous songs, so the audience is in for a real treat.”

Carousel opens at the Regal Theatre on Saturday night. For tickets and more information, head to the WAAPA website.

Image credit:- Kathy Wheatley


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