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Ramasar, Pollack heading to Broadway in Carousel

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In a crazy way, I'm sorry to hear that Amar was great! If he flopped on Broadway, at least we could be sure he'd return to NYCB. I just pray he doesn't go the way of Robert Fairchild. 

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I once saw an interview with Ramasar on PBS's NYC Arts program, in which Ramasar said that throughout his childhood he loved acting and was involved in acting projects.  He said it was very difficult for him to choose between going to SAB to pursue a career in ballet or pursuing acting. Acting has been a  lifelong passion for Ramasar, not something he is now first experimenting or dabbling in. 

I

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OMG. That's not what I want to hear! Come back soon, Amar!!!

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Well I think Amar is different from Fairchild for a few reasons:

1) Robert Fairchild moved almost immediately into a leading man role and got nominated for Tony. Jigger really isn't a star-making role.

2) Fairchild also went to London where he ... well we all know how that story turned out.

 

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I actually haven't heard very good things about this production, other than for Lindsay Mendez as Carrie and the choreography/dancing.  I honestly think that it's challenging to interpret Carousel in a post-#metoo environment, and from what I've heard, Jack O'Brien was not up to the task.  I don't know how long this production will be staying on Broadway.

For what it's worth, my parents saw it while they were in NYC recently, and loved it though.  They loved the singing and dancing and ignored everything else.  :thumbsup:

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31 minutes ago, sidwich said:

I actually haven't heard very good things about this production, other than for Lindsay Mendez as Carrie and the choreography/dancing.  I honestly think that it's challenging to interpret Carousel in a post-#metoo environment, and from what I've heard, Jack O'Brien was not up to the task.  I don't know how long this production will be staying on Broadway.

For what it's worth, my parents saw it while they were in NYC recently, and loved it though.  They loved the singing and dancing and ignored everything else.  :thumbsup:

Well it's made over 1mil for three weeks now. I think it will have a respectable run.

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I'm going to see Carousel on Saturday.  Can't wait!

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Very glad to see the chunk of the deMille choreography here -- it's been a long time since I saw something of the Broadway version (rather than the film).  For those who are seeing this new production, it would be great to hear some compare/contrast.

Pacific Northwest Ballet does the Wheeldon ballet set to excerpts from the score, and it also has a kind of uncomfortable aspect to the male/female relationship.  The Wheeldon is far less specific than the original material, but still, you have the feeling that this will not end well.

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18 hours ago, canbelto said:

Well it's made over 1mil for three weeks now. I think it will have a respectable run.

It's still in previews, and doesn't open until next Thursday.  Hopefully, some of the issues that I've been hearing about will be fixed.  But it's already posting 50% tickets for all performances at the TKTS booth which doesn't bode well.  (For comparison, Phantom which has been running for 30ish years has tickets in a range of discounts throughout the week).

Let's see what the reviews look like.  We'll probably have a better idea then.

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19 hours ago, sidwich said:

I actually haven't heard very good things about this production, other than for Lindsay Mendez as Carrie and the choreography/dancing.  I honestly think that it's challenging to interpret Carousel in a post-#metoo environment,

Carousel has always been challenging in Billy's character, his relationship with Julie and her reactions to him. More so today than ever. There is a place in the show when Billy says (paraphrasing) She'd say, I'd say, she'd say, she'd be right so I hit her.  There's another place in which Louise asks Julie if a person can be hit but it not hurt. Pollack, in an interview, said they changed Julie's response. Instead of answering they walk off together.  

I'm interested in seeing how these things are dealt with and how audiences react. As a side note - many, many years ago my husband was in a production of Carousel that was choreographed by Peter Martins. I find some irony in that at the moment.

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Justin Peck's choreography definitely isn't DeMille but it's not the ballet-lite stuff of Christopher Wheeldon's AAiP. It's more like modern-dance lite, if that makes sense. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sandik said:

Very glad to see the chunk of the deMille choreography here -- 

Me too. I'm afraid we're losing the deMille works which are at least as worth preserving as Robbins'. They seem to have an accidental affinity to some of the contemporary works I see posted at Jacobs Pillow.

Nice Brigadoon ballet at 55:00. Would be great if some company presented a version on a mixed bill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTHpFFm7RAY

Edited by Quiggin

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deMille felt very strongly that she wanted to create American dancing -- she was influenced as much by Graham and Humphrey as she was by any classical material.  But it's difficult to find a group that will do that kind of Americana work seriously today.

Many thanks for the link to the more recent production.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/4/2018 at 4:46 PM, vipa said:

Carousel has always been challenging in Billy's character, his relationship with Julie and her reactions to him. More so today than ever. There is a place in the show when Billy says (paraphrasing) She'd say, I'd say, she'd say, she'd be right so I hit her.  There's another place in which Louise asks Julie if a person can be hit but it not hurt. Pollack, in an interview, said they changed Julie's response. Instead of answering they walk off together.  

I'm interested in seeing how these things are dealt with and how audiences react. As a side note - many, many years ago my husband was in a production of Carousel that was choreographed by Peter Martins. I find some irony in that at the moment.

