“Carousel,” Eastern Theatre’s latest production (in conjunction with R&H Theatricals), takes a surprisingly whimsical look at the brokenness of family relationships.
Somewhere in the 1930s-40s, a young woman named Julie Jordan (senior Katherine Moorman) takes a ride on the carousel at a local carnival and meets Billy Bigelow (senior Jerome Scott II), who is a thief and a womanizer among other things.
The two hit it off almost immediately and are married only a few months later, but Billy isn’t really cut out to be a married man. The problems in their marriage quickly become evident when Julie reluctantly tells her female co-workers that Billy hit her.
Although Billy denies it and treats his wife terribly, he suddenly finds himself in a bind when she tells him she’s pregnant. With a new child on the way, Billy is determined to create a better life for his family at any cost, so his shady friend Jigger (‘10 Eastern alumnus John Shultz) ropes him into a scheme to kill a man and steal a lot of money.
Unfortunately, the risks are too great and the consequences stretch farther than Billy ever imagined. Now, he only has one chance to fix everything, but it will require him to swallow his pride.
The play was staged in the McInnis auditorium from April 6-10. Many people worked hard to piece this production together, including but not limited to director Teresa Moyer, orchestra conductor Bryan Edgett, choreographer Karen Clemente, set designer Andrew Deppen, costume designer Ameera Aansari and lighting designer Nathan Gray.
On the whole, I enjoyed this production despite a few opening night hiccups. Although it was less serious than I expected it to be, I still thought it was well executed.
There was a great use of illusion in a couple places, such as in the prologue where the actors essentially created a human carousel. I thought it was a very imaginative technique.
Additionally, there were hilarious one-liners, and the musical numbers were very well done.
The story itself was also enjoyable for the most part, although at times I felt an imbalance between comedy and seriousness. Also, the large time leap that occurs in Act 2 leaves some unanswered questions about the relationship between two other characters.
Even so, I thought “Carousel” was yet another well done theater production and definitely worth seeing.