This classic Rodgers and Hammerstein play examines the nitty-gritty of life in a way musicals seldom do. The play centers around Julie and Billy, who meet and fall in love at the carousel where he works.
Despite objections from both lovers’ friends, they continue their relationship. Later Julie becomes pregnant and Billy evolves into the typical deadbeat and gets talked into taking part in a robbery which leads to his demise. However, the powers that be send him back to right his wrongs and save his soul.
“I love the way Rodgers and Hammerstein created this musical,” says Wainstein.”The song and dance are as integral to telling the story as the script, which was a groundbreaking thing in their time.”
Though originally set in the 1800s, Wainstein has moved the timeline to cover 1948-1963 and uses the changing atmosphere of this time as an important element in the play.
“It’s really about the loss of innocence, much like this period of going from prosperity post-World War II to the jaded times of JFK and drugs,” explains Wainstein.
No matter the setting, this production is mammoth in its proportions, boasting a cast of 42 and sets that are nothing short of amazing. In a production that even professionals can struggle with, how does Wainstein think his students will fare?
“There are no weak links here and it’s truly been a pleasure to see the students work theatre to the bones and really evolve with their work.”
When talking to the show’s principle stars Jessica Giannone and Will Mobley, they agreed that the process of working through the play and growing as a group has been an exceptional experience.
“Looking back on the whole journey from beginning to end and seeing the growth, that’s my favorite part,” says Mobley.
“I love the group we have here, it’s like a troupe,” says Giannone.” I wish we could keep going as a group, everyone is just so dedicated.”
Wainstein is thrilled to see the students take to the show, and hopes the audience will also.
“Carousel was hot in my time, but now no one recognizes it,” says Wainstein. “The whole period and style is so foreign to most people nowadays, so it’s going to be fun to let them experience it.”
As a musical it certainly stands out as doesn’t have the light and fluffy plot one has come to expect from a show filled music and dancing. The story is honestly sad.
There’s illegitimate pregnancy, death, abuse, and social barriers, characteristics that generally set it apart from other musicals. But one thing it has that makes it true to its genre is outstanding music.
“Rodgers and Hammerstein are the Shakespeare of musicals,” explains Wainstein. “The vocal demands are astounding, but from it you get gorgeous music.”
Whether you’re a Rodgers and Hammerstein fan, curious about what SCAD does, or just waiting for an excuse to attend something at the phenomenal Lucas Theatre, this show promises a unique experience.
Feb. 24-28 at 8pm, Feb. 27 at 11am, March 1 at 3pm at the Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St. Call 912-525-5050 or visit www.scadboxoffice.com for more info.