NYTG at the Official Opening of Carousel on Broadway
New York Theatre Guide attends the Official Opening of the Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic Carousel.
There are moments in musical theatre history that have such a lasting impact that aficionados of the genre keep their memory alive for decades. Sometimes these moments are even immortalised on film. If, like me, you became fascinated with musical theatre a little later in life and only had YouTube clips and cast recordings to feed your curiosity, you may also have made a theatrical bucket list of all the shows and those iconic moments you missed out on. Thank the theatre gods that mainstream revivals have not gone out of fashion on the Great White Way or in London's West End... and, if you have a little patience, one by one, you'll be able to cross each long-awaited revival off your bucket list and feel all the better for it.
One of these historic moments for me is, of course, when Nettie Fowler comforts her cousin Julie Jordan following the tragic demise of her husband Billy Bigelow in the 1945 classic Carousel. She wraps her maternal arms around her and attempts to sooth her with the anthemic and stirring "You'll Never Walk Alone". This Rodgers & Hammerstein musical theatre standard has accomplished that feat which today happens so rarely - it transcended the world of theatre and became a firm part of pop culture. As a child growing up in the North West of England, I was actually introduced to it by crowds of intoxicated, male fans at Liverpool Football Club who adopted the anthem back in the 1960s and have been "serenading" their players with it ever since. With no disrespect intended to that demographic of soccer fans, now, thanks to director Jack O'Brien's new Broadway revival, I have a new memory to associate with the number and will not soon forget opera sensation Renée Fleming's blissful rendition as Nettie, holding a broken Jessie Mueller in her arms as Julie. Thank you, theatre gods...
Having never seen Carousel before, the 1945 musical might be considered a tricky choice for modern day audiences with themes of domestic abuse and the woman's seemingly passive attitude towards it and the man's ultimate redemption. Mr. O'Brien has approached the musical with great sensitivity and Joshua Henry does a remarkable job of capturing the audience and allowing them to see past Billy Bigelow's sexual prowess and brutish behaviour and recognize his insecurities, his isolation, his diminished self-worth.
To read more on our thoughts about this classy 2018 revival, including the injection of Justin Peck's gorgeously balletic choreography, read our New York Theatre Guide review.
We were on hand to greet the cast and creative team at the official Carousel after party at Cipriani 25 and would love to share these photos of the talented bunch in their finest hour and finest outfits...
Carousel Tickets are available now for performances through to January 6, 2019.
(Photos by Tom Millward)