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RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN'S "CAROUSEL" TO OPEN ON BROADWAY NEXT SEASON
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 07:05 am EDT 04/17/17

JOSHUA HENRY,
JESSIE MUELLER,
AND
RENÉE FLEMING
WILL STAR IN
“THE BEST MUSICAL OF THE 20th CENTURY” (Time Magazine)

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S
“CAROUSEL”
ON BROADWAY NEXT SEASON

THREE-TIME TONY AWARD-WINNER
JACK O’BRIEN
WILL DIRECT

CHOREOGRAPHY BY
JUSTIN PECK

OPENING NIGHT SET FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 23, 2018

Producers Scott Rudin and Roy Furman announced today that Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel will return to Broadway next season, in a new production directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Justin Peck. Joshua Henry will portray Billy Bigelow, Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller will play Julie Jordan, and, in her first appearance in a Broadway musical, Renée Fleming will star as Nettie Fowler, leading a cast that will also feature Amar Ramasar as Jigger, and Brittany Pollack as Louise. Opening night on Broadway is set for Thursday, March 23, 2018.

The creative team of this new production of Carousel includes Santo Loquasto (Scenic Design), Ann Roth (Costume Design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (Lighting Design), Jonathan Tunick (Orchestrations), Andy Einhorn (Musical Supervision and Direction), and Scott Lehrer (Sound Design).

Following the 1943 opening of their epochal hit Oklahoma!, first-time collaborators Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II embarked on their second project. They found their source material in Ferenc Molnár’s Liliom, which had been a Broadway hit in 1921 for The Theatre Guild (the producers of Oklahoma!, which was also based on an earlier play produced by the Guild). Transported from the outskirts of Budapest to a New England mill town, Carousel told of the tragic romance between carnival barker Billy Bigelow and factory-worker Julie Jordan. Broadway had never seen a musical which centered around a brutally harsh marriage, culminating in suicide and redemption – themes that attracted Rodgers and Hammerstein to the property.

Carousel opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on April 19, 1945 to unanimous raves. Brooks Atkinson, in The New York Times, called Carousel, “nothing less than a masterpiece.” John Chapman of the Daily News proclaimed it “The finest musical play I have ever seen.”

In 1999, Time Magazine named Carousel the best musical of the century, saying that Rodgers & Hammerstein “set the standard for the 20th century musical, and this show features their most beautiful score and the most skillful and affecting example of their musical storytelling.”

Rodgers wrote thirty-eight Broadway musicals over the course of his sixty-year career, but he frequently cited Carousel as his favorite. “Oscar never wrote more meaningful or more moving lyrics, and to me, my score is more satisfying than any I’ve ever written,” he said in his autobiography, Musical Stages. “But it’s not just the songs; it’s the whole play. Beautifully written, tender without being mawkish, it affects me deeply every time I see it performed.”

B I O G R A P H I E S

Joshua Henry (Billy Bigelow) currently stars as Aaron Burr in the First National Tour of Hamilton. He was last seen on Broadway starring as Noble Sissle in the musical Shuffle Along... opposite Audra McDonald. He received critical acclaim for his Tony Award-nominated performance opposite Sutton Foster in the musical Violet on Broadway, which garnered him Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League Award nominations. He was previously nominated for a Tony for his starring role in The Scottsboro Boys. Henry’s other Broadway credits include leading roles in Diane Paulus’ revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and American Idiot. Mr. Henry recently sang with Sutton Foster in concert with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall and also with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He recently starred as Jim Conley at Avery Fisher Hall in Jason Robert Brown’s Parade. Other film credits include Sex and the City and Winter's Tale.

Jessie Mueller (Julie Jordan) is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress, who most recently starred as Jenna in composer-lyricist Sara Bareilles’ hit Broadway musical Waitress, for which Mueller was nominated for a Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy Award. A native of Evanston, Illinois, Mueller began her career in Chicago, where she appeared at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, and Writers Theatre, with roles as varied as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Esther in Meet Me in St. Louis. She received a Jeff Award, Chicago’s top theater honor, in 2008 as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel and in 2011 as Amalia Balash in She Loves Me. Mueller made her Broadway debut in 2012 opposite Harry Connick, Jr. as Melinda in On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations). She went on to star on Broadway in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Drama Desk nomination), Nice Work if You Can Get It (opposite Matthew Broderick), and as Carole King in Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, for which she won a Tony, Drama Desk and Grammy Award. Other theater includes the New York Philharmonic’s staged and televised concert production of Carousel at Lincoln Center (playing Carrie Pipperidge once again) and Cinderella in The Public Theater production of Into the Woods at the Delacorte Theatre. Mueller also had a recurring role opposite Andrew McCarthy on ABC’s “The Family.”

