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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Carousel brings Broadway to Iowa

Thursday, July 12, 2007

With the aura of Broadway - and the talent to match - the production of the Buena Vista Community Theatre's "Carousel" - being presented on the beautiful Roxy Theater stage -can be summed up in one little word -superb!

Under the direction of Carol Huntzicker and Stan Rishoi, this Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, playing now through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., is definitely something you'll want to put on your summer list of things to do. You are in for a treat.

You won't see talent like this anywhere else! The cast of some 50 actors and actresses, ranging in age from 4 on up, and the 25 musicians from high school to adult, are dripping with talent and sharing it with others is what they do best; you can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices and instruments. The hours required of this dedicated bunch to bring this challenging performance to life have been countless - but still, the enjoyment they have had in the journey is apparent.

The list of accomplishments by this combined staff and orchestra goes on and on. Many have performed or been involved in the community theater many times before, while for others, this is their first appearance.

From the moment the music begins playing, you will be hooked. The amazing thing about the community theater is that those involved are friends and neighbors, and most have full-time day jobs to work around their theater schedules. This year, for instance, there is a pastor, chiropractor, dentist, teachers and students. They will mesmerize you with song and actions.

The story, set in a small New England coastal town in the 1870s, begins in an amusement park where you will be introduced to nearly the entire cast.

As the music plays, your eyes will have much to take in. There is the dancing bear (Annie Brophy) and her trainer (Nate Titus), a unicycle rider (Paige Carlson) and a clown selling ice cream cones (Celeste Cummins).

Watch closely as the best barker Mrs. Mullin (Therese Becker), owner of the Carousel, has working for her tries to entice the crowd over while competing against another barker (Ryan Schultz) who has three dancing girls to entertain the crowd (Kara Parson, Abby Freeman and Kaylee Koster).

It is clear Mrs. Mullin is more than an employer to Bigelow, who is a ladies man, indeed. Mrs. Mullin's expressions when his flirtatious manner gets him a girl for each arm are awesome.

Julie Jordan (Kayla Schmitz) reveals to her friend Carrie Pipperidge (Lisa Lindeman) her fascination with the bad boy, putting her own reputation on the line.

In their first conversation Bigelow tells Julie he'll never marry, but somehow after a quick romance the two have settled down into a bad marriage.

A scene at Nettie Fowler's Spa (Anita Coon) is filled with talk among the people of how Bigelow is abusing his wife.

The directors were bothered by this action, and reveal to the play goers that under the license agreement with Rodgers and Hammerstein, they must stay true to the script.

"We want the audience to know that the directors, cast and crew abhor the idea of spousal abuse," is written in the director's notes in the official BVC "Carousel" program.

Meanwhile, Julie reveals her jealousy over Carrie's happiness as she shares her news that she and Enoch Snow (Marc Whipkey) will be married as well as her excitement at learning she and Bigelow will have a baby.

Bigelow, who is unproductive except for being a bad boy, is happy but realizes he must make some money to support his family. His new friend - an even badder boy - Jigger Craigen (Terry Parson) has a perfect plan that backfires.

As dismal as it sounds, the show ends on a note of hope; you will leave the building glad that you came.

Randy Ericksen's eight minute song, "Soliloquy" is deeply moving and Anita Coon's rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" is absolutely amazing, as are the many other solos.

The directors, musicians and actors/actresses - as well as the costume crew (Glee Crippin and Adeline Otto) who capture the essence of the time period to a tee - certainly deserve a standing ovation for putting together another winning performance. Check it out for yourself.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Roxy box office at 200-1314 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. or may be purchased at the door. There are plenty of tickets still available.

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