Linfield, Gallery collaboration brings ‘Carousel’ to stage

CarouselA vibrant array of costumes, characters, singing and acting will fill the stage during “Carousel,” the award-winning musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, presented by the Linfield College Opera Theater and Gallery Theater.

Eight shows will be presented at the Gallery Theater in McMinnville. Performances are April 23-25, 30, and May 1-2, 7-8. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

The performance is stage directed by David Howell, adjunct professor of music at Linfield, and music directed by Gwen Leonard, professor of music at Linfield. It is the culmination of the Linfield Opera Theater, a one-credit course offered each spring to give students music theatre experience. Students not in the class can also perform in the production.

In the production, set in a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive 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.

The Linfield-Gallery collaboration combines expertise from both organizations. Gallery is providing sets and costumes while Linfield provides the stage direction, musical direction and musicians.

“The collaboration between Linfield Opera Theatre and Gallery Theatre has been very successful over the years and for this huge production, it has worked out beautifully,” said Leonard.

The cast features 59 members including principals, ensemble singers, dancers and musicians. Among the six principals, three are from Linfield – sophomore Chelsea Janzen of Amity, sophomore Kayla Wilkens of Salem and senior Andrew Pohl of Bremerton, Wash.

The Linfield College Opera Theater gives students an opportunity to combine singing and acting ability in the context of studying repertoire from the best of musical theatre. The workshop was established in 1993 when student singers collaborated with the Linfield Chamber Orchestra in a performance of Pergolesi’s “la Serva Padrona.”

Tickets are $15 general admission, and $13 students and seniors. Gallery’s box office is open Tuesday through Friday; noon to 6 p.m. For tickets, call 503-472-2227. For more information, call the Linfield Music Department at 503-883-2275 or go to