Civic's production of this 1945 award-winning musical opens with an engaging, colorful whirl of activity in a theme park setting that tightens into its doomed love story with the fetching "Carousel Waltz"darkening into a halt.
Based on a 1920s Hungarian play by Ferenc Molnar, this version is set in a newly industrialized 1870s New England fishing community, beset with class differences and judgmental proper conduct. Carousel set a new standard for musical theatre storytelling by using operatic-like extended music-and-dialog scenes-- "If I Loved You" as Billy and Julie reveal their immediate infatuation, and Billy's Soliloquy as he imagines his relationship with his yet-to-be-born child.
Carousel also addresses spousal abuse, hypocrisy and social prejudice and makes a case for redemption and transformation through a conscious effort to end the cycle; forsake the carousel as the locked in "wheel of life" and learn to make wise choices. Especially fine are production elements including orchestra and scenic, lighting, sound and costume design.
The leads present believable characters and the cast as a whole works to bring forward the story of differing sets of values and outcomes. Originally choreographed by Agnes DeMille, Carousel further set a standard for dance to reveal inner emotions as well as regional folk traditions. Here, Michael Worcel's choreography works well to integrate dance numbers with the story. Call 317-923-4597, log on www.civictheatre.org.