CSUN’s music and theatre departments presented Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” in true Broadway fashion, delivering a magical performance combined with full orchestral magnificence, at the Campus Theatre on Sunday.
The two departments displayed a wonderful collaboration in their rendition of this classic American musical brought to life with great music, extravagant costumes, and lovely sets, leaving audiences in musical bliss.
“Carousel” is the story of Billy Bigelow, played by Milo Shearer, a smooth-talking carousel barker who falls in love with a beautiful young mill worker named Julie Jordan, played by Ameena Khawaja, who falls for him immediately.
Unfortunately for Julie, jealous carousel owner, Mrs. Mullin, fires Billy. Mullin, played by Pippa Green, is a bitter woman who loves Billy, and is willing to take him back only if he leaves Julie.
Khawaja was absolutely gorgeous as Julie, and did a wonderful job portraying Julie as a tenderhearted girl who had fallen victim to the natural cruelty of love.
Out of work and frustrated, Billy becomes an abusive husband and hits Julie. Julie confides her marital problems to Carrie Pipperidge, played by a charming Megan Crockett, Julie’s friend who is also in love. Carrie’s relationship is going better; she is engaged to Enoch Snow.
Crockett and Khawaja combined voices to lavishly perform “Mister Snow,” after Carrie’s love Snow, makes an unexpected visit.
Robert Norman made a good performance as Snow, displaying an embodiment of the weak and easily bullied do-gooder.
Shearer, whose grand stage presence is felt throughout the story, does a superb job of portraying Billy’s change of heart once he discovers that he will soon become a father.
The sleazy character of Jigger, played by Kevin Ellis, is a sly thief who convinces Billy that they can pull off a robbery.
At awe with the thoughts of fatherhood, Billy decides that this money is the best thing he can offer his future child.
Unfortunately for Jigger and Billy, the robbery attempt does not happen as planned and the story takes a dramatic turn when Billy refuses to turn himself into police.
Ellis gave an entertaining performance as Jigger, and transformed himself into the shady character all-too convincingly. Ellis also gave a very impressive performance as a dancing bear in the opening scene of the musical.
Assistant conductor Brian Onderdonk led a masterfully coordinated “Carousel” orchestra in unison with every song and dance of the talented Northridge actors, all to give a spectacular show.
“Carousel” will continue to play April 13-17 at the Campus Theatre in Nordhoff Hall. Curtain is at eight p.m., except Wednesday at seven p.m. and Sunday at three p.m.