Music by: Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by: Oscar Hammerstein II
Distributed by: Masterworks Broadway
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Adapted from Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 play Liliom, Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel began its Broadway debut in 1945. The musical received great critical acclaim. In 1965, a revival of Carousel opened at the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. This revival cast recording of Carousel is now available from Masterworks Broadway in eco-friendly packaging.
Carousel takes place in a small New England fishing village. It is here that young and naïve Julie Jordan (Eileen Christy) falls in love with the handsome, ne’er-do-well amusement park barker Billy Bigelow (John Raitt). Despite the warnings of her friends and fellow townspeople, Julie marries Billy. Billy soon learns that an amusement barker attracts more attention when he is single and he loses his job. The marriage begins to grow stale until Billy learns he is about to become a father. Realizing he needs money to raise a child, Billy becomes involved in a rather treacherous scheme to obtain some.
The songs are fun and quite entertaining. I couldn’t help laughing at You’re a Queer One, Julie Jordan, the veiled romantic passes found in If I Loved You and the immensely funny June Is Bustin’ Out All Over (quite a bit of sexual innuendo in that one). I really enjoyed Billy’s musings about his unborn son…or daughter…in the song Soliloquy. I’ve always enjoyed the sentiment of the song You’ll Never Walk Alone, a song I had heard numerous times sung by Jerry Lewis during his annual telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. I actually enjoyed the version sung by the cast the best.
Carousel is a story of a man who heads down the wrong path in life, only to find redemption after it has ended. The music is entertaining and the song lyrics are catchy and fun. After listening to the soundtrack, I find myself wanting to actually see this musical in person. I can tell that the performance will be both fun and emotionally touching. Until then, I will just have to appease my curiosity by listening to the soundtrack again.