WILSON, N.C. — A symphony-backed concert version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved musical comes to eastern North Carolina, with multiple cities and performances planned. “Carousel,” directed by Lauren Kennedy and presented by the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra, Theatre Raleigh/Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy, and Theatre at Barton, opens to the public on Thursday, Aug. 27, at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater in Raleigh. Evening performances begin at 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, and conclude with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. on August 30. Tickets range in price from $36 – $47, and are available by visiting www.theatreraleigh.com, or by calling (919) 832-9997.
“Carousel” then comes to Wilson on Thursday, Sept. 10, for an encore performance at 7:30 p.m. at the Edna E. Boykin Cultural Center on Nash Street. This is the Barton College/Wilson Symphony Orchestra’s annual Downtown Concert. Tickets are free to the public and are available the day of performance on a first come/first served basis, with reserved seating available to subscribers of the Barton/Wilson Symphony Orchestra, Theatre at Barton, and the Arts Council of Wilson-Boykin Series.
(From the Rodgers and Hammerstein website) In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent “up there.” Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day 15 years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love. It’s easy to understand why, of all the shows they created, “Carousel” was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s personal favorite.
Barton College continues a season of outstanding performing arts productions with this monumental project, which boasts a professional, 28-person cast and 36-member orchestra. This performance is suitable for all audiences.