Scott and I saw *Carousel* on Broadway on 3/8/18. I saw a minimally staged performance at the NY Philharmonic a few years ago but had never seen a fully staged production, so I was excited for it. The cast had one person I love, one person I like a lot, one person I didn't know was in the show but like a lot, and a fourth who smelled like trouble.
First let me talk about the production. It was directed by Jack O'Brien, and he sure knows what he's doing. The staging and design had a storybook quality with a dash of magical realism, which added depth and color to the story. The choreography was by Justin Peck, and those dancers were really putting it across. The dancing was beautifully integrated into the show.
The show itself is so beautiful - - the songs are glorious, the pacing is masterful, and the story is told with great emotion and impact. This production had the added bonus of a big-for-Broadway orchestra, 25 musicians in the pit. They wrung every drop of juice out of this juicy score.
PERSON I LOVE
Joshua Henry as Billy. Oh Lord he is dreamy. I've seen him many times: *The Scottsboro Boys,* *Violet,* *Porgy and Bess,* and *Shuffle Along* on Broadway, and also *Hamilton* in Chicago. He's a magnificent performer - - he has a gorgeous voice and is loaded with charisma. He was the person I was most excited to see and he totally delivered the goods. His show-stopping "Soliloquy" was a high point of the show.
PERSON I LIKE A LOT
Jessie Mueller as Julie. She played the leading lady's friend in the Philharmonic production and was playing the leading lady in this one. She's a treasure, she has a lovely voice and pours herself into the songs. She's only 35, I'm curious to see how her career develops. I'm keeping my eye on her.
I DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS IN THE SHOW
Alexander Gemignani as Enoch Snow. I saw him in *Sweeney Todd* on Broadway, *Road Show* at the Public, and *Hamilton* in Chicago. He has an engaging personality and a surprisingly strong voice. He was a nice surprise.
SMELLED LIKE TROUBLE
Renee Fleming as Nettie. She's an opera singer, I've been hearing her on the opera stage for over thirty years. She has an incredibly beautiful voice but has a serious problem staying out of her own way. She overdoes the expression - - not just every word, but every syllable of every word has its own unique color, inflection, and/or roulade. I get really worn out hearing all those curlicues, they obscure the music and eventually obscure the words. Her singing was better in "You'll Never Walk Alone" than in "June Is Busting Out All Over." I would say, "She needs to rein it in," but who am I to tell her what to do.
Here's the "Carousel Waltz" as done by my main man, Percy Faith: