Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

AN R&H THEATRICALS TITLE

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

Full-Length Musical, Drama  /  5f, 5m

Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

Based on the Play Liliom by Ferenc Molnar as adapted by Benjamin F. Glazer
Original Choreography by Agnes de Mille

Billy Bigelow, a swaggering, carefree carnival barker, falls in love with and marries the sweet but naive Julie Jordan. A stunning tale of hope, redemption, and the power of love.

Image: 2018 Broadway Production (Julieta Cervantes)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5f, 5m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Accolades
Accolades
  • Winner! 1993 Olivier Award, Best Musical Revival
    Winner! Five 1994 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical
    Winner! Three 1994 Drama Desk Awards
    Nominee: Seven 1994 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical Revival
    Winner! Two 2018 Tony Awards
    Nominee: Eleven 2018 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical
    Winner! Five 2018 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Orchestrations
    Nominee: Twelve 2018 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical Revival
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

    PLEASE BE ADVISED: There are multiple versions of this title. Before you proceed, please double-check to ensure that you are applying for the version you want. We will not be able to refund rental or shipping fees if you pay for the wrong version. If you’re not sure which version best suits your needs, you may purchase a perusal for each available version.

Details

Summary
In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the gentle millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent 'up there.' Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father's reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love.
History

After tryouts in New Haven and Boston, Carousel opened at Broadway’s Majestic Theatre on April 19, 1945, where it ran for 890 performances. The original Broadway cast featured John Raitt as Billy, Jan Clayton as Julie, and Jean Darling as Carrie. Winner of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as Best Musical of 1945, Carousel went on to a two-year national tour, as well as countless productions throughout the world. In 1950, Carousel premiered at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane, where it played for 566 performances, and in 1956 the motion picture version, starring Gordon MacRae as Billy and Shirley Jones as Julie, was released.

In March 1994, Carousel marked its first return to Broadway since the original run, playing for a year at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. This Carousel received a record-setting five Tony Awards (the most of any show that season), including Best Revival of a Musical. A Japanese production played extended engagements in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka in 1995, and a U.S. National Tour visited over 40 cities from February of 1996 through May of 1997, and starred Broadway stars to be Patrick Wilson, Sarah Uriarte Berry and Jennifer Laura Thompson. In 2002, Carnegie Hall hosted a concert performance with Hugh Jackman, Audra McDonald, Philip Bosco, Blythe Danner, John Raitt, Norbert Leo Butz, Jason Danieley, Judy Kaye and Lauren Ward.

In April 2018, Carousel returned to Broadway starring Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller, Renée Fleming, Lindsey Mendez and Alexander Gemignani.

Act I

In May 1873, a bustling carnival enlivens a small fishing village on the rocky New England coastline. In a silent prologue (“The Carousel Waltz”), Billy Bigelow, a carousel barker, meets Julie Jordan, who is there with her friend Carrie Pipperidge. Billy gives Julie a seat on the ride and helps her off when it’s done. Mrs. Mullin, proprietress of the carousel, forcefully escorts Julie and Carrie out of the carnival, claiming that Julie is a “hussy” who was letting Billy get “free” with her. When Billy defends Julie, Mrs. Mullin fires him. Billy, unemployed and upset, needs a beer, and the girls agree to have a drink with him. When Billy leaves, Carrie incredulously asks Julie if she likes Billy, and Julie is unsure. Either way, now that Julie has a man, Carrie can tell Julie about a new love that’s come into her own life (“Mister Snow”).

Billy returns, wondering why both of them are still there, saying one of them can go home. Julie explains they work at Bascombe’s Cotton Mill and whoever stays will lose her job because it’s past the Mill Boardinghouse’s curfew. Nevertheless, Julie says goodnight to Carrie and stays with Billy. Julie has watched Billy at the carousel before. Suspecting Julie only stayed because she “knows her way around,” Billy calls her “dumb” for remaining. Unphased, Julie says she stayed because he was so good to her.

A policeman approaches and Billy goes silent. Mr. Bascombe, owner of Bascombe’s Cotton Mill, wonders what Julie is doing out so late. The policeman tells Mr. Bascombe all about Billy’s tendency to use women for money. Mr. Bascombe offers Julie one more chance at a ride home, but she stays with Billy, knowing it will cost her her job. Left alone, Julie and Billy size each other up. Despite a growing attraction, they insist that they do not love one another, but they do wonder “what if” (“If I Loved You”). As blossom fall, they recognize their mutual attraction, and finally, Billy kisses her.

