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Ramasar, Pollack heading to Broadway in Carousel

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13 hours ago, vipa said:

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.

This is the scene:  (Yes, for some reason, Tiler Peck's book scene is on Youtube, but the ballet is not.)

And yes, I would agree that the challenge now with interpreting Carousel is not the portrayal of the flawed Billy.  It's the interpretation of Julie.  How do you interpret "What's the Use of Wondrin'?"  Do you still underscore the "he hit me, but it felt like a kiss" scene (above) with "If I Loved You" and what does that say?  

It's like the Shylock question.  The original writer clearly viewed the situation one way ("Yes, of course the best resolution is to force Shylock to convert!"), and that's very uncomfortable for contemporary audiences.  Our local Shakespeare company did a beautiful production of "Two Gentlemen of Verona" last year.  I don't think there is any way that they would do it this year for the same reasons.

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On 4/8/2018 at 8:43 PM, Quiggin said:

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. 

Oh, I'm not disagreeing with that. But perhaps Shaw didn't work that out clearly in his ending to the play.

(I'd say, however, that it's not so much that Eliza "sees through" Higgins as she realizes that he will never be husband material. Shaw does suggest that. I like to think that Eliza was always a strong independent woman, which is why she seeks out Higgins on her own in the first place. She wants something better in life and she goes after it.)

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Posted (edited)

Justin Peck is nominated for a Tony award for best choreography for Carousel.  (No nominatons for Ramasar or Pollack.)

Many award nominations for this revival.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/01/theater/tony-awards-nominees-list.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Farts&action=click&contentCollection=arts&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

Edited by abatt

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I saw Carousel last night and was *so bummed* that Ramasar did not dance!!! 😞     It was fun to see Pollack and Craig Salstein, but very disappointed about Ramasar. Hope no injury, and can't wait to see him back at NYCB. 

I am someone totally unfamiliar with musical theater and I went into the show knowing nothing except what I've read about the production and "metoo" etc. Yes the central relationship is problematic, and I wondered about the portrayal of Billy in this production. He just seemed mean. I didn't sense any moments of tenderness between him and Julie, didn't get a sense of what she saw in him at all. Wouldn't there be a way to portray him where he's deeply flawed, but more sympathetic, at least some of the time? Like with a scruffy charm, or someone who has tender moments. Maybe we're supposed to be baffled at Julie's choice, but it would be more relatable to me if I could at least understand something she saw in him. But he just seemed brutal and mean. 

Otherwise, however, I absolutely loved it, and left thinking I've really been missing out by focusing exclusively on ballet and opera. Theatre, here I come!! The music, the singing, and the production were all totally ravishing, and I was awash in weepy tears at the end. I'll be eager to see it again when it shows up on TDF.

 

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I saw the production a few weeks ago on May 1st.  Amar was in as Jigger Craigin and I expected to be impressed with his dancing but also found his acting quite natural and his handling of dialogue convincing.

I found the two leads problematic in different ways.  Something that was brought up by Canbelto in her blog review and is apposite here is that there is little or no sexual chemistry between Julie and Billy in this production - Jessie Mueller and Joshua Henry just don't strike sparks.  Julie Jordan needs to have this quiet, "still waters run deep" manner about her with passion and strength underneath it.  The bench scene needs to crackle with undertones of suppressed sexual excitement, danger and desire.  Jessie Mueller just didn't capture Julie's personality at all making the character dull, passive and recessive.  Joshua Henry is certainly physically built, handsome and imposing but he didn't radiate the charisma with insecurity underneath it that is so central to Billy.  But the lack of connection between the two leads is the problem and contributed to your bewilderment.  BTW: I thought Joshua Henry's "Soliloquy" was outstanding.  I could get into the subject of casting a black actor as Billy and some of the racial issues/perceptions that arise from that.  Making him a black man in a white community kind of makes Billy's problems with society, women and money a racial issue instead of a class and attitude problem.  But that is a fraught subject that is open to be misconstrued and misapplied.  Another thing:  the old-fashioned light operatic "legit" vocalism of Broadway in the early and mid-20th century seems to be a thing of the past.  Carrie Pipperidge was a high belter and Julie Jordan a folky soprano - neither the lyric soprano of Jan Clayton, Jean Darling, Barbara Cook, Shirley Jones or Florence Henderson.  Similarly, Joshua Henry had a gritty high pop baritone that could handle the wide range of the "Soliloquy" but wasn't an operetta baritone like John Raitt, Alfred Drake or Howard Keel.  Even Renée Fleming as Nettie toned down the operatic overtones in "You'll Never Walk Alone".  

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I returned to Carousel for a second viewing, and so happy to get to see Amar Ramasar (he was out the night I saw it the first time). I found his acting convincing, but the only problem, if that's the right word, was his dancing. Ramasar's dancing is so inherently noble and elegant that I found it impossible to believe him as a total low life. 

Agreeing with the previous posts about the lack of chemistry between Julie and Billy. On the other hand, the Carrie Pipperidge-Enoch Snow pair were absolutely totally delightful. 

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On 5/11/2018 at 7:19 AM, FauxPas said:

Another thing:  the old-fashioned light operatic "legit" vocalism of Broadway in the early and mid-20th century seems to be a thing of the past.  Carrie Pipperidge was a high belter and Julie Jordan a folky soprano - neither the lyric soprano of Jan Clayton, Jean Darling, Barbara Cook, Shirley Jones or Florence Henderson.  Similarly, Joshua Henry had a gritty high pop baritone that could handle the wide range of the "Soliloquy" but wasn't an operetta baritone like John Raitt, Alfred Drake or Howard Keel.  

That's a shame.  Jessie Mueller is actually a quite good legit soprano, and has played quite a few of the classic legit soprano roles in the past very well: Amalia in "She Loves Me," Cinderella in "Into the Woods," and of course, Carrie in "Carousel."  I think she still does "Ice Cream" in concert, and sings the high B very capably.

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