Large cast works for smooth ‘Carousel’ ride
The Linfield Opera Theater and McMinnville’s Gallery Theater joined forces to put on a production of the musical “Carousel,” written by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
The large cast of more than 50 people includes Linfield students and community members. Three of the six principle roles are portrayed by Linfield students. Senior Andrew Pohl plays the role of Billy Bigelow; sophomore Chelsea Janzen plays the role of Carrie Pipperidge; and sophomore Kayla Wilkens is cast to play Julie Jordan.
Included in the cast are Janzen’s eight siblings.
“We have about 18 children in the show, and they’re bright kids and eager to be in the show and onstage,” Professor of Music Gwen Leonard said. “All the people in the cast are bright people. There have been political moments, but no cast that size will be without them.”
The Linfield Opera Theater typically does a collaborative show with the Gallery Theater every other year, although it has been three years since the last collaboration.
“It works out well for our students because there’s a proscenium stage,” Leonard said. “The Gallery has the sources for sets and costumes. We do the stage direction, music direction and music personnel.”
The musical itself is interesting in terms of its plot, as it touches on controversial issues.
“It was quite radical in its time,” Janzen said. “It was shocking to see domestic violence on stage.”
She said the show also addresses the question of women roles.
The plot is also unconventional in that it uses the antihero character type.
“It has a little more of an interesting storyline than most shows in the ’40s in that it has an antihero character,” Leonard said. “[Billy Bigelow] is self-indulgent, charming and handsome. His thinking is a bit skewed and impetuous.”
Although the work leading up to the opening of the show has gone fairly smoothly, there are a few particular hurdles that had to be transcended.
“Because it is a large production, and there are so many vignettes in the drama, the challenge has been to get the details and the quality of the vignettes accomplished and then getting the flow of the show,” Leonard said. “It’s a long show, about two and a half hours, and we cut a lot. I think we were successful in getting that flow and pace going. Pace is so important with any kind of musical theater, the energy has to stay high.”
Despite the challenges that working toward the opening of “Carousel” bring, Janzen said she is confident in the production.
“I’ve been in plays where we’ve been all over the place for the dress rehearsal,” Janzen said. “[‘Carousel’] is really smooth, and people have worked hard to get to where they need to be.”
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