When Joe and I first heard that The Rhinebeck Theatre Society was presenting CAROUSEL, Rogers and Hammerstein’s most loved Musical, at the Center for Performing Arts we just had to see it! We have always enjoyed the music, the story and everything about it. So, it was a lovely Sunday Afternoon and the road trip over the Taconic to Rhinebeck was beautiful. I just knew it was going to be a great day because Joe and I were on our way to see CAROUSEL. It turned out to be a most memorable day: CAROUSEL at 70.
When we entered the Red Theatre Barn at the Center for Performing Arts, we noted that there was a watercolor exhibit by Denise Jalbert, (formerly of Maine, now of Hyde Park) depicting several aspects of the scenic coast of Maine. Once seated in the theatre, the lovely landscape paintings, exhibited along the proscenium’s rich crimson, velvet curtain greeted the audience, setting just the right mood for CAROUSEL. The overture began, the curtains opened , the paintings were miraculously flown to the top of the theatre and presto , we were taken to the rustic seacoast of Maine and treated to an elegant Ballet performed by many, very talented ensemble members within an exquisitely creative and crafted set.
O’ how wonderful to hear the melodic strains of the “ Carousel Waltz”, Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s songs and lyrics sung so beautifully throughout the show by an amazing, talented and gifted cast: Kudos to Alex Heinen (Carrie); Elizabeth Thomas(Julie); Louise Pillai(Mrs. Mullin); Chris Vallone(Billy );David); Alexandra Haynes(Nettie); Jovan Bradley(Enoch); Jeremy Ratel(Jigger); Thomas Mayhar(Policeman); Andy Crispell(Starkeepe/.Dr. Seldon); Paula Lucas(Heavenly Friend); Jane Carney (Louise) Riley Cornelison(Enoch Jr/Carnival Boy) Every song was performed with facile artistry by all: ““Mister Snow” “If I loved You” “ June is Bustin’ Out All Over “Geraniums in the Winder” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” “Billy’s Soliloquy” to name but a few.
We were mystified by the entire set with its use of natural woods, brilliant colors and design, the set and set paintings and projections are exquisite. The Carousel, designed for this production with its lights atop and its beautifully painted horses was choreographed along with the actors whizzing around the stage to our delight. We were now at a carnival in Maine …And so the story told with compassion about life, about community and our life choices by Rogers and Hammerstein began again… in Rhinebeck this time.
Andy Weintraub, Director and Set/Lighting Designer along with Paul and JoAnne Schubert, Musical Directors, Marcus McGreer, Choreographer, Donna Letteri, Costume Designer and their colleagues joined by a sparkling cast and dedicated crew and the Members of the Rhinebeck Theatre Society gifted us all with a show of sheer eloquence and grace from start to finish.
CAROUSEL will be presented every weekend through September 20. For further information and tickets: www.centerforperformingarts.org / 845-876-3080.
Watercolors by Denise Jalbert