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Opera at USC presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel"

Richard Rodgers said that of all the musicals he wrote, Carousel was his personal favorite

Opera at USC presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel Friday and Saturday, February 28 and 29 at 7:30 and a matinee Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at Drayton Hall (1214 College St.) on the University of South Carolina campus.

Richard Rodgers once wrote that of all the musicals he wrote, Carousel was his personal favorite. The American classic features some of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most iconic pieces, including “If I Loved You,” “Mister Snow,” “June is Bustin Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” The 2018 Broadway Revival of Carousel was nominated in the Best Musical Theater Album category for the 2019 GRAMMY® Awards.

Second-year graduate student T.J. Turner believes Carousel has remained popular throughout the decades because of its message – “that nothing can separate you from the ones you love. Through good times and bad, it is crucial to remember that ‘you never walk alone…’ and life is always brighter when viewed through such a lens.” Turner, pursuing a master’s of music in voice performance, plays Enoch Snow in the production that opens Friday, February 28.

The story: In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent 'up there.' Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father's reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love.

Vocal performance major Chloe Madison Johnston portrays Julie Jordan and Louise in the musical. "Music is such a powerful way to communicate with others,” she says, “and I am so honored to share the stage with such talented individuals during my final semester of my undergraduate studies. Live performance has shaped me into the person that I have become today, and it continues to inspire me to strive for success."

Ellen Douglas Schlaefer directs, choreography by Mimi Worrell, costumes by Columbia arts leader John Whitehead, and set by Wofford College professor Colleen Balance. UofSC Symphony Orchestra Opera Cohort, conducted by Neil Casey, performs in the pit. The lead role of Julie Jordan is double cast – students Anna Belle Lusk and Maddie Johnston. On the nights they are not Julie, they will be performing the role of Louise, daughter of Julie and Billy.

University of South Carolina voice and music students are joined by guest artist John Dooley playing Billy Bigelow. Mary Keenan, Rusty Sox, Stann Gwynn, Robert Dooley, Stacy Maxwell and 7 children join us from the community.

Opera Studies at the University of South Carolina, directed by Ellen Douglas Schlaefer, offers a comprehensive program for both graduate and undergraduate students at the University of South Carolina, covering every facet of opera production, both on stage and behind the scenes. Opera at USC presents two fully staged, high quality operas with orchestra each year and also presents an evening of One-Act Operas.


Adults: $25; seniors/UofSC faculty & staff/military: $20; students with ID: $10. Purchase tickets online here or at the door. Please note that online and phone sales end at 3 p.m. on opening day. After that you may purchase at the door one hour before show.

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