Time passes. Julie’s aunt, Nettie Fowler, prepares for the clambake with the assistance of the local women. The hungry fishermen restlessly await the evening’s festivities, and everyone anticipates the coming summer season (“June Is Bustin’ Out All Over”).

Julie hasn’t seen Billy since he went out with a sailor named Jigger Craigin the night before. Billy is out of work, and Julie had asked him why he wouldn’t go back to Mrs. Mullin. Rather than respond, he hit her. Carrie can’t understand why Julie would stay with him, but Julie continues to defend Billy’s anger, citing his lack of work. Lightening the mood, Carrie shares the good news that she and Mr. Snow will be married next Sunday. While the women all excitedly discuss Carrie’s approaching nuptials, Enoch Snow unexpectedly arrives (“Mr. Snow” Reprise).

Carrie introduces Julie to Mr. Snow, who’s brought flowers (in the form of hydrangea seeds). Billy returns and admits to staying out all night. When he and Jigger get up to leave again, Billy refuses to attend the clambake that night, and Julie goes to follow them. Mr. Snow and Carrie, left alone, dream up plans for their future (“When The Children Are Asleep”).

Excited by the prospect of returning to sea, the sailors prepare for a whaling journey (“Blow High, Blow Low”). Jigger proposes an idea to Billy: Mr. Bascombe will be delivering a large amount of cash to the ship’s captain by himself that night, and Jigger needs help jumping him. It will be foggy, and they’ll have the alibi of being at the clambake; it could be a sure way to come into a lot of money. Mrs. Mullin appears and offers Billy a job at the carousel. She’s heard he’s been beating his wife. She suggests that he leave Julie and come back to charm all the girls into taking rides, but only if he’s not married.

Julie finds Billy and tells him she’s going to have his baby. Not quite sure how to react, Billy becomes thoughtful and gently helps Julie back in the house. With that, he turns down Mrs. Mullin’s offer, which means he will accept Jigger’s. Alone, Billy imagines everything that his child will be – his boy Bill – when suddenly he realizes his child could be a girl. Being father to a girl is a very different thing, and he realizes there are large responsibilities for him. He will provide for her whatever comes, in any way he can (“Soliloquy”).

The townsfolk prepare to cast off for the island clambake. Billy confirms with Nettie and Julie that he will be at the clambake that night. As everyone leaves for the island, Billy sneaks into the house to retrieve a kitchen knife for his and Jigger’s plan. (“Finale Act I”).

Act II

After the clambake, everyone rests in languorous contentment (“A Real Nice Clambake”). Before the boys can begin their customary treasure hunt, Nettie suggests they clean up while Enoch hides the treasure. Jigger and Billy, with knife in tow, plot their move to the waterfront, where Mr. Bascombe will be transporting his cash payment.

Jigger is distracted by his desire for Carrie, despite Billy’s insistence that there’s no time for girls. When Carrie comes over, Jigger sits her down and throws his arms around her, begging for a kiss. Before she can leave, he apologizes for letting his “brute” come out, adding that he worries about her innocence. Confidently, she demonstrates how to protect herself with a few simple defenses. Jigger moves his hand down her back, patting her bustle and lifting her above his shoulders just as Enoch appears. Angrily, Enoch says he would never marry a woman so free and loose. Left with his shattered dreams, Enoch sings about all that might have been (“Geraniums in the Winder”).

As Jigger comforts a distraught Carrie, he remarks on the tragedy that befalls women who fall in love with virtuous men. Carrie tries smoothing things over with Enoch as Nettie starts the treasure hunt. Julie wonders why Jigger and Billy, neither of whom knows the island well, would team up together. Billy fiercely brushes her off and leaves with Jigger anyway (“Stonecutters Cut It on Stone”). Agreeing with Jigger, Julie and the girls comfort Carrie. Julie sees Billy and Jigger again and, feeling the knife hidden on Billy’s chest, fears the worst. Billy shoves her away and runs off with Jigger, leaving Julie to ponder her situation (“What’s the Use of Wond’rin’?”).