When Billy tries to give Louise the star he's stolen, he frightens her and when she tries to get away, he hits her.  Louise tells her mother that a man hit her, hit her really hard, but it felt like he kissed her.  She then asks her mother if it was possible for someone to hit you, but for it not to hurt.  Julie says, yes, it's possible for someone to hit you and for it not to hurt. 

As you can imagine, this is more than little problematic post #metoo.  Actually, it was problematic even pre-#metoo.  There was quite a bit of writing about this scene when the Lyric Opera of Chicago did Carousel last year.  (Yes, in the current Broadway production, Julie's response has been cut.) 

As I get older, I understand more Nicholas Hytner's decision to cast Billy and Julie in what would become the acclaimed National Theatre production from the early 1990's first for acting, and second for singing.  I saw the production at both the National in London and then on Broadway, and at the time I was disappointed with Michael Hayden's voice which was relatively weak by the standards of previous Billys.  (I thought Sally Murphy's singing was fine, although she's much better known for her straight dramatic work). 

But I've revised my opinion, and now I think that it's the right call with the challenges of this material.

There's actually some video of Hayden and Murphy doing "If I Loved You" (hidden as "a couple of really talented kids", LOL):

Interestingly, the revival of My Fair Lady that's about to open is dealing with some of the same issues, and has chosen to ... well, let's say, Bart Scher is re-interpreting the final scene of the musical to be more in line with George Bernard Shaw's ending of Pygmalion.

Edited by sidwich

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I saw Carousel yesterday and loved it!  The place was packed, and the audience gave a standing ovation.  Joshua Henry was absolutely brilliant as Billy Bigelow.  It was a real kick to see Ramasar as a tough guy, plus it was fun to see him in a different style of theater.   He danced marvelously and was a splendid Jigger.   Pollack was a lovey Louise, and Salstein was terrific as he sang and danced his way through the performance.   We got to see quite a bit of him. I hope that’s not the last time we see him, as he is no longer on ABT’s roster.   Renee Fleming was a particular treat with that gorgeous voice.  I also thought Justin Peck did a wonderful job with the choreography.  Oh, and being a SYTYCD nut, I happened to spot a winner from a couple of seasons ago dancing in the corps.

I’m not saying that I enjoy seeing abusive behavior of any type, but I am not sure why people are talking about the #metoo movement with respect to the show and how it should be changed.  Why is it okay to show abusive behavior in a film, but not in other forms of entertainment?  At the end of the day, this was how the play was originally written by Oscar Hammerstein.  Yes, a different place and a different time, but an essential part of the story showing that the Billy Bigelow character was a deeply flawed individual which was portrayed superbly by Joshua Henry.  The hitting of Julie was implied, and not actually seen (although we did see him almost strike her).  His striking of Louise was a slap on the hand which drew gasps from the audience. 

I recommend this show to anyone who loves musical theater and dance.  Also, seeing three ballet dancers who I happen to admire (especially Ramasar) was the icing on the cake.

 

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1 hour ago, NinaFan said:

I’m not saying that I enjoy seeing abusive behavior of any type, but I am not sure why people are talking about the #metoo movement with respect to the show and how it should be changed.  Why is it okay to show abusive behavior in a film, but not in other forms of entertainment?  At the end of the day, this was how the play was originally written by Oscar Hammerstein.  Yes, a different place and a different time, but an essential part of the story showing that the Billy Bigelow character was a deeply flawed individual which was portrayed superbly by Joshua Henry.  The hitting of Julie was implied, and not actually seen (although we did see him almost strike her).  His striking of Louise was a slap on the hand which drew gasps from the audience. 

I recommend this show to anyone who loves musical theater and dance.  Also, seeing three ballet dancers who I happen to admire (especially Ramasar) was the icing on the cake.

 

Thank you NinaFan for that review. I'm looking forward to seeing the show. In respect to the show and the #metoo movement, I think the bigger issue to grapple with is not Billy's behavior (he is a character who engages in violent behavior towards his wife), the trickier part is her reaction to it. In the original, when Louise asks her mother if it's possible to be hit and it not hurt at all (paraphrasing), Julie replies it is possible. That line has been removed from this production. Julie seems accepting of the abuse. IMO portraying that is a tricky thing in any time period, but more so now.

Posters on this site have mentioned a discomfort with the scene in Fancy Free in which the men are teasing/menacing? the girl with the red bag. It has to be handled well so the audience of today isn't made uncomfortable. 

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28 minutes ago, vipa said:

Posters on this site have mentioned a discomfort with the scene in Fancy Free in which the men are teasing/menacing? the girl with the red bag. It has to be handled well so the audience of today isn't made uncomfortable. 

Yes, I've seen the comments about Fancy Free on BA.  It's a strange thing, but I never thought of the teasing as menacing until I read the comments on BA.  I look at it as comic entertainment as opposed to a dramatic representation. I've seen Fancy Free countless times, and usually the audience just laughs.  But yes, I certainly understand that someone could take it as threatening, especially if they've encountered bullying and intimidation in their lives.  

