If there’s one thing that I’m super appreciative of thus far in my college experience, it’s how many Broadway shows I’ve been able to see (which obviously surpass the quality education I’m getting and all of the incredible opportunities that have come with that). During my first two years as a college student, I’ve seen 5 Broadway shows! While Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen were generously given to me as gifts from my parents, I’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof and Waitress through my school, along with my recent show, Carousel.
If there’s one thing I’m super appreciative about seeing Carousel, it’s that I finally remember how to spell ‘carousel’ (that ‘u’ can really throw you, okay me, off). All jokes aside, I was really excited to Carousel for a few reasons:
- It’s considered a classic Broadway show, so let’s hear it for improving my Broadway education
- It was a preview! Carousel officially opens on April 12th, so this was my first ever Broadway preview. I don’t think it affected my experience too much, but at the end of Act 1, a few of the people from my group realized that they didn’t perform “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” (reprise).
- Jessie Mueller plays Julie Jordan! I love Jessie Mueller in Waitress– I listen to that soundtrack on the daily- so I was beyond excited to see her perform in this show. And yes, her voice and performance was amazing as always.
My best friend came to the show with me, and we had a great time hanging out outside of the school environment (especially because we are both currently stressing out far too much over this semester and classes for next year). We grabbed dinner at my favorite Irish pub beforehand- apologies for no photos of dinner, but we were in bit of a rush. We got to the Imperial Theatre twenty minutes before the show started, and while the line was a bit long, it moved quickly and we had some fun taking photos outside the theater. Since the show is still in previews, no pictures were allowed inside, but I managed to get sneaky shot of my playbill with my brand new bag (the star of many of my photos recently).
I knew next to nothing about Carousel going in, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit surprised to realize that the show’s title doesn’t have much to do with the plot, but I’m sure you could find some connections other than one of the main characters, Billy, working at the town’s carousel. Joshua Henry played Billy Bigelow and it was fun getting to see him perform, since he’s been in a few runs of Hamilton. Carousel follows a young couple, Billy and Julie, who are both unemployed, putting a strain on their marriage. Billy and Julie look to their friends and family in their small town in Maine for advice and help.
Carousel features a lot of choreography and for someone who’s not used to heavily choreographed shows, other than Hamilton, it took me a bit to adjust to dancing over dialogue. While I wish there a bit more dialogue, all of the dances were amazing, especially Ballet performed by Louise in Act 2. Her dance didn’t need dialogue to convey her emotion. I really enjoyed Jessie as Julie and Joshua as Billy, but I wish we got to see them together a bit more. My best friend and I agreed that Lindsay Mendez, who performed as Carrie Pipperidge, stole the show for us! Her humor always had the audience laughing. My favorite number was its last, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (reprise). I’m excited to see the original cast recording hopefully come out soon.
Carousel was darker than I expected, but I think it added a bit more suspense to the show, and I would’ve never guessed its plot direction during the second half of Act 2. One of my favorite parts of the show was the various sets—my friend and I still can’t figure out how they made it look like people were really jumping into the ocean—and I think my favorite scene design-wise was for the backdoor. I loved the use of stars and how the dancers made up the gate/door.
Overall, I enjoyed Carousel a lot and I’m excited to see how it does at the Tony Awards in June. I’m hoping the show will get nominated for a few awards, since I think this is the only show I’ll be seeing this season.
Have you seen Carousel or any of its other adaptations? What Broadway shows have you seen? Share in the comments!