At the loading dock, while the rest of the town hunts for a hidden treasure, Billy and Jigger wait for Mr. Boscombe to walk by with the cash. Billy asks Jigger if he ever thinks about being judged by God. Jigger isn’t convinced folks of their kind will ever see God or angels or hear music in the next life – such things are only for the rich. To pass the time while waiting, they play cards; first for pocket change, but then on loan from what they’re about to steal. Tensions escalate just as Mr. Bascombe walks by. Billy approaches him and asks for the time while Jigger attempts to stab him from behind. Mr. Bascombe gets hold of Jigger’s knife hand and pulls a gun on them. He calls for assistance from the nearby ship as Jigger escapes. Two policemen appear and Billy, refusing to go to prison, stabs himself in the stomach. The police lay him out, still breathing, and call for a doctor.

On their way home from the clambake, Nettie and the others come across the waterfront scene. Julie rushes to Billy and holds him. He explains that he was trying to make enough money for them to move to San Francisco with their child. Comforting him in his last moments, Julie holds Billy tight and says goodbye. Nettie encourages Julie to keep on living; she can stay with Nettie, who will help raise the baby (“You’ll Never Walk Alone”).

Two Heavenly Friends come to greet Billy. They tell him that, though he is dead, it’s not over as long as there’s one person on earth who remembers him. They’ve come to take Billy up to the judge, not the Lord God Himself. In a fit of rage, Billy refuses to accept that Jigger was right; that there’s no supreme court for people like him (“The Highest Judge Of All”).

Billy meets the Starkeeper, who is hanging and dusting off stars from a stepladder in the backyard of heaven. Taking notes, the Starkeeper asks Billy if there’s anything he left unfinished on earth; he is entitled to go back for one day, but only if he wishes to. The Starkeeper asks why Billy would leave his wife with a baby on the way and nothing to live on, but Billy remains unapologetic. The Starkeeper explains that Billy hasn’t done enough good to deserve a place in heaven yet, but he could still make it if he tries hard enough. He suggests that Billy return to earth for a day to do some good for his daughter, who is now 15 years old.

The Starkeeper shows Billy a scene on earth: Billy’s daughter Louise is on the beach with Carrie and Enoch’s daughter, who calls Louise’s father a poor thief who beat his wife. After violently lashing out at the girl, Louise has a lingering flirtation with a carnival boy, but he leaves her heartbroken, angry and weeping alone, with no one to console her (“Ballet”).

Billy decides to visit earth after all. He finds Julie outside her cottage catching up with Carrie, who’s just returned from a trip to New York City. They are all on their way to Louise and Enoch Junior’s graduation. Billy watches as Louise reveals her plan to run away and become an actress. Enoch Junior, worried about this plan, offers to marry her despite the inevitable difficulty of convincing his father to let him marry so far beneath his station. Louise forcibly rejects the offer and, as Enoch Junior leaves, Billy puts his foot out to trip him.

Billy is reminded by his heavenly escort that Louise can only see Billy if he wants her to. Revealing himself to Louise, Billy says he knew her father and that nothing her peers have said of him is true, but she knows it is; they’ve been reminding her of it her whole life. Billy tries to give Louise a star, but she turns away, suspicious of him, and starts to go inside. Growing panicked, he takes her arm, trying to explain, and as she struggles out of his grip, he slaps her hand. She screams and runs inside, bringing Julie back out front. Julie sees Billy for a brief moment before he hides himself again. Louise is bewildered, but Julie seems to understand what has happened. Julie, alone, sees the star Billy left for Louise. Billy watches her, calling to her (“If I Loved You” Reprise). Determined to make it right, with little time remaining, he asks the Heavenly Friend to let him watch Louise graduate.

At the graduation ceremony for Enoch Junior and Louise, the principal announces the next speaker, Doctor Seldon, who reminds Billy of the Starkeeper. Standing behind Louise, Billy recites the doctor’s wise and inspiring speech, telling Louise to listen and believe him. As the speech continues, the crowd joins in and Billy, standing behind Julie, tells her he loved her. The Heavenly Friend calls for Billy; having professed his love, Billy must leave earth once again (“Finale Ultimo”).