Renée Fleming (Nettie Fowler) is one of the most beloved and celebrated singers of our time. At a White House ceremony in 2013, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts, America's highest honor for an individual artist. Known as “the people’s diva” and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, she has graced the world’s greatest opera stages and concert halls, extending her reach to include other musical forms and media. In recent years, Fleming has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series for movie theaters and television, and “Live From Lincoln Center” on PBS. She brought her voice to a vast new audience in 2014, as the first classical artist to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. As a musical statesman, Fleming has been sought after on numerous distinguished occasions, from the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. Her 2017 recital and concert schedule spans the globe, including Budapest, Vienna, Amsterdam, Moscow, Brussels, Paris, London, Madrid, Helsinki, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, Houston, Chicago, and New York. A four-time Grammy winner, Fleming won the 2013 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy Award for Poèmes, a collection of 20th-Century French music, including works composed especially for her by Henri Dutilleux. Her most recent album, Distant Light, was recorded with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic. In 2015, she was featured with Yo-Yo Ma on the Billy Childs album, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. The track, “New York Tendaberry,” won the Grammy for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals. In 2012, Fleming received the Victoire d’Honneur, the highest award conveyed by the French Victoires de la Musique. Among her numerous awards are Germany's Cross of the Order of Merit (2015); the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal (2011); Sweden’s Polar Prize (2008); the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur from the French government (2005); Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music (2003); and honorary doctorates from Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University (2015), Carnegie Mellon University (2012), the Eastman School of Music (2011), and The Juilliard School (2003), where she was also commencement speaker. In 2016, Fleming was appointed Artistic Advisor-at-Large for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, the Board of Trustees of Asia Society, and the Artistic Advisory Board of the Polyphony Foundation, which works to bridge the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel by creating a common ground where young people come together around classical music. She is a creative advisor to AIR, the Association of Independents in Radio. In 2010, she was named the first-ever Creative Consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she is also a member of the Board and a Vice President. At Lyric Opera of Chicago, she curated the creation of a world-premiere opera based on the best-seller Bel Canto, for Lyric Opera's 2015-2016 season. A performance of the production was telecast on PBS “Great Performances” in January.

Amar Ramasar (Jigger) was born in the Bronx, New York, and began his studies at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in 1993. In addition, he studied at the American Ballet Theatre Summer Program and The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet. In July 2000, Mr. Ramasar was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in July 2001, he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in March of 2006 and in October 2009 was promoted to principal. He has originated featured roles in Mauro Bigonzetti’s Luce Nascosta and Oltremare; Ashley Bouder’s Give Me Fever; Jorma Elo’s Slice to Sharp; Jean-Pierre Frohlich’s Varied Trio (in four); Douglas Lee’s Lifecasting; Peter Martins’ Bal de Couture, Chichester Psalms, Friandises, Ocean’s Kingdom, and The Red Violin; Wayne McGregor’s Outlier; Benjamin Millepied’s Plainspoken, Quasi Una Fantasia, and Why am I not where you are; Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go, Paz de la Jolla, and Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes; Angelin Preljocaj’s Spectral Evidence; Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Russian Seasons; Liam Scarlett’s Acheron; Susan Stroman’s Frankie and Johnny…and Rose; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Les Carillons. He was also featured in the 2010 film adaptation of Jerome Robbins’ “N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz” and the documentary Ballet 422 (2015), which follows the creation of Justin Peck’s Paz de la Jolla. Mr. Ramasar was a recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 2000, and the Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer in 2015.

Brittany Pollack (Louise) is from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. She attended the School of American Ballet for four years prior to joining the New York City Ballet in 2007. She became a soloist in 2013. Principal dance roles: performed around the world in ballets choreographed by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, & Alexei Ratmansky. Film/television credits: “NY Export: Opus Jazz” (PBS, 2010), Camp (2001), “The David Letterman Show,” “Live From Lincoln Center’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” (PBS, 2011), “Great Performances New York City Ballet in Paris” (PBS, 2017). Other credits: “Clara” in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular (2002), Cover of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” issue, Cover of Henry Leutwyler’s book, Ballet (2015). Pollack graduated with a BA degree, summa cum laude, from Fordham University in 2014 and is expecting to graduate with her MBA degree in the Spring 2018.

