Theater and music department combine for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel

by Tamsin Webb, reporter

This weekend, Pote Theatre was packed as audience members pooled in to watch Simpson’s latest production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. This production marked the first time Simpson’s theatre and music departments have come together to create a show and the combined talent and hard work was evident.

The lights dimmed and the show began with the entire cast on stage interacting with each other on a beach-side carnival scene. The opening act set the tone for the entire show. Accompanied by the pit orchestra, actors wandered throughout the stage in an entertaining and well-timed

scene complete with dancers, a ballerina and a bear, an ice cream vendor, a juggler and, obviously, a carousel.

Carousel actor Bryce Browning said, “I love the first scene. Everyone is doing their own thing and it’s really cool how it all fit together like a puzzle. There’s something new to see every night.”

Carousel follows the story of carousel barker Billy Bigelow, his romance with Julie Jordan and the decisions and consequences he faces in the wake of losing his job. After declaring neither of them believes in love or marriage, Billy and Julie were married anyways and Julie soon discovers that she is pregnant. Without a job and in need of money, Billy decides to take part in a robbery. When the plan goes awry, Billy takes his own life.

Billy is taken to the pearly gates where he is told that he is allowed one more day on earth to amend his mistakes. He finds on earth he has been dead for fifteen years and his daughter is alone, bullied and friendless. Billy is finally able to express his love for Julie and his daughter.

Carousel had audience members smiling as the cast moved through dance numbers, solos, comedic and dramatic scenes.

“Everything about the musical had me captivated,” said Simpson student, Tori Halloran, “The actors were so talented and the set looked amazing.”

“I didn’t have a least favorite part. I thought it was all fantastic,” said audience member Heather Bland. “The set was great, the lighting was great, the actors were phenomenal, I loved it.”

When asked what it was like to combine the talents of the music and theatre departments,

Browning said, “It was awesome. You get to meet so many more people and they have so much talent to offer. We learned so much from the music department and they learned from us, and we ended up forming a great partnership.”

Carousel cast member Stacie Kjellson said, “At first I was a little nervous about combining the two departments, but I think it was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed it and I met so many new people and it was really cool to pool resources and I feel like everyone involved in the process learned a lot from it.”

The audience gave the ensemble cast of Carousel a standing ovation after their performance, a testament to their hard work and wonderful performance.