1957 - 1958
Billy Bigelow, the Yankee reincarnation of Molnar's Hungarian "Liliom", is barker for a carousel at an amusement park in a coastal New England town. The time is 1873. Julie Jordan, shyest and sweetest of the small-town girls, and her best friend, Carrie Pipperidge, both of them workers in the local mill, visit the park and ride on its carousel on their free Saturdays. Carrie is blissfully happy because she is engaged to marry the worthy Enoch Snow, older than herself but eminently respectable. Julie, on the other hand, is strangely attracted to the rough, inarticulate and lonely Billy, and, as was inevitable, the two are married. Julie does so against the warnings of the townspeople and the mill owner, Mr. Bascombe, who knows Billy's reputation with women and with money. Billy defiantly ignores the wishes of the owner of the carousel, Mrs. Mullin, a woman violently and jealously in love with him. He thereupon loses his job, becomes desperate, bullies his wife, and rages bitterly - until he learns that he is to become a father. To get money to bring up the coming child (of whom he is magnificently proud in prospect), he is persuaded against his will by Jigger Craigin, a shiftless sailor friend, to take part in a robbery. Their ill-laid plans go awry, leading to murder, whereupon Billy kills himself to avoid capture. Julie's heart is broken, although she admits to Carrie that it's better for all this way, and she turns to one of the older women, Nettie Fowler, for comfort and advice during the trying time ahead.
After fifteen years of Purgatory, Billy stands at the back-door of Heaven, escorted by a Heavenly Friend. Here he meets the Starkeeper who informs him that he will never get into Heaven until he redeems his soul. He is given a chance, he is allowed to return to Earth for twenty-four hours, during which time he must perform one good deed. Billy is given a glimpse of his daughter, Louise, now an unhappy fifteen-year-old, living always in the shadow of her father's unsavory reputation. He steals a star to give to her when he arrives on Earth. Awkward and blundering, he cannot persuade the little girl to accept the gift; he is angered by her refusal, and slaps her. Strangely enough, she is not hurt - his love transcends his roughness and the slap feels like a kiss. At her graduation exercises, Billy manages to whisper words of comfort and hope that free the child from her unhappiness, and Julie, feeling his spirit near, realizes that, in spite of everything, she did not make a mistake in marrying the man of her choice.
Dramatic Director: Michael McKay
Musical Director: E.J. Robbins, L.G.S.M.
Choreographer: Nesta Toumine