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Sierra Rep presents musical treasure with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

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Sierra Rep presents musical treasure with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel

Scenes from the upcoming production of “Carousel.”

Photo courtesy Rich Miller Photography/


POSTED June 22, 2012 6:04 p.m.

COLUMBIA - Glorious songs, a moving story of love and redemption and a robust, seaside setting have kept Carousel among the most beloved American musicals ever created.

Don’t miss the chance to discover this treasure when Sierra Repertory Theatre presents its first-ever production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic this summer. It plays June 29 through Aug. 19 at SRT’s historic Fallon House Theatre in Columbia. Sierra Rep Artistic Director Scott Viets directs the show with stellar performers who promise to deliver a thrilling production.

In the vein of sweeping dramatic musicals like Sound of Music and West Side Story, the characters are imperfect, the love story seems ill-fated and the music is unforgettable. The story takes place in a small, hard-working town on the New England seaside, where shy, young Julie Jordan falls for a brash, charismatic carnival barker, Billy Bigelow. While they truly love each other, their relationship is difficult from the start —and gets even more so when they learn they are expecting a child.

From the opening moment, the show is filled with  memorable melodies and lyrics that have become standards for generations —from beautiful ballads such as “If I Loved You,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” to spirited numbers like “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” and the beloved “Carousel Waltz.”While the songs have endured for their richness and quality, Director Scott Viets says it’s the complexity of the characters that take the show to another level and that are most rewarding for audiences and actors alike to discover.

Rodgers and Hammerstein created Carousel at a pivotal point in their collaboration. Fresh from the triumph of their first show, Oklahoma!, the team faced the steep challenge of a second success. They delivered with a complicated romance adapted from Ferenc Molnar’s highly regarded drama Liliom. Even 60 years later, theatergoers recognize the genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s novel approach to the American musical — weighty themes, full characters and seamless scores that carry the story along.

The ill-fated lovers, Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, will be played by SRT company member Samantha Bruce (Gypsy, The Ladies Man, Boeing-Boeing) and Los Angeles artist Marc Ginsberg.

Joining Reiner-Harris, Bruce and Ginsburg in the lead roles are New York newcomer Yaniv Zarif as ambitious young Enoch Snow and Heather Orth (SRT’s Mama Rose in Gypsy) who returns to SRT as Julie’s Cousin Nettie.

“I’m excited for our audiences to hear this glorious music sung by amazing singers who are also fantastic actors,” Viets said.

Joining the leads are Kaitlyn Brennan as Julie and Billy’s daughter Louise, Kimberly Gelbwasser as Mrs. Mullins, Daniel S. Hines as Jigger, and Ron Randall as the Starkeeper. The ensemble includes Alison Boresi, Macleish Day, Kayla Hart, Cory Kotas, Peter F.A. Leibold VI, Michael McIlwee, Kaylie Olson, Sarah Schori and Nick Waaland.

Carousel opens June 29 and plays through August 19 at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia State Historic Park. Thursday and Friday evening performances begin at 7, Saturday evening shows begin at 8 and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees begin at 2. Tickets are from $26-$32 depending on the day of the performance, with discounts for children, students and seniors. Two special “talk back” discussions with the cast will be held after the performances on Thursday, July 12 and Wednesday, July 18.

For information or reservations, call SRT’s box office at (209) 532-3120 or visit Sierra Rep’s website at www.sierrarep.org. This show has mature themes appropriate for audiences of age 12 and up. For more information on content, see SRT’s website at www.sierrarep.org.

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