On Live from Lincoln Center on PBS tonight, they are doing a production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel. It has an impressive cast, particularly the two leads, Nathan Gunn and the especially-wonderful Kelli O'Hara. Also in the cast are John Cullum, Kate Burton, and Shuler Hensley.
It airs at 9 PM in Los Angeles, and on the East Coast.
By the way, there's an interesting story about the relationship between Rodgers & Hammerstein and Frederic Molnar on whose play, Liliom, the musical version of Carousel is based.
Molnar was invited to a rehearsal of the show during tryouts. Needless-to-say, Rodgers and Hammerstein were wary about his reaction to how they adapted his play – all the more so since Puccini had wanted to adapt Liliom, but Molnar turned him down. (His quote was, “I want Liliom to be remembered as a Molnar play, not a Puccini opera.) But for whatever reason, he gave permission to Rodgers & Hammerstein. But they were especially nervous since they changed the end (which was far more tragic in the Molnar play to something much more hopeful. I think his play had something like the ghost of Billy Bigelow slapping the daughter, so that she’d understand how hard life is, but she feels it instead as a soft touch. Far different from the hopeful, “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Anyway, when the rehearsal was over, Molnar said that he was delighted by the adaptation, and thought it was wonderful, and then added, “And best of all, I like the new ending.”
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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