PRINCIPALS
3 Women
3 Men

FEATURED
2 Women
2 Men

ENSEMBLE
Large singing-dancing ensemble with Townspeople, Amusement Park Carnies, Youngsters and Seafaring Men

CHARACTERS
Carrie Pipperidge
Julie Jordan
Mrs. Mullin
Billy Bigelow
Juggler
1st Policeman
David Bascombe
Nettie Fowler
Enoch Snow
Jigger Craigin
Arminy
2nd Policeman
Captain
1st Heavenly Friend (Brother Joshua)
2nd Heavenly Friend
Starkeeper
Louise
Carnival Boy
Enoch Snow, Jr.
Principal
Dr. Seldon
Townspeople, Amusement Park Carnies, Youngsters, and Seafaring Men
  • Time Period 19th Century
  • Setting The New England Coast, 1873-1888.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Intense Adult Themes

Media

Carousel is a great musical — one of the greatest, actually.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times


“THE BEST MUSICAL OF THE 20TH CENTURY!” – Time Magazine

“The most emotionally potent of all the great Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musicals.” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“Beautiful, bountiful, beguiling... it is the product of taste, imagination and skill.” – New York Daily Mirror

“As close to perfection as musical theater gets...At the end of Carousel, the communal heft of this theatergoing experience will ensure that you won't be walking alone.” – Boston Globe

Carousel will be 50 next year, but as of this morning, it is the freshest, most innovative musical on Broadway. It is also the most beautiful.” – David Richards, The New York Times

“As relevant today as ever.” – Steve Cohen, Broad Street Review

Videos

  • The Cast of Carousel perform "Blow High, Blow Low" at The 2018 Tony Awards

  • Joshua Henry and Jessie Mueller Perform "If I Loved You"

  • Jessie Mueller Performs “Mister Snow”

Photos

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

    Image: 2018 Broadway Production (Julieta Cervantes)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

    Image: 2018 Broadway Production (Julieta Cervantes)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

    Image: 1994 Lincoln Center Theater Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

    Image: 1994 Lincoln Center Theater Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

    Image: 1994 Lincoln Center Theater Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel

    Image: 1994 Lincoln Center Theater Production (Joan Marcus)

More photos +

Music

Music Samples

Act I

1. Prologue (The Carousel Waltz) — Orchestra
2. Change Of Scene — Orchestra 
3. "Opening Act I - Scene II" — Orchestra
4. "Mister Snow" / Julie and Carrie Sequence — Julie, Carrie, Billy, Policeman, Bascombe
5. "If I Loved You" / Billy and Julie Scene — Julie, Billy
6. "Opening Act I - Scene III" — Orchestra
7. "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" — Carrie, Nettie, Girls, Men
8. "June Is Bustin' Out All Over (Encore)" — All, Nettie
9. June Dance — Orchestra
10. "Julie's Entrance" — Orchestra
11. "Mister Snow (Reprise)" — Girls, Carrie, Snow, Julie, Billy
12. "When The Children Are Asleep" — Carrie, Snow
13. "Blow High, Blow Low" — Men, Jigger, Billy, Mrs. Mullin
14. Hornpipe — Orchestra
14a. Hornpipe Exit — Orchestra
15. "Soliloquy" — Billy
16. "Finale Act I" — Nettie, Billy, Jigger, Julie

Act II

17. Entr'acte — Orchestra
18. "Opening Act II" — Orchestra
19. "A Real Nice Clambake" — Nettie, Julie, Snow, Carrie, Jigger, Billy, All
20. "Geraniums In The Winder (and Stonecutters Cut It)" — Jigger, Billy, Snow, Carrie, Arminy
21. "What's The Use Of Wond'rin" — Julie, All Girls
22. "Change Of Scene" — Orchestra
23. "You'll Never Walk Alone" — Julie, Nettie
24. "Incidental" — Orchestra
25. "The Highest Judge Of All" — Billy
26. "Exit Of Billy And Heavenly Friend" — Orchestra
27. "Ballet" — Orchestra
28. "Music Under Scene (My Little Girl)" — Orchestra 
29. "Carrie's Incidental" — Carrie
30. "Porch Scene (Reprise: If I Loved You)" — Billy
31. "Finale Ultimo (Reprise: You'll Never Walk Alone)" — Billy & Company

Full Orchestration

Flute 1 (Doubling Piccolo)
Flute 2 (Doubling Piccolo)
Oboe (Doubling English Horn)
Clarinet 1 (B-Flat Clarinet)
Clarinet 2 (B-Flat Clarinet)
Bassoon (Optional Bass Clarinet, double lined for Bassoon, if a doubler or an additional player is not available)
Horn 1
Horn 2
Horn 3
Trumpet 1
Trumpet 2
Trombone 1 
Trombone 2 
Trombone 3 (Tenor Trombone)
Tuba 
Percussion* (Trap Set, Timpani, Military Snare, Triangle, Suspended Cymbal, Wood Block, Tambourine, Bells, Low Bells, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone)
Harp**
Violin 1 (Divisi)
Violin 2 (Divisi)
Viola (Divisi)
Cello (Divisi)
Bass
String Synthesizer 1***
String Synthesizer 2***

