Monday, January 25, 2016

theatre review - CAROUSEL - Arizona Broadway Theatre - January 16, 2016

the cast of Carousel
Photo Courtesy of Arizona Broad
way Theatre /
Click here for more information on this production that runs through February 14th.

"The classic musicals of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II are beloved by many due to the memorable characters and songs they feature. But they also touch upon many social issues. The duo's Carousel is their darkest show, with an underlying focus on the effects of domestic violence. It also features their most sophisticated score... Arizona Broadway Theatre is presenting a fine production of this classic musical, with a thoughtful, understated performance from Jeannie Shubitz as the female lead, Julie Jordan....Stephen Casey does an expert job in directing the show... However, while ABT's production doesn't shy away from the spousal abuse at the center of the story, it also doesn't dwell on it, and even seems to skirt away from it at points... playing it too safe. Fortunately, Jeannie Shubitz and Michael O'Brien form a realistic duo as Julie and Billy. ...Shubitz is perfect in presenting Julie as the headstrong yet discontented woman who is fascinated by Billy...Casey's choreography is a perfect combination of period steps, athleticism, and sensuality. ...The combination of four carousel set elements with Alyx-Marie Kleinsteiber's beautiful period costumes and Colin Riebel's rich lighting create an explosion of color in the magical opening, "Carousel Waltz,"...With some beautiful ballads, intriguing characters, and situations that few musicals examine, Carousel is a stirring musical. However, with a main male character who is more of an anti-hero, the serious underlying topic of spousal abuse, and several songs that flow in and out of the dialogue, Carousel has always been the one Rodgers and Hammerstein show that I've found a bit hard for audiences to truly love and fully understand. Even with my reservations about the downplaying of the abuse, the combination of Stephen Casey's clear direction and strong choreography and Jeannie Shubitz's moving and understated yet clear performance of the imperfect woman at the center of the story make ABT's production of this American classic very solid."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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