The revival of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s classic Carousel at the Imperial Theater is a vivid a reminder of what the Broadway musical can do, simply good storytelling in song and dance. Old school and fresh, Carousel has you in its grip from the moment you see an ornate canopy descend and umbrella into the carny top of a ride, a-spin for the dazzling romance that unfolds. A girl, Julie Jordan meets a boy, Billy Bigelow and the rest is the pure pull of irresistible, young love and consequent tragedy. While we all remember the songs “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and “If I Loved You,” with Renee Fleming, Jessie Mueller, and exceptionally gifted voices from Lindsay Mendez and Alexander Gemignani, you are reminded of this works’ operatic soul. It’s gorgeous, but most exceptionally for Joshua Henry as Billy, intense, damaged, and lost. During intermission you could hear murmurs of comparison with Paul Robeson; this actor has it all, and can he dance!
On opening night, the crowd of Broadway veterans: Sutton Foster, Marsha Mason, John Lithgow, Uma Thurman (she’s new to Bway), and Tony Walton for this outstanding night. Amy Adams who became friends with Jessie Mueller when they performed in Into the Woods, a Shakespeare in the Park production one summer, flew in from L.A. with her husband, filmmaker Darren LeGallo. It was a long way to the bottom of Manhattan, to a new party venue where tickets to the Titanic were once sold: Cipriani at 25 Broadway, well worth the trip!