Carousel at Wick Combines Excellent Music, Dance with Extraordinary Tale of Divine Redemptive Power

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel – a complex, intriguing combination of music, life experience (both good and bad) and fantasy – is playing at the Wick Theatre in Boca Raton.  A morality tale about the power of redemption set against a carnivalesque background, it was the second musical created by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) – the duo that debuted as a team with Oklahoma a year or so earlier.

Of course, for Carousel, the Wick has done its usual extraordinary job of transforming the stage into a physically attractive, eye-pleasing representation of a Maine coastline town where the citizens sure know how to party. 

The audience will revel in the dynamic singing, acting and dancing skills of a 36-performer cast – the largest in Wick’s decade-long history.

Rodgers and Hammerstein loaded Carousel with terrific songs – some of the absolute best that ever graced a musical stage. Most of the message-filled, enlightening and life-embracing melodies remain classics today. 

The plot involves the romance of cocky carousel barker Billy Bigelow (power-voiced Trevor Martin ) and Julie Jordan (adept vocalist Julia Suriano), a quiet girl who works in a mill. They meet when Julie and her friend, Carrie Pipperidge (multiple award winner Mallory Newbrough) walk past the carousel. Seeming infatuated, they meet later in the nearby woods where they talk romantically and each sings “If I Loved You.”  

Trevor Martin and Julia Suriano in Carousel, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)


But there’s no “if” here. Clearly, they’re falling in love. They soon marry, but the relationship is volatile. Julie confides in her friend, Carrie, that Billy, frustrated over being unemployed, has hit her.

A secondary plot involving Julie’s friend and fellow millworker, Carrie Pipperidge, and her intense romance with ambitious fisherman Enoch Snow (Sean Birkett) develops. Eventually, they also exchange marital vows and end up raising a large family in a happy home – a 180-degree turn from the home life shared by Billy and Julie. This juxtaposition is sad, but significant.

Faced with the obligatory task of supporting his family – his wife and the unborn baby she carries – Billy reluctantly and fearfully joins his jailbird buddy, Jigger (Larry Buzzeo) to rob a local businessman. The effort fails and both would-be crooks flee. Blocked from escaping, Billy commits suicide rather than go to jail.

Julie arrives in time to hear him speak his final words – sincerely loving words –before he dies. Julie tells Billy she truly loves him, too, and tries to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but her voice cracks with sorrow. Cousin Nettie Fowler (Dalia Aleman) completes the emotional melody magnificently. 

Dalia Aleman in Carousel, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

Billy’s death takes him immediately to a fantasy afterlife – a sort of purgatory where beings called Starkeepers preside – and where those whose good works on earth are insufficient enough to enter Heaven are sent.

But there is a ray of hope for Billy. The lead Starkeeper (Michael Small) tells him he can return to Earth for one day to rectify the inappropriate things he did — and possibly earn Heavenly redemption.  

The Starkeeper tells Billy that 15 years have passed in just an instant – and suggests he help his now teenage daughter, Louise (Abigail Marie Curran), whose life has taken a sad and bitter turn – much like his did. 

The finale is clearly a hallmark of this exceptional show. It features a fantasy-based, heartwarming, tear-inducing scene of redemption as the once scorned Billy mends old wounds with Julie and helps liberate Louise from angry shackles.

Carousel’s musical score is masterful, “If I Loved You” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” brim with heart-wrenching, emotional intensity that touches the hearts of everyone in the audience with their powerful lyrics and messaging.

“Soliloquy” is also an inspirational number. The Act I finale is sung by Billy as an expectant father praising the joy of sharing his life and love with his soon-to-arrive child.

“June is Bustin’ Out all over” is a stunning, fun-packed, dance-filled, number that heralds the arrival of a good old-fashioned New England seaside clambake.

R&H wrote Carousel about real people with relatable problems. It explores the sometimes muddiness of love and marriage and points out that not every story has a happy ending. In the final analysis, the show brilliantly underscores how divine intervention and personal and family redemption can reset tumultuous lives. 

The cast of Carousel, now playing at the Wick Theatre. (Photo by Amy Pasquantonio)

Director Jeffry George helms this elegant production, tapping his 50 years of theatrical prowess, and Musical Director Bobby Peaco returns for his fourth straight show at the Wick. 

Classically trained choreographer Simon Coulthard aptly manages the elegant and elaborate footwork displayed in many of the excellent dance numbers. Plaudits to the great dancers and their “boss.” 

Carousel plays through March 24 at the Wick Theatre, 7901 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton. Tickets start at $79 and are available at or by calling the box office at 561-995-2333.

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