Enjoy the show!

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Posted (edited)

Thought I'd add a background note that "Carousel" was originally a 1909 Hungarian play by Frerenc Molnar called "Liliom" and had a distinguished history on its own before it became a Rodgers and Hammerstein work.  

Someone at Wikipedia has written a good comparison of the original to the musical:

Quote

... many elements of Liliom are retained faithfully in Carousel, an unusual step in the 1940s for a musical play based on such a serious drama. Molnár's basic plotline for Liliom and Julie is largely adhered to as is much of his dialogue (although Hammerstein makes it more colloquial and gives it a New England flavor).  Billy Bigelow is a womanizer and an abusive husband, as is Liliom in the non-musical play; however, both the Molnar play and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical are careful to stress that he has hit his wife only once, and that other characters erroneously believe that he is a habitual wife-beater.

Michael Curtiz ("Casablanca" and "Mildred Pierce") began but didn't complete a film version of "Liliom" in 1919. Fritz Lang directed a version in 1934 with Charles Boyer as Liliom, reportedly one of Lang's favorite of his films. Orson Welles did a radio version. Ingrid Bergman was in the stage version in 1941, which led to the musical being commissioned  by the Theatre Guild.

Hamburg Ballet did a version of "Liliom" in 2011 with music by Michel Legrand and Alina Cojocaru as Julie. 

I wonder if "Carousel" paved the way for GB Shaw's "Pygmalion" to be adapted for "My Fair Lady". Parts of the two are very close.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liliom

Edited by Quiggin

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There was a one-off concert performance of Carousel in 2013 at Lincoln Center which I happened to see later on satellite and was mesmerised by the dancers who danced "Heaven's Ballet" in front of the orchestra on stage. This was before I had taken up ballet and didn't know who they were, but was very impressed especially with the ballerina, and rushed to my laptop to look up as soon as it ended : Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild ! Sadly only a glimpse of it is posted on YT, wish I could have found it for the benefit of those who might not have seen it :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPQp-Re-PlA

 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, mnacenani said:

There was a one-off concert performance of Carousel in 2013 at Lincoln Center which I happened to see later on satellite and was mesmerised by the dancers who danced "Heaven's Ballet" in front of the orchestra on stage. This was before I had taken up ballet and didn't know who they were, but was very impressed especially with the ballerina, and rushed to my laptop to look up as soon as it ended : Tiler Peck and Robbie Fairchild ! Sadly only a glimpse of it is posted on YT, wish I could have found it for the benefit of those who might not have seen it :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPQp-Re-PlA

 

Yes, it was lovely.  The entire concert performance was broadcast live on PBS.   Just found it on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Live-Lincoln-Center-Hammersteins-Carousel/dp/B01N1RNL6H

Edited by NinaFan

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5 minutes ago, NinaFan said:

Yes, it was lovely.  The entire concert performance was broadcast on PBS.  Perhaps there is a way to find it somewhere?

It's available on dvd which I have but could not find it on YT to post.

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I wonder if "Carousel" paved the way for GB Shaw's "Pygmalion" to be adapted for "My Fair Lady". 

OT - Shaw did not want any of his plays to be adapted for a musical after a bad experience with Arms and the Man, I think it wasbut the idea of a musical based on the play had been knocking around for some time - Franz Lehar had wanted to do it in the 20s.  Rodgers & Hammerstein thought about it and decided against.  There are difficulties with following the play as written, and Lerner solved the problem by following the screenplay of the 1938 film, with its extra scenes that open up the play and a "romantic" ending that annoyed Shaw intensely. Since the play's premiere audiences have wanted Higgins and Eliza to end up together even though Shaw went so far as to write an exasperated explanation of why they shouldn't, and some producers have tried to satisfy that wish. (Shaw's original ending to the play did leave some ambiguity, and Shaw went back to the ending a number of times to rejigger it, suggesting that he realized he hadn't made his intentions into a satisfactory conclusion.)

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Since the play's premiere audiences have wanted Higgins and Eliza to end up together even though Shaw went so far as to write an exasperated explanation of why they shouldn't,  ...

Regarding "Pygmalion," I remember it being pointed out that because Higgins makes a strong independent woman out of Eliza, she sees through him and has to reject him. Shaw's irony is lost if she stays. That's the ending that always seemed reasonable to me. 

What interests me about "Carousel" is that it's an Hungarian play under the hood and has a bit of what I think of as that cultural sensibility  – the tone of Sandor Marai's or Peter Nadas's novels or even of Andre Kertesz's photographs: sweet/bitter. The Cinemascope 2.3:1 movie version (what do you do with all that empty on-screen space, what could survive it?) seems pretty Americanized though. I'd also be curious if "Liliom" the play infuenced Williams a bit in writing "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Elia Kazan, the director of "Streetcar", was in the 1940 Broadway cast of "Liliom") and if there is some of the main character in other 50's tough guy roles. 

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