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Carousel: a collaboration of many fine talents


By Dasha Morgan –

David Craig Starkey, Artistic Director of the Asheville Lyric Opera, and Daniel Meyer, Asheville Symphony Orchestra Conductor, have combined their talents to produce one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most beloved musicals, Carousel at the Diana Wortham Theater on July 19th and 20th.

Carousel has won many awards and was a favorite of Rodgers and Hammerstein, who are recognized for The Sound of Music, The King and I, and Oklahoma. In addition to the themes of love and redemption, Carousel includes the unforgettable songs, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “If I Loved You.” The stage will be filled with amazing talent; this collaborative performance should not be missed. David Craig Starkey as stage director and Daniel Meyer have collaborated this summer to produce a performance of extraordinary vitality and musicality. Theater goers who appreciate the human voice are being offered a rare opportunity to hear extraordinarily talented individuals, while they enjoy a delightful musical production.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical tells the story of two young lovers in a small American coastal town. Quiet mill worker Julie Jordan attracts the eye of Billy Bigelow, a town newcomer who operates the popular carousel. Their pairing creates a stir in the small town, even causing both to lose their jobs. Despite their difficulties, the two marry, and in a twist of fate, Julie learns she is pregnant. Billy’s criminal history resurfaces as he struggles for a way to support his child, compounding the couple’s hardships as new parents. The story also follows the love affair of outspoken Carrie Newcomer and her quiet, beloved fisherman, Mr. Snow. Carousel paints an idyllic, yet honest look at the lives of the townspeople.

An incredible cast of singers, dancers and stars will bring the dramatic story to life in a staged concert. Kristen Hedberg will play the part of Julie Jordan, and Dominic Aquilino will be Billy Bigelow. Carrie Brown Mullinix is Carrie Pipperidge, and Wayne Hobbs is Enoch Snow. Summer artists, who are participating in ALO’s summer Artist Training Program, will join the cast of Carousel in the production as part of the ensemble. This includes Elizabeth Kelsay, Brooke Tolley, Patty Kramer, Bryce Bartu, and Dalton Woody. These young and gifted interns have come from all over the United States for an intensive two month training process with the Asheville Lyric Opera. In addition, dancers from the MOTION Dance Theater will also be a part of the performance. This should bring the evening’s experience to a even higher caliber. The gifted Nick Kepley is collaborating with Asheville Lyric Opera as the choreographer. An Asheville native Kepley has gone on to dance professionally in multiple dance companies as well as on Broadway.

For this performance the orchestra, led by maestro Daniel Meyer, will be on stage with the singers. Meyer has gathered 30 of the region’s most talented musicians to play the score. This provides an opportunity for the director to incorporate the orchestra into the action. The actors become the foundation of the drama and the orchestra acts as a living set. There are costumes, furniture and props, and lighting design, which you see in a full production. However there are limited sets and no back drop. This staged concert is a distinctive musical style and possibly a novel experience for some.

To see and hear this beautiful production, just call the Diana Wortham Theater for your tickets: This dramatic classic can be seen on Friday, July 19th at 8 p.m. and Saturday, July 20th at 3 or 8 p.m. Some tickets are still available at the theater box office at 828 257-4530.

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