Music: Richard Rodgers

Lyrics & Book: Oscar Hammerstein II

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, based on a story by Ferenc Molnar, takes place between 1873 and 1888 in a small New England fishing village. The tale revolves around a love affair between Billy Bigelow, a travelling carnival man, and Julie Jordan, a local factory worker. Desperate for money after learning that he is soon to become a father, Billy is killed during an attempted robbery. Several years later, when he is allowed to return to earth for a short time, he seeks out the daughter of his union with Julie.

Carousel reunited the creative team that had brought Oklahoma! to the stage two years earlier, including director Robert Mamoulian and choreographer Agnes de Mille. The show opened at the Majestic Theatre on April 19, 1945 and proved to be a resounding success. The NEW YORK DAILY MIRROR wrote:

"(Carousel is) beautiful, bountiful, is the product of taste, imagination and skill."

The production ran for 890 performances and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for "Best Musical" of 1945 and 8 Donaldson Awards including Best Musical, Book, Lyrics and Score. The 1994 Broadway revival won its share of awards as well, boasting 5 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, and in 1999, TIME MAGAZINE voted Carousel "Best Musical of the Century!" The 1956 film version featured Gordon McRae and Shirley Jones.

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Sheet Music

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Related Sites

American Theatre Index

Related Musicals

The King and I

Me and Juliet


Show Boat

The Sound of Music

South Pacific

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