MOUNT CARROLL – Timber Lake Playhouse, the professional summer theatre of Northwest Illinois, will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s acclaimed musical, Carousel, July 27th through August 6th at the playhouse in rural Mount Carroll. Artistic Director James Beaudry, who recently staged the company’s acclaimed productions of Evita and Titanic the Musical, directs and choreographs the musical, which was the second collaboration of the writers of Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.

 Carousel tells the story of Julie, an innocent, young millworker, and Billy, the swaggering carousel barker she falls in love with.  Losing his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant, Billy, desperate to provide a decent life for his family, is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. 15 years later, Billy is given one final chance for redemption by delivering hope to the lonely, teenage daughter he never knew.

 Ken Singleton, who previously starred as Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, plays the role of Billy Bigelow. Molly Hernandez is Julie Jordan. Emilie Kouatchou takes on the role of Carrie, with Marcus Martin as her betrothed, Enoch Snow. The cast also features Samantha Bonzi as Nettie Fowler, Grant Brown as Jigger Craigin, Kiersten Frumkin as Mrs. Mullin, and Areo Keller as Louise. The 2017 resident company fills out the cast with the help of 10 additional performers from Carroll and surrounding counties.

 Based on the play, Liliom, Carousel was groundbreaking in its 1945 premier by covering darker themes then most musicals had dared to up to that point, and paving the way for the complex musicals of the golden age, like South Pacific, Cabaret and Fiddler on the Roof. The score features beloved songs like “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “If I Loved You” and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.”

 Beaudry said of the musical, “Carousel is the musical that made me want to direct and choreograph when I was in a production as a teenager. Agnes de Mille’s original dances and musical staging changed the trajectory of musical theatre by telling whole sections of the story without words—simply using movement and music. The result is a story steeped in emotionalism and feeling, rather than a complicated plot.

 “It was written toward the end of the second world war, and its central metaphor of life as a carousel that keeps spinning with or without you resonated with a country exhausted from years of struggle. The show is an emotional journey for the audience into and out of love, celebrating community, exploring the loneliness and isolation of class-consciousness, and wondering what all of these big ideas in life are supposed to add up to.  It’s an experience that sums up what I think theatre does best: reflect our lives and inspire us to take advantage of every moment.”

 For show times and to purchase tickets, visit www.timberlakeplayhouse.org or call the Box Office at 815-244-2035. The Box Office is open every day from 10:00 – 3:00 and until intermission on days of performances.  The playhouse is located at 8215 Black Oak Road in rural Mount Carroll.

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