Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel will return to Broadway next season, in a new production directed by three-time Tony Award-winner Jack O’Brien and choreographed by Justin Peck. Joshua Henry will portray Billy Bigelow, Tony Award-winner Jessie Mueller will play Julie Jordan, and, in her first appearance in a Broadway musical, Renée Fleming will star as Nettie Fowler, leading a cast that will also feature Amar Ramasar as Jigger, and Brittany Pollack as Louise.
Following the 1943 opening of their epochal hit Oklahoma!, first-time collaborators Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II embarked on their second project. They found their source material in Ferenc Molnár’s Liliom, which had been a Broadway hit in 1921 for The Theatre Guild (the producers of Oklahoma!, which was also based on an earlier play produced by the Guild). Transported from the outskirts of Budapest to a New England mill town, Carousel told of the tragic romance between carnival barker Billy Bigelow and factory-worker Julie Jordan. Broadway had never seen a musical which centered around a brutally harsh marriage, culminating in suicide and redemption – themes that attracted Rodgers and Hammerstein to the property.