Rodgers and Hammerstein Classic 'Carousel' Sets Broadway Return

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Jessie Mueller

Tony winner Jessie Mueller, Joshua Henry and opera star Renee Fleming will head the Scott Rudin-produced revival of the 1945 musical, which was last seen on Broadway in 1994.

Following recent smash revivals of South Pacific and The King and I, another great musical from the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon, Carousel, is headed back to Broadway next spring.

Jessie Mueller, a 2014 Tony Award winner for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, who recently ended her run as the lead in Waitress, will star as Julie Jordan, the New England mill worker who falls for and marries hot-tempered carnival barker Billy Bigelow, to be played by Joshua Henry.

A Tony nominee in 2011 for The Scottsboro Boys and in 2014 for Violet, Henry was most recently on Broadway last season in Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. He is currently playing the role of Aaron Burr in the touring production of Hamilton.

Also cast in Carousel is celebrated opera star Renee Fleming, who will be making her Broadway musical-theater debut after appearing in the 2015 play Living on Love. She will play Julie's cousin Nettie Fowler, owner of a seaside spa, who sings the stirring classic, "You'll Never Walk Alone," a song Fleming has recorded and performed widely.

The revival will be directed by Jack O'Brien, who won Tonys for his staging of Hairspray, Henry IV and The Coast of Utopia, and is currently represented on Broadway with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, now in previews.

In keeping with the ballet elements of the musical, choreography will be by gifted young New York City Ballet resident Justin Peck, who has said his work will pay homage to original Carousel choreographer Agnes de Mille. Two of Peck's City Ballet colleagues, Amar Ramasar and Brittany Pollack, will be featured in the cast.

Details of the revival, which is scheduled to open March 23 at a theater to be announced, were first revealed Sunday in The New York Times. Lead producers are Scott Rudin and Roy Furman, following up on their current blockbuster, Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce. That production, which officially opens Thursday, has been notching up grosses north of $1.9 million a week in previews and has reported advance sales of more than $40 million.

Premiered on Broadway in 1945 (two years before the Tony Awards were established), Carousel was last revived in 1994 in a transfer of the acclaimed production from London's National Theatre. That revival won five Tonys, including for best musical revival, director Nicholas Hytner and featured actress Audra McDonald, who played Carrie Pipperidge. Casting for that role in the upcoming revival is to be announced.

One of the most complex, dark works to come from the legendary collaboration of composer Richard Rodgers and writer-lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, Carousel features such well-known songs as "If I Loved You," "June Is Bustin' Out All Over" and Billy's "Soliloquy." A Fox screen version starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae was released in 1956.