Richard Rodgers (Composer) & Oscar Hammerstein II (Book & Lyrics). After long and highly distinguished careers with other collaborators, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II joined forces to create the most consistently fruitful and successful partnership in the American musical theatre. Prior to his work with Hammerstein, Rodgers (1902-1979) collaborated with lyricist Lorenz Hart on a series of musicals that epitomized the wit and sophistication of Broadway in its heyday. Prolific on Broadway, in London and in Hollywood from the '20s into the early '40s, Rodgers & Hart wrote more than 40 shows and film scores. Among their greatest were On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, The Boys from Syracuse, I Married an Angel, and Pal Joey. Throughout the same era, Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) embarked on collaborations with such preeminent composers as Rudolf Friml, Sigmund Romberg and Vincent Youmans, resulting in classics as The Desert Song, Rose-Marie, and The New Moon. With Jerome Kern, he wrote Show Boat, the 1927 musical that changed the course of modern musical theatre. His last musical before embarking on an exclusive partnership with Richard Rodgers was Carmen Jones, the highly-acclaimed 1943 revision of Georges Bizet's tragic opera Carmen. Oklahoma!, the first Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, was also the first of a new genre: the musical play. A milestone in the development of the American musical, it also marked the beginning of their legendary partnership, and was followed by Carousel, Allegro, South Pacific, The King And I, Me And Juliet, Pipe Dream, Flower Drum Song and The Sound Of Music. Rodgers & Hammerstein wrote one musical specifically for the big screen, State Fair, and one for television, Cinderella. Collectively, the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals earned 35 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards and 2 Emmy Awards. In 1998 Rodgers & Hammerstein were cited by Time Magazine and CBS News as among the 20 most influential artists of the 20th century and in 1999 they were jointly commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp.

Jack O’Brien (Director) was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for his documentary “Becoming Mike Nichols” for HBO. His Broadway credits include The Front Page, It’s Only a Play, Macbeth, The Nance, The Coast of Utopia (Tony Award), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony nomination), Henry IV (Tony), Hairspray (Tony), Imaginary Friends, The Invention of Love (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award), The Full Monty (Tony nomination), The Little Foxes, Damn Yankees, Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony nomination), and Porgy and Bess (Tony nomination). Metropolitan Opera: Il Trittico. Carnegie Hall: Guys and Dolls. Central Park: Much Ado About Nothing. London: Love Never Dies and Hairspray (Olivier Award nomination). National Theatre: His Girl Friday. He was the Artistic Director of the Old Globe from 1981-2007 and directed six productions for PBS’s “American Playhouse.” His autobiography, Jack Be Nimble, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Most recently, O’Brien directed the critically acclaimed national tour of The Sound of Music and the world premiere of the Jake Heggie/Terrence McNally opera Great Scott for The Dallas Opera.

Justin Peck (Choreographer) is a soloist and the Resident Choreographer of New York City Ballet. Peck grew up in San Diego, California, where he studied at California Ballet for two years. In 2003, he began training at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. He was named an apprentice in 2006, joined the NYCB corps de ballet in spring 2007, and was promoted to soloist in February 2013. In the Fall of 2009, Peck participated in the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of NYCB, and in 2011, NYCB Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins designated Peck to receive NYCB’s first year-long choreographic residency. Peck choreographed six works for New York City Ballet in two years—In Creases (2012), Year of the Rabbit (2012), Paz de la Jolla (2013), Take-Offs and Landings (NYCB MOVES, 2013), Capricious Maneuvers (2013), and Everywhere We Go (2014)—and was named Resident Choreographer, the second in the company’s history, in July 2014. As Resident Choreographer, he has created 14 ballets, including Belles-Lettres (2014), Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes (2015; Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), New Blood (2015), The Most Incredible Thing (2016), The Dreamers (2016) and, most recently, The Times Are Racing, in which he also performed. Many of Peck’s more than 30 ballets have been created for a range of companies including Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, the New York Choreographic Institute, the School of American Ballet, the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival, and New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival, San Francisco Ballet and Paris Opéra Ballet. His film credits include the documentary film Ballet 422, directed by Jody Lee Lipes, which follows the creation of Paz de la Jolla.
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