*The PERCUSSION book is written to be played by one percussionist, with the exception of “The Carousel Waltz” which can be played by 1-3 percussionists.
**The HARP part may be played on a synthesizer with a harp patch if a real harp is not available, but the HARP part is essential and cannot be omitted.
*** In addition to the original instrumentation, the Violin, Viola, and Cello parts have been reformatted to be played on Synths. There are two separate (optional) Synthesizer String Books to be played by two different keyboard players. These books are intended to augment and enrich your live strings when a large string section is not available, but are note required.

The original string breakdown was 9 VIOLINS 1, 4 VIOLINS 2, 4 VIOLAS, 3 CELLOS and 2 BASSES.


Reduced Orchestration

Reed 1 (Flute, Piccolo, Alto Flute)
Reed 2 (Oboe and Cor Anglais)
Reed 3 (Clarinet)
Reed 4 (Bassoon)
Horn 1 
Horn 2
Trumpet 1
Trumpet 2 
Trombone 
Harp
Keyboard (Synth plays Accordion and fills out Strings as needed)
Percussion (Trap Set, Timpani, Military Snare, Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Wood Blocks, Tambourine, Bells, Low Bells, Xylophone, Vibraphone)
Violin 1 (Solo Player)
Violin 2 (Solo Player)
Viola (Solo Player)
Cello (Solo Player)
Bass


  • Musical StyleClassic Broadway, Operetta
  • Dance RequirementsDifficult
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra SizeX-Large
  • Chorus SizeLarge

Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
Full Orchestration:
25 Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Flute 1
1 Flute 2
1 Oboe
1 Clarinet 1 
1 Clarinet 2
1 Bassoon
1 Horn 1
1 Horn 2
1 Horn 3
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Trombone 1 
1 Trombone 2 
1 Trombone 3
1 Tuba 
1 Percussion
1 Harp
2 Violin 1
2 Violin 2
2 Viola
2 Cello
1 Bass
1 String Synthesizer 1 (Optional)
1 String Synthesizer 2 (Optional)
1 Logo Pack

Additional Material
A full score of the Full Orchestration is available for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.


Reduced Orchestration:

25 Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor (From Full Orchestration)
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2 
1 Reed 3 
1 Reed 4
1 Horn 1 
1 Horn 2 
1 Trumpet 1 
1 Trumpet 2 
1 Trombone 
1 Harp 
1 Keyboard 
1 Percussion 
1 Violin 1 
1 Violin 2 
1 Viola 
1 Cello 
1 Bass
1 Full Score (Act 1)
1 Full Score (Act 2)
1 Logo Pack


Piano Only:

25 Vocal Book 
1 Piano-Conductor (From Full Orchestration)
1 Logo Pack

Two-Piano Arrangement:

25 Vocal Book 
1 Piano-Conductor (From Full Orchestration)
2 Two-Piano Arrangement (Act 1) 
2 Two-Piano Arrangement (Act 2)
1 Logo Pack

Add-Ons

Take a look below at how you can enhance your show!

Authors

Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers' contribution to the musical theatre of his day was extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, his hits ranging from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright light ...

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Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. His father, William, was a theatre manager and for many years director of Hammerstein's Victoria, the most popular vaudeville theatre of its day. His uncle, Arthur Hammerstein, was a successful Broadway producer ...

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Ferenc Molnar

Ferenc Molnar (1878-1952), Hungarian playwright and novelist, was born in Budapest. Several of his plays were presented on the New York City stage, and all were successes, including The Guardsman, Lilliom, The Swan, The Glass Slipper and The Play's the Thing. In 1928, English ...

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Benjamin F. Glazer

Benjamin Glazer (1888 - 1956) won two Oscars for his screenplays Seventh Heaven and Arise My Love. One of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and a lifetime member, Glazer was once a producer of early Bing Crosby musicals at Paramount Studios incl ...

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Agnes de Mille

Although Agnes de Mille (1905-1993) seemed destined to perform on Broadway, since her paternal grandfather, father, and uncle, Cecil B. de Mille, were all successful writers and actors involved in the theater, she avoided the easy path to Great White Way. Instead, she struggl ...

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