www.musicalwriters.com• For Musical Theatre Writers and Musical Enthusiasts

Carousel

On This Page: Commentary . VHS . Cast Recordings . Sheet Music

The Writing of Carousel

Commentary and writing tips by Noel Katz

Richard Rodgers thought Carousel was the best of his musicals, but its fine reputation is mostly based on a couple of extended songs in which lyricist Oscar Hammerstein provided extraordinary lyrics and dialogue. These are found in the Bench Scene, which includes the song, "If I Loved You," and the Soliloquy, in which Billy contemplates his impending fatherhood.

Carousel 's romance involves a very rough fellow, someone who's used his veneer of danger to attract women, and a virginal New Englander who is not impressed by that "bully" side of him. As they sit on the bench, we wonder why these two are sharing the same space: if he's so dangerous, why doesn't she run away?If she's so standoffish, what's his interest in staying there?He even asks, "Ain't you scared of me?"Eventually, he stops his swagger and opens up, showing his poetic appreciation of nature. It becomes clear to us that these two rather opposite characters do have an overlap, something in common that can build into love and marriage, even as they both deny being interested in marriage, and, in "If I Loved You," deny being in love.

Soliloquy runs us through the feelings everyone feels when expecting their first baby. By presenting such recognizable, commonly-held emotions, Hammerstein gets us to sympathize with Billy. He may be tough and willing to break the law, but we see that he's doing it to feed and clothe his future daughter. It's a long song, masterfully constructed, using lots of catchy melodies that quickly evolve into others as the character's thoughts change. It's a paradigm worth studying: it never sits on one beat too long; repetition is used sparingly. It doesn't tread water; it always seems to be swimming off into something new.

Of course, our feelings about Billy alter over the course of the entire play. He's deeply flawed, disrespectful, and prone to making bad decisions. But this makes him a thousand times more interesting than a "perfect" hero about whom we feel the same wayfrom the first scene to the last.

Shop for DVD, CDs, Sheet Music

Your purchases through these links support this independent website. Thank you!

VHS

Carousel (VHS) from Amazon.com Original 1956 motion picture remastered. Starring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae

Cast Recordings

Carousel Original Cast RecordingCarousel: Selections from the Theatre Guild Musical Play (Original 1943 Broadway Cast) from Amazon.com Featuring John Raitt and Jan Clayton. Songs include: Waltz Suite: "Carousel", You're A Queer One, Julie Jordan/Mister Snow, If I Loved You, June Is Bustin' Out All Over, When The Children Are Asleep, Blow High, Blow Low, Soliloquy, A Real Nice Clambake, There's Nothin' So Bad For A Woman/What's The Use Of Wond'rin', The Highest Judge of All/You'll Never Walk Alone, You're A Queer One, Julie Jordan/Mister Snow (Alternate Take), There's Nothin' So Bad For A Woman/What's The Use of Wond'rin' (Alternate Take), and Waltz Suite: "Carousel" (Alternate Take/Complete Version)

Carousel Film SoundtrackCarousel (1956 Film Soundtrack) from Amazon.com Songs include: Introduction, Main Title: The Carousel Waltz, You're A Queer One, Julie Jordan, When I Marry Mr. Snow, If I Loved You, June Is Bustin' Out All Over, June Is Bustin' Out All Over Ballet, Soliloquy, Blow High, Blow Low, When The Children Are Asleep, A Real Nice Clambake, Stonecutters Cut In On Stone, What's The Use Of Wond'rin, You'll Never Walk Alone, Ballet, If I Loved You (Reprise), You'll Never Walk Alone (Finale), and Carousel Waltz (LP Version)

Carousel Revival Cast RecordingCarousel (1994 Broadway Revival Cast) from Amazon.com Featuring Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Songs include: Prologue: The Carousel Waltz, You're A Queer One, Julie Jordan, Mister Snow, If I Loved You (Introduction), If I Loved You, Give It To 'em Good, Carrie..., June Is Bustin' Out All Over, Mister Snow (Reprise), When The Children Are Asleep, Blow High, Blow Low, Soliloquy, A Real Nice Clambake, Geraniums In The Winder, Stonecutters Cut It On Stone, What's The Use Of Wond'rin', You'll Never Walk Alone, Ballet: Pas De Duex, If I Loved You (Reprise), The Sermon, and You'll Never Walk Alone (Reprise)

Sheet Music

"You'll Never Walk Alone" from Sheetmusic.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"The Carousel Waltz" from Sheetmusic.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"If I Loved You" from Sheetmusic.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"June is Bustin' Out All Over" from Sheetmusic.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"Mister Snow" from Sheetmusic.com Instant digital download sheet music.

"Soliloquy" from Sheetmusic.com Instant digital download sheet music.

Carousel: Vocal Score - Revised Edition from Amazon.com

Add Your Comments

If you are involved with writing musicals, and would like to add comments that we could post here, please email them to carol@musicalschwartz.com with the word "Comments" in the subject line of your email.


To send suggestions, comments, or questions write to carol@musicalschwartz.com with the word "QUESTION" or "COMMENT" in the subject line.


Navigation (pages in this section followed by main site navigation)

Study Musicals Section

Site Information

  1. Site map
  2. About this site
  3. Privacy
  4. Copyright
  5. Contact

Skip following links to other sites and resources to main site navigation