‘Carousel’ takes a radical post-modern contemporary twist

Repertory Philippines (REP) takes on the challenge of presenting Carouselthe finest musical of the 20th century, to today’s theater crowds when it opens on November 26, 2022 at Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex.

With a sweeping take on REP’s first director, Toff de Venecia, this reimagining of the beloved Broadway musical underscores the transcendent power of hope and love.

Created by the legendary team of Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) who together redefined musical theater and ushered in the Golden Age of Broadway, Carousel garnered critical acclaim and public acclaim after its original opening in 1945. This production won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Musical and ultimately won acclaim from Time magazine as the greatest musical of the 20th century. Its subsequent covers have also won Tony, Olivier and Drama Desk Awards, a testament to the timeless and universal appeal of this classic.

Carousel follows the story of Billy Bigelow, a swaggering, carefree carnival barker who falls in love with and marries Julie Jordan, a sweet but naive carpenter. After learning that Julie is pregnant, a desperate Billy is forced into a robbery that ends in tragedy.

He is then given a second chance to make things right. A moving story of redemption, Carousel features some of the musical’s classics such as “If I Loved You”, “June is Bustin’ Out All Over”, and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

REP’s returning production will be led by sought-after theater frontman Gian Magdangal and polyphenate powerhouse Karylle Tatlonghari who are both joining a REP production for the first time. Joining the two frontrunners are REP stalwarts Loy Martinez and Mikkie Bradshaw-Volante.

“It is with great pride that Repertory Philippines returns to the theater with a production that is both renowned and appreciated. We are all thrilled with how Toff has implemented his bold and courageous vision of Carousel for today’s generation of viewers,” said Mindy Perez Rubio, President and CEO of REP. “With a great cast, including our wonderful lead actress Karylle, who we’re also working with for the first time, I think. Carousel would prove to be a triumphant and fitting return to the stage for Repertory Philippines.

The show was to be the crown jewel of the REP 2020 theater season with the same director at the helm, but like all theatrical productions around the world, Carousel has been postponed due to the global pandemic. For De Venecia, the hiatus was a welcome opportunity for introspection that further helped the eminent theater company’s transition into more progressive, dynamic and culturally relevant narratives, under the guidance of Artistic Director Liesl Batucan-Del Rosario.

“I’m in a liminal state – navigating the romanticism of the best musical of the 20th century and the landmines of the text, reading it from a contemporary 21st century perspective. We had a radical proposal when staging 2020, and maybe even a more radical proposal now that we are excited to explore more during rehearsals,” says the director.

As production now moves at full speed, the director emphasized that they are navigating new frontiers of theater and exploring ways to seamlessly push this Broadway masterpiece into post-pandemic realities and contexts. .

“Although this musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein comes closest to an opera that requires its own grandeur as told through elaborate staging, or even how the music is orchestrated or how the songs are sung , we push this idea and explore new ways forward in this post-modern contemporary Carousel that the team is working on,” explains De Venecia. “It’s an alchemy of limits that gives birth to contemporary possibilities.”

To catch Carousel from November 26 to December 18 at CCP Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez. More information is available at www.repertoryphilippines.ph.