By Marlene S. Gaylinn

C’mon Folks! Grab your family and head for the big tent at Waveny Park! Yah folks! Right here! In Connecticut’s New Canaan City, you can attend a professional production of “Carousel” in a rustic, New England setting! Just as it was meant to be! No hassles! No parking fees! Lot’s of great stuff here folks! So, C’mon ladies and gents! Get your tickets here! Ride the carousel old chum! Come to our carousel!

Well, this is roughly how the barkers of old might have called out to you, during a summer stroll, in a small New England town not so long ago. But in our times, nothing could be more mood setting than to be ushered directly into a typical, amusement park of 1837 Maine. As soon as you enter the company’s performing tent, you are welcomed by clowns in costumes and painted faces, have the opportunity to pose with three sexy ladies of a girlie show, try your skills at winning a prize, and who knows what else to expect by simply sitting in the audience. The day we attended, folks seated at side picnic tables were having a complete, New England clambake during intermission - just like the one in the show.

For those who weren’t old enough to see the original Broadway production, or the film that came later, “Carousel,” based on a Molnar play called “Liliom,” is about a rough, yet charming character named Billy, who operated an amusement park carousel, and a sweet factory girl named Julie, who falls in love with him despite his doubtful prospects. The results of this union spell predictable trouble and great sorrow. In contrast, Julie’s friend Carrie marries Enoch, a straight-laced, very ambitious New Englander who turns out to be highly successful. The story questions whether we are all puppets of fate, and if you had a second chance to go back to your former life, what would you do?

This is a wonderful production with great, singing actors, lively dancing, a full orchestra and imaginative staging. It’s amazing what folks can do with a small set and minimum props. The multitude of Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II songs are everlasting. They don’t write beautiful music like this anymore. Christian Cardozo plays the charming “Billy.” Outstanding are Jazmin Gorsline’s sensitive portrayal of “Julie,” and Lauren Lukacek is her concerned, practical friend, “Carrie.” Both voices are mesmerizing. William Hartery delightfully plays the staunch, New Englander, Enoch Snow. Joan Carlo takes control of the stage as a marvelous, strong-voiced “Nettie,” and Adam Bashian gives a sinister performance as the villain “Jigger.” Take the family and enjoy every moment!

Plays through Aug. 6. Tickets: 203-966-4634/stonc.org


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