“Carousel” has its ups and downs

The+Rising+Star+Project%E2%80%99s+Carousel+ran+for+two+nights.+While+it+costs+the+theater+about+%243%2C000+per+student%2C+tuition+is+free+and+the+program+is+run+entirely+by+donations.+

Hailey Robinson

The Rising Star Project’s Carousel ran for two nights. While it costs the theater about $3,000 per student, tuition is free and the program is run entirely by donations.

Hailey Robinson, Reporter

If you saw last year’s school musical, “Oklahoma,” then you have basically seen “Carousel.” With the same writers and same basic plot, the only major difference is a New England setting and a general acceptance of domestic abuse.

The show was put on by the Rising Star Project, a program that allows students to use the sets and costumes from a professional show to recreate that show at Seattle’s Fifth Avenue Theater. The students don’t just act and sing, they also make up the crew, pit orchestra and management of the show. 

Junior Megan Hastie, who worked sound for the show, was the sole Inglemoor student involved in the Rising Star Project this year.

While the students on stage were obviously young, the production they put on looked professional. The performance by the cast was stellar, with incredible vocals and entertaining dancing.

Unfortunately, the gorgeous sets and excellent performance by the student actors couldn’t salvage the show.

Carousel opens with a ten minute scene set, naturally, on a carousel. This is where the set really shined. The stage spun to create the effect of the actors riding a carousel. Sadly, the show went downhill from there.

The story features a couple, Julie and Billy, who sing a song about how they will never get married and then immediately proceed to marry. The audience is endeared by Billy, despite the increasingly overwhelming evidence of his dark character. The story skips two months forward to show the decline of their marriage through series of exceedingly long and unnecessary songs that lead to Billy stabbing himself halfway through the second act. The audience thinks, “The nightmare is over,” but no. Just like the musical numbers, it seems like it’s done, but there’s more.

Now dead, Billy watches from the sky as his 15-year-old daughter is bullied because of him. He is given the chance to return to earth for one day to redeem himself so he has a chance to enter Heaven, but he fails by hitting his daughter just as he abused his wife before his death.

Here, the underlying message of the show is vocalized. As long as you love someone, they can abuse you and it won’t hurt at all.

Yes, “Carousel” was written in 1945. Yes, domestic abuse was legal and even protected by the law. But while the cast was very talented, the show didn’t seem appropriate for a production put on entirely by teenagers. Its message is disturbing, and the show itself makes very little sense and lasts far too long. Yet, somehow, “Carousel” was named the ‘Best Musical of the 20th Century’ by Time magazine.