The lights come up on an amusement park scene set in New England in the late 1800s. The stage is filled with fishermen, sailors and maids dancing and taking in the sights. With the upbeat and cheerful carnival-type music flowing from the orchestra pit, it’s enough to make anyone in the audience get up and dance. This is the opening to “Carousel” presented by the Boze Lyric Theatre at Anderson University that opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Byrum Hall [photo: Nettie Fowler, played by Catherine Miller, sings as she explains why it is important to feed a group of hungry sailors that have just returned from their first clam dig of the season. Photo credit -- Jennifer Goldsmith.
The story follows a young carousel barker named Billy Bigelow. After defending a young girl, Julie Jordan, from his boss, Mrs. Mullin, Bigelow is fired. With a carefree attitude, though, Bigelow shakes it off and asks the young girl to accompany him for a drink. After sitting and talking awhile, Bigelow and Jordan fall in love and thus begins the rollercoaster tale of love, hope, forgiveness and redemption. It is a musical that takes the audience through the highs and lows of human relationships.
The simple sets and glowing backdrop allow the cast of “Carousel” to seemingly pop off the stage. The fresh voices of Lacey Rector (Julie Jordan) and Katie Drake (Carrie Pipperidge, Jordan’s best friend) fill Byrum Hall with warmth.
V. Glen Lovitt III portrays Billy Bigelow with strength and ease and his solid voice commands the audience’s attention at all times.
When singing in chorus, this brilliant cast takes the audience out of their seats and transports them directly into the story. The well-perfected choreography is precise and crisp. Watch carefully, though, or you will miss the subtle movements tucked away to provide comic relief.
The lighting in “Carousel” is unique, moving with the music and changing to portray different moods.
The cast, outfitted with brilliantly-made costumes, manages to transition between dialogue and song with ease and never misses a beat when it comes to timing.
Although there were spots with dropped lines or soloists struggling to find their key during Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, they were few and far between and each cast member managed to bounce back quickly never breaking the audience’s attention.
“Carousel” is sure to leave the audience feeling hopeful but only after grabbing their hands and making them explore the possibilities and tribulations of being in any relationship.
This 2 1/2-hour performance is not only a joy to watch, but will keep your eyes glued to the stage.
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight, Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 8
Where: Byrum Hall, Anderson University
Tickets: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military; $5 for students
For more information call (765) 641-4351
— Reviewer Lynelle Miller is a reporter with The Anderson Herald Bulletin. Story reprinted with permission.