March has finally crept past, the April showers have dried up, May Day has come and gone, and now, as perhaps the most famous musical theater ode to a calendar month ever written so lyrically declares, June is “bustin’ out all over”.
The second (after Oklahoma!) storied collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Carousel tells, primarily, the story of the romance between carousel barker, Billy Bigelow, and millworker, Julie Jordan, a romance which tragically drives Bigelow to participate in a robbery to provide for Julie and their unborn child.
But after it goes tragically wrong, Bigelow is given a chance to make things right.
Despite the legendary shadow of Oklahoma! looming large over their efforts, Rodgers and Hammerstein set to work on a musical theater version of Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 play, Liliom, changing, among other things, the setting from Budapest to the coastline of Maine, and certainly altering the downward dramatic trajectory of the second act of Molnár’s play which includes the title character’s suicide. The final result opened on Broadway on April 19, 1945, and, in the process, the duo created yet another integral part of the American songbook.
More, at the Library, about Carousel